During last week's interview with Oprah Winfrey, Lance Armstrong admitted that he was both a liar and a bully. Oprah listed his worst transgressions and asked, "Who does that?"
Armstrong replied, "A guy who must control every outcome."
Which is something he shares with the majority of humanity. We assert maximum control over every situation in order to feel safe. But safe from what? It's not our actual survival that's at stake in everyday life; instead, it's the way we feel.
While the intensity of our personal drives and the nature of our goals may differ, we all want to feel good. Even more important, we'll do everything in our power to avoid feeling bad. That's because the "primitive" part of our brain can't tell the difference between an external threat, like footsteps in a dark alley, and an internal threat, like shame or rejection.
This oft-overlooked point bears emphasis: The primitive brain perceives difficult and challenging emotions as life-threatening. Not only does it block them from our awareness once they've arisen, but it also leads to habitual strategies of avoidance.
When we won't feel an emotion, our lives become run by our resistance to that emotion. We make choices which are about not experiencing that feeling, rather than ones in our highest good.
What's usually behind great desires of any kind - for winning, fame, wealth, approval - is a corresponding need to escape the emotional cost of its opposite. And almost always that emotional cost is connected to our most painful previous wounding.
Therefore, one of the most important questions you can ask yourself is: What one or more emotions am I most unwilling or unable to feel? Learning how to feel those emotions, which is actually simple (though not always easy) is the fastest and surest way to healing, transformation and peace. It also, amazingly, rewires the glitch in our brains that brings about our emotional resistance in the first place.
If you're not already on this path toward greater emotional connection, there's detailed instruction on my website, cushnir.com, as well as in my book and audio program, The One Thing Holding You Back.
Here's hoping that Lance Armstrong, and the Lance Armstrong in us all, embraces the unsurpassed power of vulnerability. While all the worldly goals we strive for create temporary satisfaction at best, attunement to our emotions creates what's referred to as "the pearl beyond price" -- a state of lasting serenity that is independent of life's ever-changing conditions.