Comfortable Or Phenomenal?

By Aditi Ashok | Student of Network Capital School
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Why are we typically scared of getting out of our comfort zones?

Why are we always pondering whether we are ever good enough?

Why is it that we all feel that there is a level of perfection in someone else, but not ourselves?

That is where, we have already mistaken, because who characterized this definition of perfect? 

It is human tendency to condemn yourself. Compete with people around you. Naturally, setting unrealistic standards for yourself that leads to disappointment and unhappiness when these standards are not met.  

What we fail to recognize, is that we are best at what we do when we are not trying to be someone else.
I used to often find myself stuck in a situation where my parents would constantly be correcting me to “be myself” and reminding me to have an identity of my own. I did not understand what they meant then, but I do now. 

When I see videos of myself with my cousins, during my middle school years, I frequently observe myself just STARING at them. Everyone is dancing and having fun; what am I doing? Smiling and gaping. 

At parties? Stare. At weddings? Stare. For what reason? I genuinely have no clue if you ask me. Honestly, if I could speak to the 10-year-old me, “why?” would be my first question.

Why the stare? Why the cluelessness? Unfortunately, I was never confident. I undermined my talents. I was always that oblivious chubby kid. My chubbiness was partly one of the reasons I was always insecure. (Still insecure? A little. Am I willing to work on it? Oui. And have I accepted myself? Oui.) 

I always thought the people around me were better. (Trust me, they seriously were!) Never thought I was worthy enough to be like them. 

Surprisingly, me being clueless did benefit me a little. Not caring about who I was, made me participate in every cultural event possible. Dance, music, theatre. Name it and I was there. (I followed participation is important, extremely ritually.)
It is true participation is crucial, but no matter how much effort I put, I would never win cultural competitions. Never was I casted as the lead character in any play. (When people say they were casted as trees in a play, trust me, they are not kidding. Thank you.) 
Self-doubt. Such a villain. So, no matter how hard I worked, how many times I showed up to be Juliet, I was still going to be that small shrub in the corner. 

There were no outcomes until I started to believe in myself.
Until puberty knocked some sense into my head.

Dance taught me to love myself. 

Contradictory to what I previously mentioned? Absolutely.

I have always been a dancer – I still pursue Bharatanatyam. I love freestyle and hip-hop. I definitely cannot wait to explore more. I learnt Kathak for six months for my school play. No, I was not a shrub but the lead character. Tables turned.
The only difference is that, today, I am a CONFIDENT dancer. 

I always THOUGHT I was incapable. In fact, my personality took a three-hundred-and-sixty-degree pirouette, after my first ever hip-hop stage performance. I even went on to perform Bharatanatyam on stage. Eventually, my cluelessness did start to fade away. I began to realize I had the potential. To no longer be the kid in the audience. To no longer be the kid who STARED or GAPED. And then, I wanted to do more. 

Dance taught me to express confidently – not just during the performances but even my thoughts, emotions, and feelings. Most of all, I learnt to combat my villain - self-doubt. 

Some ways to always remember to look after yourself:

Recognising negative self-talk: Positivity accurately changes your outlook. You already have the world ready to criticize you for your every move, so you need to be the ONE to appreciate yourself, even for the smallest things you do. 

Self-care improves your mental health: 
1. Some sort of physical activity definitely boosts my mood. Refreshes me, in fact it is known to improve fitness and makes you stronger as well! Just grooving to music, some dance workouts or sometimes cardio helps me sweat out all my cortisol.
2. Sleeping! Allows me to dream my stress and anxiety away. And eating well! It is proven that certain healthy foods make you happy too. 
3. Having “feel good moments” like painting your nails, trying out different outfits, to just be grateful for everything we have.

Spending time doing things that make you happy: As cliched as this might sound, it is true. Time will just pass by, doing activities you indisputably enjoy. Your intrinsic motivation will keep pushing you to do more and you will have no room for negative thoughts since you have been constructively involved. Moreover, your productivity will just make you proud of yourself!  For instance, spending time with your loved ones or best friends – you never even realize how time passes by! Similarly, why not make yourself your best friend?

Comfortable? Thinking everyone around you is better and you will never be good enough.

Phenomenal? Always trying to become the best version of yourself, realizing you are your only competition.
It is effortless to mirror someone else. It is even more comfortable to be someone who already exists. In simpler words, “copying” is unchallenging. There is no necessity for you to do anything. In your comfort zone, you remain completely unaware of all your capabilities.

On the other hand, a challenging but satisfying path, with fruitful moments; it takes courage to accept yourself just the way you are. Self-acceptance, a bold move to nurture the essence of what makes you – YOU. Effort, hard work, perseverance – that is phenomenal.

It is entirely a choice to be happy and totally up to us to decide – should we be Comfortable or Phenomenal?

Aditi was a part of the Network Capital Summer School.

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