Will telling the truth set Lance Armstrong free?
There’s a very simple reason why watching other people confess their sins never fails to be fascinating – and that’s because they’re other people’s sins.
There is no worse feeling than the gnawing, tight, gut-wrenching sensation you experience when you know you’ve done the wrong thing, and realise that only you can fix it.
And it’s becoming impossible not to keep searching for some sign of that feeling among all the photos of Lance Armstrong this week.
Take the photo above the jump; he doesn’t look terribly relaxed on that couch, does he? Are you feeling alright Lance, or would you really just like to throw up right now? That would be fair enough, nobody seems to know what his future holds; there’s even talk of a possible five years in prison and/or being forced to give back every single dollar of his seven Tour winnings.
Then again, it’s hard to say what the right punishment would be given the number of transgressions for which he stands accused.
It’d be great to be able to say that everything is going to be alright in the end, but life doesn’t always work like that. Plus, there are actually several caveats to the notion that “truth will set you free”.
Here’s a few:
1.You’ve got to get it all out
You can’t pick and choose the bits you want to share, because it’s more than likely that those really ugly bits are the parts that make your mind tick over at night and prevent you from sleeping.
Melbourne psychologist Meredith Fuller told The Punch that the most important part of this process for Armstrong, is to ensure that he gives a full confession - the whole truth and nothing but the truth.
“We don’t hear people say that are sorry very often in our society. We never want to say I was wrong and I lied. So we should respect. Owning up is very good. It is healing for everyone concerned because it gives us a way to go forward, with standards and ethics and morals and values,” she said.
2. Do it for the right reasons
If you want to feel better about your confession, or just get the best result you can, do it because you know you should to clear the air and set the path back straight again. Not because you can gain something from it.
Dr Simon Longstaff, director of the St James Ethics Centre in Sydney, said that he hoped the celebrity factor - talking with Oprah - wouldn’t end up working against Armstrong in the end.
“You need to be able to own your decision about whether to speak [the truth] and how to speak it and that means being very wary of where and when and who you speak to,” he said.
This can be a hard distinction for people who may have lied for several years to cover up something they didn’t want to admit, but it’s worth it.
3. Understand the difference it will make to your life
Not only will telling the truth help other people make decisions based on what you’ve shared with them, it will also help you rebuild your own life.
Dr Longstaff said admitting the truth is bound to be terrifying; it can also make you feel ashamed and full of fear for the inevitable blow back – but it’s also mostly very cathartic.
“All in all the relief [you will feel] will be palpable, and you’ll probably sleep better than you have in a very long time.”
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