For some reason, people tend to talk more about your failures than your success. How often are good things talked about in the news? When was the last time someone gossiped about another person in a positive way? Unfortunately, much of the world thrives on seeing other people struggle. Maybe it makes them feel better about their own failures; maybe they think it's more interesting than always being nice. What do I know, I majored in journalism, not psychology (although I briefly dabbled in it, I think I'm a bit too sarcastic and negative for that line of work…)
What I do know is that people will always talk. Everyone has an opinion, and everyone thinks their opinion is the right one. No matter what you do, you're going to be judged - some of it in a positive way (I'm not saying there's some dark cloud over the entire universe), but much of it in a negative light. And, as I've learned, you can't stop people from talking (wouldn't that be nice). You can't stop them from having an opinion, either - no matter how mean it might be. What you can do, however, is fight back in a productive way.
Recently, I've been going through a lot of changes with my personal life and my tennis. Perhaps I haven't dealt with it in the best way, as shown by my recent struggle on tour. But, I've remained optimistic, and as I sit here on my way to Florida, I'm confident that the changes I'm making are going to lead me to be more successful than I was before. Unfortunately, not everyone shares my optimistic opinion, and even though people don't know the entire story, they often choose to judge.
Even though I'm not the most positive person when it comes to myself, I've always tried to view other people and their journey in a positive way. Maybe this is why I don't even understand why other people care what someone is doing or not doing, and why, when I hear that someone has said something bad about me, it really bothers me (probably a lot more than it should). I've let negative comments affect me way more than I should, and I've only recently figured out (through the help of my friends and family) that it honestly does not matter one bit what anyone else says or thinks about you. Easy to say, right?
Of course, it's harder to actually have the mindset of not caring what someone thinks or says about you (even more so because these people are often those you considered friends). But, think about it. It really doesn't matter. Everyone is entitled to their opinion; it doesn't mean that everyone's opinion is right. If you let all the gossip affect you, you're going to go downhill, and fast. Before I went on for one of my matches last week, I was partially thinking about how someone had made comments about when I was going to stop playing (among other chirps), given my past few tournaments. How is that at all helpful to me? It's not, so why should I care?
The only thing that really matters at the end of the day is that you back yourself. If you don't truly believe in yourself, then all the people gossiping are right - and they're going to have even more to talk about. At the end of the day, anything that doesn't help you is a distraction. They say that when you're going through tougher times, you really learn who is there for you and who would rather see you fail. Instead of focusing on the people who clearly aren't there for you when you're not on top, focus on those who are there. Listen to them, and trust yourself - it's your life. It sounds lame, but it's true. And, the best way to shut people up is to prove them wrong - which can only be done by ignoring those who don't want to see you succeed, and then going ahead and succeeding.
Former Hawkeye now playing tennis professionally; Journalism major.