Be You

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When I was a child, I put posters up on my bedroom walls of the greatest tennis players in the world. I wrote notes next to them with phrases like, “If she can do it, then I can too.” I admired them. They were my inspiration. I studied each player like a guidebook, hoping they could show me the ropes to their same success. But what I did not do was compare myself to them, and today I continue to avoid comparing myself to anyone else.

We live in a fast-paced, competitive world where we are bombarded by images on social media of lavish wealth, unattainable beauty, and perfection in its many forms. It is important to understand there will always be someone richer, better looking, taller, smarter, skinnier, but there will never be anyone quite like you. Commit to identifying your strengths and attributes. Do not waste mental energy comparing yourself and your life to others. Nothing good comes of it.

If I would have compared my height or strength to anyone else on tour, I never would have had the courage to compete against the best players. Instead, I simply believed I was one of them. Period. I believed that I was one of the best. And because I believed I was one of the best, I achieved the results that got me on the court with the best. My commitment to believing in myself and focusing on what I could improve enabled me to defeat five of the top 10 players in the world.

My height, or lack thereof, is an example of where I could have gone down the rabbit hole of negativity and comparison. I am 5’ 3”. In tennis height is important, especially when talking about the serve. I went up against women who were as tall as 6’ 3”! Not only did I not compare myself to them or anyone taller or ranked higher, but I also did not allow external negative comparisons to alter how I viewed myself.

Instead, I continued to truly believe I was just as good as anyone out there. I stayed in my lane. I focused on me and the areas I could improve. I worked on my strokes and on being my authentic self, striving not to be like anyone else. This practice is what propelled me to achieve greatness beyond anyone’s expectations, especially for a player of my height. Most of all, it allowed me to be happy and at peace with who I was.

If we constantly hop on the scale of comparison, we will never have enough or be enough. We will never be happy or comfortable in our own skin. Become aware of the emotional weight that jealousy and envy can place on your mind. It can be incredibly taxing. Change the thoughts, halt the comparisons, and break the negative mental spiral by introducing thoughts of gratitude and focus on valuing who you are and what you already have. This is a good start to a more mentally healthy and fulfilling life.

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