In a day and age like the one we live in today, it's absurdly easy to get caught up in the moment and forget what truly matters. Overly burdening ourselves in an attempt to gain reassurance of our potential and our caliber is so normalised. I don’t even remember the last time I just took in a deep breath and felt pride in everything I was doing. This epiphany quickly got me thinking- what’s the point of any of our achievements, if we can't take even a moment to congratulate ourselves? Look, I get it. High school is a pain; everyone wants stronger resumes, better application essays and more extracurriculars. But is the aforementioned really more important than the process itself? Think about it: this vicious cycle within our minds never really ends. You get into the best university and then its all about trying to find the perfect job. You get the perfect job but then it's all about getting a higher position. You work insanely hard and get the highest position, but then your ambition leads you to wanting to start your own business. Do you get it? It's not just about a single goal. If you don’t change that mindset now, it'll eat you up from within. Extremely soon. We have to learn to strike equilibrium between being ambitious and pushing ourselves, but not to the point where we're never happy with where we are.
After coming to terms with this simple logic, I took it upon myself to scavenger my way through a bottomless pit of research and find ways to make me genuinely happy and appreciative of where I am today. Here's a list of what I came up with:
1) It's OKAY to take breaks. It's normal:
No one is even close to perfect. Working hard is amazing, it shows determination and commitment. But working to the point where you cant do anything else; that’s unhealthy. Learn to keep a balance between getting work done and doing what you’re genuinely passionate about. Someone once told me, 'The night right before your exam, just close all your books and throw them into a cupboard. Go out, have a nice meal, meet a friend, talk about ANYTHING except the upcoming paper. Call me after you get those results, you'll see the difference yourself.' I cannot emphasise enough how brilliantly this worked for me.
2) Take time to find what makes you genuinely happy:
For me, this was always the hardest. You see, I love theatre and I love acting, but I was always told that it would never be a 'sustainable career choice'. The film industry is 'ruthless and unforgiving, remember that.' Now, however much I hate to admit it, this got to me. I stopped thinking of the one thing I genuinely enjoyed and moved my focus to studying biology and chemistry in hopes that I would fall into the field of medicine. Now, over time, I have begun to actually enjoy the sciences but nothing compares to that instantaneous surge of adrenaline that rushes down my spine every single time I perform on stage. So, I made the decision of getting back into acting- I took part in school plays, I auditioned for scripts and I even became the president of my school's drama club! The fact that one single decision, that I should have altered a long time ago, could make me this happy was unfathomable. It taught me one single thing repeatedly; it's never too late to do what makes you happy.
3) Stop comparing yourself to others:
'Every single person works at a different pace, and we're all good at different things.' Even after telling myself this every single day for the past few years, I've found it difficult to stop comparing myself to those that do better than me in any aspect. Let's face it; it's not easy to feel nothing if even after working a hundred times harder than someone else, you don’t do better. It's not easy to see someone else have a perfect quarantine body, when you're struggling hard to face your own insecurities. The fact is: it's never going to be easy. There's always going to be someone smarter than you, better looking than you, or more talented than you. But, nobody is perfect. It's time we stop comparing ourselves to others and work toward being the best versions of ourselves that we can be.
Believing in yourself can make the world of a difference. Take it from someone who's in a similar situation as you :)