WASHINGTON, August 26, 2012 - None of us know what is in Lance Armstrong’s mind. We all see his refusal to continue fighting the doping charges through our own internal filters. Some interpret his action as an admission of guilt, and others as giving-up. Another possible interpretation is that he made a wise choice.
By continuing to oppose the charges against him, Armstrong would have tied himself, his energy, resources, and family members to the past. As much as someone in his situation must ache to be believed, he chose to let go and live in the present. If that is the case, the decision is admirable.
It takes courage to let others believe what they will, without having to prove oneself right. Not having to be acknowledged as being right is a sign of emotional intelligence. Because our world is generally lacking in high emotional intelligence, it may be necessary to point out there is strength of character behind a choice such as his.
Giving up on a fight is not a weakness when it is a means of re-establishing one’s power to live fully in the present. By not fighting, Armstrong’s life is no longer dictated by proving the doping allegations are false. There is still an emotional toll he has to deal with, but now he will do it on his own turf.
Armstrong is fortunate to have two other important egg baskets aside from biking. His family, and his work to help those with cancer, are significant in his life. If his decision to relinquish the fight is, as he said, to maintain those baskets, he has made an understandable choice and demonstrates a strong sense of self.
From the perspective of a person who feels victorious after running for 30 minutes a few times per week, it takes tenacity, focus, and determination that most of us never find within ourselves, to win the grueling Tour de France seven times. That, in some of our minds, can never be taken away from Lance Armstrong.
Knowing what it is like to tell the truth and not be believed makes people slow to judge others, even knowing that none of us are squeaky clean in the truth department. Should psychology be correct in saying we see in others only what we project onto them, our best bet is to scrutinize our own projectiles.