Manti, Lance, and a powerful psychological dance – for all of us

Oh, what a time we live in that we see psychological distress of “stars” of society plastered across the media platforms like fresh graffiti.

Manti Te’o and Lance Armstrong are just two of our latest media darling examples being in the bright hot spotlight. While the content regarding their plights and alleged conspicuous situations in some cases is most completely delivered in a very “entertainment driven” package, there are some great nuggets for us to explore if we step away and suspend judgment for a bit.

If we learn to examine these situations more objectively with a great sense of self- curiosity, we have some opportunities for glances into our Authentic Selves. By observing how things can appear to be going so well on the outside (as it appeared for our latest celebrities- Lance and Manti) – until challenged or threatened, we have the opportunity to see that this foundation is likened much more to the straw rather than the brick house in terms of foundation. This is a real classroom opportunity for most of us!

As Carl Jung pointed out, the Ego represents the conscious side of our overall psyche. The Persona indicates the outer layers we all experience representing those roles we take on – father, wife, business person, student, wise person, athlete, etc… You get the idea. These roles that we use to describe ourselves when asked are often of this more “outer layered” nature. In our quiet moments, sometimes we realize we are so much more than these aspects. But the temptation to stop here in our explorations into our self is tempting, and maybe even more when so much attention is given to this persona aspect, as is the case for celebrities.

But, for folks like Lance and even Manti, who have been recognized, celebrated, and even adored as and for those roles they have taken on, there are opportunities and temptations (albeit often unconscious) to believe in the validity of the “story” that this is really all they individually are. So when the world appears to crumble around these shaky foundational perspectives of self, a crisis appears.

Often, we are greatly surprised by how much emphasis on self identity has been wrapped around these outer coverings of who we truly are. Our “potential” gets lost in the attention and spotlight that has been seductive for so long.

The lesson for us to embrace and understand from Lance and Manti’s plight is that beneath these roles in which we think we know them is a whole and complex person, both conscious and unconscious. We truly know very little of who they authentically are.

Just as we are complex and way beyond who we think we are (especially much more than the things “we do”), so are all celebrities, athletes, and persons garnering great shares of media attention. We know very little about each of these individuals as we have limited access to who we truly are – most being unconscious and outside of our limited Ego awareness.

So take it easy on these celebrities. Instead, pay close attention to your own reactions to them. Your unconscious is most likely speaking to you more loudly than to them!

Use these and other stories like this for your own inner growth and knowledge and begin to increase your self awareness by suspending judgment on others like Lance and Manti and all others that will inevitably fall from our projected graces in the future.

Don’t just watch these stories for drive-by entertainment. Allow them and their plights to act as your teachers and lessons on way to a more Authentic you.

(Joseph Noecker, MA, LMHC is a Certified Life Coach and Licensed Psychotherapist who helps individuals and organizations reach goals, balance, and peak performance by designing and implementing individualized plans that reflect inner balance, emotional intelligence, peak performance and authenticity. Visit his website at or contact Joseph via e-mail at

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