There was a good chunk of time where I wasn’t always so confident or in a good mental space. It took years to get to the place I am at today and I am grateful for that journey. I grew up in New York and fitting in was definitely a challenge. I went to a private Catholic school and was definitely the odd one out which added to my own insecurities. Eventually, my family moved to New Jersey and boy let me tell you moving from a very sheltered environment to a not so sheltered one, it was definitely a huge change for me. I was trying to adjust to a new place, house, lifestyle, everything! Private school was already difficult as I was one of the only Indians to attend and now figuring out how to navigate a public school was as challenging. I didn’t want to be the odd one out again so I remember constantly trying to fit in, wear the cool clothes everyone did, jump back and forth between what group I should associate myself with. As this continued, I felt a sense of this in college as well. I felt the constant need to find the “cool” people to be around and not realizing that eventually my mental health was declining because of it. It was hard and taxing and I realized I was not truly living for myself and my purpose. Post graduating college, I really took time to reflect and understand who I truly am as a person, what is important to me, my goals and passions, and ways to better myself as a human being every single day. I didn’t realize who I truly was until two years ago when I decided it is time to stop trying to fit in to what society thinks is “cool” and fit in to what makes me, me. Once I started to truly love myself, I noticed how positive and happy I genuinely became. I also grew confidence not just externally but internally and I gained courage to do things I always wanted to. I may have learned this in my 20s but I am glad I did because it just makes me appreciate my experiences much more and because of it I am a happier and better person!
As I started making myself a priority, I knew the one thing that made me genuinely happy was entertainment -- dancing, singing, acting, you name it! I just knew there was something about it, especially Bollywood films that I loved and craved to be a part of. I also knew deep down I was meant for acting and it wasn’t until I gained confidence where I could tell the world. I wanted to act and I wanted to act in the Hindi Film Industry. I just knew it and I wanted to take the chance to pursue it. After working as a Physical Therapist for one year, I knew it was the right time to move to the heart of Bollywood, Mumbai. I took a two month acting course in New Jersey before I moved and that was my only plan - to have some sort of foundation. Other than that, I did not have a plan, I didn’t know where to begin, who to contact, how to get an audition, nothing. All I knew was that I have to get on that plane and get myself to Mumbai. That was my first hurdle - getting on that plane. I knew once I got myself on that plane, I would figure the rest out and that is exactly what I did. I got to Mumbai and I figured “the rest out.” Everyday is so uncertain and the risks are endless but I know my potential and I know this is my journey regardless of the outcome. I am happy. I am doing what I also wanted to do. I am putting myself out there. I am growing as a person every single day. But more importantly, I am doing it for myself, I am not worried about what people will think about my journey. I am doing it so future Sanam has no regrets. I am doing it because it brings me ultimate joy. I am doing it because hard work, dedication, and being a good human being will pay its dues.
Of course, following your passion is something that is easier said than done. But when you truly want something, you make it happen. Training your mind to be positive is the first step and that is exactly what I did. I had to train my mind to look at the good in every situation.
Mindset. It is the strongest tool we have. Everyone has bad days or insecurities but when you change the way you approach it, it changes your life. Having a positive mindset has allowed me to become myself, to take risks knowing how uncertain the future can be and ultimately molded me into a genuine human being. Work your butt off, be a good person, and let the universe work its magic!!
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