A Tribute

Like most others, I followed the Olympics this year. Particularly the gymnastics (I love the sport😊) and I was wondering about Simone Biles and how she must have felt.

To me, she is a beacon. An extraordinary example of what personal strength is about.

I have always thought of gymnasts as super humans. They are able to defy gravity somehow and move in ways that are seemingly impossible. Holding a plank on the ground is hard enough to do and they seem to do it with ease on dangling rings that move. They are awe inspiring, no matter on what apparatus they are performing.

Consider for a moment the amount of dedication, perseverance, hours of training and even injuries that form the foundation on which an Olympic standard athlete is built. I guess, being a professional dancer, I can imagine to a small degree, but nowhere close. Plus, the pressure of competition and to qualify all required levels to reach the Olympics. Paradoxically, the more you win the more popular you get, the more the pressure increases because expectations of you keep rising. How do you keep upping your own standards? For how long? And where does it end?

She was everyone’s favourite, expected to take the gold in all categories. Undoubtedly, she has given her everything and made sacrifices through all the years of training she put in to get to this level - to become the world class gymnast that she is. To then take the decision to pull out of the Olympics and put her mental health first, could not have been easy.

We are all afraid of disappointing others. Told to always do what is right. To do what is expected.

To be able to transcend all that fear and decide to do what is right for you, what is needed in that moment to care for yourself, takes courage and is a demonstration of incredible personal strength. Simone Biles is an inspiration. She showed us that it is ok to put yourself first and that your greatest responsibility is towards yourself and that there is nothing wrong in choosing to do what is important for your wellbeing.

Thank you, Simone, for your strength, for being your beautiful self and for setting such a powerful example for us all.

Mental health is as important, if not more, as physical health. Can we all please do our bit to work towards creating awareness and understanding about mental health and in doing so removing the stigma associated with it. It might help save a life.

In loving service, TLP.

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