Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Tiger-Our Healthy Reaction to An Unhealthy Situation

I keep getting asked, what do you think of Tiger's behavior? It seems to come up in almost every conversation over the last few weeks.
Here are my thoughts.

I get really tired of hearing excuses about a high profile public figure's dishonorable conduct, especially of the sexual nature, the latest being Tiger Woods.

If you found out that your favorite neighborhood chef/restaurateur that you had spent hundreds of hours at and lots of money over the years had lied and stolen money on an ongoing basis from his customers and business partners while they in good faith backed him and opened up additional restaurants in his name would you feel enthusiastic about eating at his restaurant again knowing that the person was a crook? Would that food nurture you anymore?

Many people believe that business fraud and spousal sexual infidelity are not equal offenses but in fact they very much are, there is a contractual relationship with promises on both sides to keep the agreement. When one party lies, cheats, steals from the other that is an equal and intolerable offense. Dishonorable conduct whether in sexual dynamics, business or otherwise should be a disappointment and encourage us to ponder deeply our own conduct and the people in whom we place our admiration. Instead of excusing such behavior because we think it's old fashioned to care about betrayals of other human beings, we need to stop and say, "no that is unacceptable." "I want my conduct and my role models to be honest, to be ethical, to be honorable, and to demonstrate integrity. I want to feed myself and those around me with something healthier for our families, communities, and world."

Public Figures are Public Servants. If a person has sought the spotlight through showing off a skill or persona-they have sought to be a public figure and public figures serve the public on a grand scale whether that be an entertainer, athlete, politician, spokesperson. Public figures have agreed to have an intimate relationship with thousands if not millions of people-they want the public to invest in them (in watching, listening, taking action, and purchasing products). And as we get to know them, if we like them and their offering, we do. This is a form of intimacy just as a committed personal relationship is a form of intimacy.

All we ask are for our public figures to be real.

We are A-OK with diversity. A one size fits all lifestyle is not what we are looking for. The public figures that communicate who they really are, whether we agree with their life choices or not, such as forthright polygamous Kurt Russell, married, turned gay Elton John, hippie turned conservative Muslim Cat Stevens, bisexual Lindsey Lohan and porn star Jenna Jameson we can embrace them or choose not to. We can make a choice of our preferred public figures that are aligned with our interests and who we wish to be.

But what we do not have tolerance for in the public is someone who shows the public a certain persona and is far from it. Tiger showed us warm, dotting new husband, father, family man and he lived something very different. Tiger Woods is a playboy. This was Tiger Woods failure, failure to himself, to his wife, to his children, to the public. He discredited himself. We all have the broken intimate relationship with Tiger Woods.

Last night I went to a screening of the award winning film The Greatest Silence: Rape in the Congo. The film at one point interviewed soldiers who had and were still brutally raping women and when asked by the film maker, "why they did it?" They said two things, because they had a need (they were entitled) and that raping would help them win the battle. War made these soldiers feel entitled to their devastating and dishonorable conduct.

Tiger's #1 Golfer status and his billion dollars in earnings made him feel entitled to his dishonorable conduct of infidelity bringing woman after woman to him to feed his need and for fuel to win another battle, another tournament.

Correlation-ego-centric drives, dishonorable sex with women- the means, outcome- irreversible pain.

Spousal lying and cheating is not something to become complacent about. My heart goes out to his wife Erin and their children. My advice to you, don't make a quick decision. Seek at least 6 months, if not more, of counseling to decide what your next steps need to be. Don't forget this is your journey too. Make it as conscious and growth-oriented as possible in the midst of your pain. And focus on your own empowerment and place in the world. Tiger I wish you honesty, a coming to your knees bold look at yourself and a soul and sexual healing. Trust isn't built easily but it is always very difficult and time consuming to repair. I hope you will take up the challenge

All Food for thought!

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