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I learned to act as I do by Barsha Bharati

By Volunteer Barsha Bharati, FHI Hyderabad

It’s not an easy day. I was numb as like a cold dead fish floating in the pond of poisonous thoughts. Everyone was showering their blessings and good wishes to me. It’s my 23rd birthday. Thoughts of ‘Not Doing Enough’ were killing me from inside. I would like to do many things in which I strongly believed. But unfortunately, I could not do any one thing among those until I was perfect.

Yes, yes!! You are guessing right. I was trapped in the cage of imposter syndrome, a very common syndrome of being a perfectionist, highly self-criticized, and frightened to be sounded as fraud. I did not recognize it for long. Because we always give preference to all the health problems over mental health. Having little knowledge about mental health affects our lifestyle a lot. I wish, Mental Healthcare should have inculcated in our school curriculum.

Anyway, I was scrolling through WhatsApp status, saw a beautiful image of my friend, Soumya Sephalika, with children. She mentioned how she enjoyed being there, teaching life skills by doing activities with kids in the FHI event. So, I asked her how could I join. (Now Soumya is a city coordinator of FHI Bhubaneswar, with Aman and Uddhavi.)

The first thing that appealed to me was to let the children learn life skills through creative activities. Because I believe, these activities should be practiced and encouraged in School. I too enjoy my free time in writing, painting, and crafting. I thought I could teach them too. Secondly, I could go to Bhubaneswar on Sunday just by changing two buses which would take one hour, and then Soumya also offered to give me a lift from the bus stop to the event center. The third point, I considered that I could volunteer from any city as FHI has branches all over India if I got enrolled in any project work or a Ph.D. That’s why Fly Higher sounded perfect for me.

Finally, my FHI journey started with the sports and game events from September 2019. Throughout the journey, by mingling with other volunteers, I understood my mental health. I started reframing my thoughts. While working with kids, I realized it’s okay to not be good in everything. I started accepting failed attempts with a big smile and comfort myself with the fact that it is always better to participate. I somehow let go of perfection. But I thrive to learn more and more. Although impostorism has paralyzed my feelings to live in moments, stolen my power to breathe in present, with FHI, I have started enjoying the now. FHI events both online and offline are like psychotherapy sessions for me where I am always out of my comfort zone. I found out that ‘I am not alone’. Everyone has a story to tell as I do. Now I am more comfortable with constructive criticism. Today I am self-assured. Tomorrow I could be a good leader.

Most of the time, I feel like I get benefitted more than I help underprivileged children. I know these thoughts are also part of impostorism. Nowadays, when I feel like I don’t belong, not doing enough, don’t deserve something, or not confident much – I act as I do.

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