It’s the growth for me.
Ever since her withdrawal from the French Open in May due to mental health concerns, tennis superstar Naomi Osaka has been more and more transparent about her journey to protect her mental and emotional well-being.
“I was wondering why I was so affected, I guess,” she told reporters in August about her decision to pull out of the French Open. “Like what made me not want to do media in the first place. And then I was thinking, I was wondering if I was scared because sometimes I would see headlines of players losing and then the headline the next day would be like ‘a collapse’ or ‘they’re not that great anymore.’”
She continued, “So then I was thinking, me waking up every day, for me, I should feel like I’m winning, you know? Like, the choice to go out there and play, to go see fans, that people come out and watch me play, that itself is an accomplishment. I’m not sure when along the way I started desensitizing that. It started not being an accomplishment for me. So I felt like I was very ungrateful on that fact.”
And now, with a strong chance at winning her third U.S. Open in the coming weeks, the four-time Grand Slam champ is providing us with another glimpse behind the veil. On Sunday, she took to social media to openly reflect on the challenges she’s faced throughout her career and took responsibility for not appreciating her accomplishments along the way.
“I’ve been reflecting over this past year. So grateful for the people around me because the support I feel is completely unparalleled,” she wrote. “Recently I’ve been asking myself why do I feel the way I do and I realize one of the reasons is because internally I think I’m never good enough. I’ve never told myself that I’ve done a good job but I do know I constantly tell myself that I suck or I could do better.
“I know in the past some people have called me humble but if I really consider it I think I’m extremely self deprecating. Every time a new opportunity arises my first thought is, ‘wow, why me?’ I guess what I’m trying to say is that I’m gonna try to celebrate myself and my accomplishments more, I think we all should. You got up in the morning and didn’t procrastinate on something? Champion. Figured something out at work that’s been bugging you for a while? Absolute legend. Your life is your own and you shouldn’t value yourself on other people’s standards.
“I know I give my heart to everything I can and if that’s not good enough for some people then my apologies but I can’t burden myself with those expectations anymore. Seeing everything that’s going on in the world I feel like if I wake up in the morning that’s a win. That’s how I’m coming.”
This is the sermon we all needed to hear.
I can personally attest to being consumed with achievements and rushing toward the next goal without taking the time to appreciate what I’ve already accomplished. In turn, this makes our lives an endless succession of objectives instead of a collection of moments and experiences that bring us fulfillment and joy.
This new outlook should definitely help the 23-year-old navigate her career better, and I look forward to her sharing additional gems with the rest of us.