I’m not sure if any of you have heard, but last week was the summer Olympics. You know, that big competition where the best athletes from all over the world come together and compete for medals?
Anyway, while I’ve never been invited to the Olympics -- for reasons that are clear if you’ve ever met me -- it’s pretty obvious that honor and glory aren’t the only things that come with being chosen to represent your country. There’s also an enormous amount of pressure that comes with being in the center of the world’s stage.
There’s recently been a bit of controversy regarding this topic, with most of it centered around Simone Biles and her decision to withdraw from one of the many events she was set to compete in.
Biles stated that she dropped the event so she could focus on her mental health. And boy, did that send some people over the edge.
She is a seven-time Olympic medalist, yet people disregarded her accomplishments and practically called her a failure all because she dropped an event that she knew wasn’t in her best interest to compete in.
When a ton of people ultimately came to her defense, she put out a statement on her social media accounts, saying, “I’m more than my accomplishments and gymnastics, which I never truly believed before.”
Regardless of who a person is -- whether they’re an Olympic competitor, a Hollywood star or a cashier at the local grocery store -- they should never have to feel like their worth comes only from their accomplishments.
With all the conversations surrounding mental health, I think it’s important to recognize the pressure that people feel on a day-to-day basis and the effect it has on their mental health.
Life isn’t exactly easy, and a lot of people have pressure coming from multiple angles.
People feel pressure from their boss when it comes to reports and projects. Students feel pressure to complete all of their assignments and somehow make it through college within four years. Sometimes friends push us to be more sociable.
In some cases, and often without even realizing it, we pressure ourselves. We push ourselves into taking a little more responsibility than we probably should. We push ourselves to carry out those responsibilities perfectly.
Eventually, coming from the experience of Simone and me, this takes a huge toll on our mental health. We start to feel drained and, although we’re trying to do what everyone wants us to do and we’re trying to do it perfectly, we feel like we can’t measure up to what everyone expects of us.
If you put too much pressure on something, at some point, it’s going to break.
Simone took a step back and didn’t allow the pressure of the world to break her. And she came back to the mat and won another Olympic medal.
We need to understand that it’s perfectly normal to take breaks for our well-being.
If we can manage to care for ourselves a little more in this way, we’re one step closer to feeling that release of pressure that’s holding us back. Plus, we’re sort of one step closer to being an Olympian, right?