How do you respond when the truth you trust becomes distorted and even feels unreal?
Those were the thoughts going through my mind as I watched the replay of the 2018 Women’s U.S. Open, an event I have attended several times at Arthur Ashe stadium in Queens, NY. What was supposed to be a straightforward win/lose situation became so much more cynical to watch… a grotesque distortion of reality unfolding right before our eyes.
Watching Naomi Osaka, who shares my Haitian heritage, cry when she should have been full of joy and proud of her win was a humbling experience and a lesson in grace. When winning becomes a bittersweet experience- one you cannot trust – moving forward requires not only knowing who you are but also maintaining your dignity when you feel few people were rooting for your success, because they didn’t consider you to be the “greatest” or the favorite.
When we root for the underdog, we accept that change is constant and an inevitable disruption of the status quo, which keeps us from living a stagnant life. When you find yourself striking it out on your own to start your own business or to follow your own path, rest assured, lots of people will be rooting for your failure and not your success. At that point, remember what your experience has taught you about standing up and standing out – it takes courage and there will be plenty of times when you will have to go at it alone. However, when you have a group of like-minded individuals with you, the steps you take together become bridges that unite uncommon ideas and unlikely partners.
When you begin a journey, whether it is alone or with others, trusting your experience every step of the way gives you greater assurance and the ability to be powerfully present as you move towards something new. While your experiences may appear to belong to you, they also belong to us, especially as you record, remember, and share them; they become part of the collective archive.
Can you trust yourself to be true to your experiences? If you are not sure, next time you sense something is wrong or someone makes you feel uncomfortable – wait and observe how the other person responds or reacts to you and speak up. Also, try to observe how you react toward them. If you quickly brush it aside or come up with an excuse, you are most likely suppressing your feelings and negating your experiences. Over time it will be more difficult to trust how you feel or express certain emotions.