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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  • mewabe

    Ultimately idols, celebrities are not people, they are symbols, symbols we create.

    Their rise is symbolic of our unconscious needs, as are their falls. One day we worship them as kings and queens, the next we shop their heads off. This should tell us something of who we are, and of what we believe human nature to be, if we paid attention.

    That they would personally get caught in this scheme to the point of self-destruction is surprising, and revealing of their lack of self-awareness as well, which makes sense as they seem to need the public as a mirror to become aware of who they are, or think they are, or think they should be.

    Unconscious behaviors, unconscious needs are mutual, from the public and from the individuals they worship.

  • Marko

    These are very sad dramatic role models. Human yes, but not very wise. I think they have a lot of unfinished business, from wounds & damage conveniently covered or hidden by their celebrity.

    Celebrities can get away with a lot that non celebrities would never get away with. It’s not fair, but just part of our current primitive consciousness we are slowly transitioning out of.

    We have compassion on them as we do on ourselves & can look toward better role models. We can focus, (if we choose) on other healthier role models & influencers.

  • mewabe

    The question is, who but a child needs a role model?

  • Laura Pringle

    It’s ironic that Marko commented, “celebrities can get away with a lot that non-celebrities would never get away with”. I’ve always thought just the opposite!
    When you are a public figure, you are scrutinized way more than the average person, consequently, you get away with less, IMO! (I guess he meant because they have more $ to sweep some issues under the rug…;)

    I agree with mewabe that public figures have the “least clear” self-images, thus, their need to see a reflection from others, to validate their identity… or something. I have always felt sort of sorry for celebrities, and NEVER wanted to be in their shoes! I like being able to pick my nose and not have to worry about a pic of that showing up in the tabloids! lol

    Good point– that we can learn from these public spectacles, and find acceptance for their foibles. Thanks for a thought-provoking article! 🙂

  • Laura Pringle

    Something that’s been bothering me lately: The blockbuster movies and tv shows which show revenge murders in a glorified way. No new news here, I realize, but the hypocritical reality of it has really been nagging at me more than usual lately.

    I keep looking at our society as an outsider would see it, (say, an alien)– and it’s just so twisted and contorted from what we say we really want. I realize the murder and pillaging and revenge in our movies is part of the unconscious material we have disowned, spilling out of our psyches… But it just feels like high time someone addressed this dichotomy. If our laws don’t allow revenge killings, our entertainment industry shouldn’t promote this. Freedom of expression is our right, but this is just something common sense should prevail over.

  • Marko

    “(I guess he meant because they have more $ to sweep some issues under the rug…;)”

    Or as O.J. Simpson said in a Playboy interview, “If you have enough money you can get away with murder.” The Football players & colleges have allowed women to get raped, not to mention the military services as just another example. Women are ostracized for coming out. It’s changing, but so slowly.

    A celebrity fish bowl life comes with wealth & privilege few of us see & the scrutiny they have is all part of the game they’re in. It’s a love hate relationship. But great wealth can pay off a lot of dirty deeds.

    “The blockbuster movies and tv shows which show revenge murders in a glorified way.”

    Oh don’t get me started! While this topic of violence has been covered by Neale & will continue again I’m positive of that. I’d like to see a standard of what action we may take as individuals & as a group. That’s for another specific topic.

    For me I just don’t watch it.

    Plenty of good stuff out there, it’s easy to criticize the bad. So to me it’s an easy cheap shot with the movies. Yet, it needs to be addressed. And I am continuously dumbstruck by the Law & Order shows of continuous rape, dismemberment. This is seen just channel changing. I don’t watch them. It’s hard to believe people are paid to write this sh*t. Yet if we don’t watch it, they will be forced to change. Well enough on that!

    Magical blessings,