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The Mask of Tiger Woods

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Well, here we are in another media frenzy about our latest fallen angel -- the one and only Tiger Woods. As yet another legend bites the dust by exposing his bad behavior, many of us are shocked and appalled while others are falling deeper into resignation about the imaginary faithful husband. And then for some others, there is a bit of glee. There are those who are just plain grateful that Tiger Woods isn't the superhuman that he has been made out to be. For some, Tiger's imperfections become a gigantic exhale of relief. Those who seek to find their happiness in the fantasy that one day they will become the perfect person can now see they are finally off the proverbial hook. As the women continue to come forward for their few minutes of fame and glory in this tabloid-frenzied society that would rather focus on the another person's flaws rather than do anything about their own, we are once again trapped in a conversation that judges another's behavior rather than working diligently to clean up our own. And even though we're in an era when most people don't have the time to focus on what's important to them, they do somehow find the time to focus on what will be meaningless in just a few days or months.

I could go on and on about why Tiger's behavior was predictable. If you take the time to read Why Good People Do Bad Things: How to Stop Being Your Own Worst Enemy and study the masks of the human being, you will indeed understand why Tiger could not maintain his "I'm the proverbial Nice Guy Overachiever" act for his entire life. How could he or anyone continually push down all of his unmet needs and ordinary human impulses that are built into our everyday human wiring? Can you imagine being that good? Can you imagine having to win at everything, to perform perfectly every day for the rest of your life? How stressful it would be for a mere mortal to carry this burden.

So now Tiger joins the ranks of Bill Clinton, David Letterman and other infamous cheaters. Tiger will never be the same. Tiger's life as we have all known it before that fateful car crash is dead, something for the archives. And now a new life can emerge -- hopefully a life where he can live a more authentic expression, where he can experience more intimacy with his family, friends, and peers so that he doesn't have to seek false connections with women he hardly knows and surely can't trust. As most cheaters will admit, it's a quick fix, a temporary high, that they could have just as easily gotten from a shot of heroin or a couple of martinis mixed with the newest edition of Playboy. Hopefully, as Tiger gets over the shock of being exposed, he will find a safe guide to support him in going inside himself to find out who he really is and what he really wants now that he no longer has the right to don the mask of the Nice Guy Overachiever.

And it's not just Tiger's life that has changed. So has ours. Tiger has now shown all those who still believe in the prince on the white horse that the prince is flawed, imperfect, and human and that when the mask of our human persona gets too tight, when there is no more room to grow or breathe, it blows itself up so that it can recreate itself anew. We can no longer look at Tiger with the same awe of his divine perfection. Our jealousy can melt away. For all of us who are caught up in the Tiger drama, my hope is that we will take back all that we have projected on to him all these years. It is useful to remember the old Buddhist trick. Imagine Tiger standing in front of you and now point your finger out at him and say aloud "You are stupid" or "careless" or "an idiot" or "__________" -- whatever quality you are seeing in him, fill in the blank. Now look down at your hand. One finger is pointing out at him. Where are the other three fingers pointing? That's right. Back at you. And as we were continually reminded by our friends growing up, "You spot it, you got it!

For more information on the masks, and Why Good People Do Bad Things, go to www.debbieford.com/tiger

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