I guess you could say I’ve had an epiphany or an ‘aha’ moment in learning to accept myself.

I’ve realized that all throughout my life, I was always trying to be someone else. I would look up to those successful entrepreneurs, or famous celebrities, or even that popular kid in my high school and try to do everything they would do.

But I’m naturally a more quiet, shy, introverted kid, especially with those I’m not comfortable with. My friends would disagree, but I also love being alone.

So every time I tried to be someone else, it felt unnatural, like I was stretching myself thin. And instead of inspiring or motivating me, putting these people on a pedestal just made me feel worse about myself and how they were everything I was not.

Social media is a magical thing. And as we know from our favorite wizarding world, there is good magic and evil magic. And I almost forgot what side I was on.

I got caught up in seeing the best parts of everyone else’s lives and created my own image of what qualities a successful person should have.

I have to be smart, funny, witty, inspiring, fun, charming, a good talker, athletic, confident all the time, have a thick skin, show no weakness.

But this created an impossibly perfect person in my head and it overwhelmed me.

I would never be able to be like that. They’re just a different breed.

To me, success with wide-reaching impact was a distant pipe dream.

Blinded with the Starry-Eyed Goggles

I see all of these successful, abundant, happy, fulfilled people and all of the things I should do to get there. I should be a morning person, meditate, journal, follow intermittent fasting, drink matcha green tea, say no to invites, write, network, add value every day, hustle, hustle, hustle!

I know success is about creating habits, but my problem was that I was torturing myself whenever I couldn’t stick to them. If I missed a day of writing, my mind immediately became pessimistic. Yeah, told you you’re not cut out for this, Victor. This isn’t for you!

But I learned the hard way that there was no reason for treating myself that way. Sure, all of these successful people had a disciplined routine, but they’ve had years of practice and support to maintain high production. They’re in the Majors and I’m still in Little League hitting T-ball. I shouldn’t be comparing myself to anyone but my past self.

I have to stop using the language that I should do this, or I should be that because first of all, it’s not strong, committed language, and second of all, it adds unnecessary pressure to be something I’m not.

And just because these successful people have the limelight, it doesn’t necessarily mean I have to do everything they do. We all have different ways of getting where we want to go so I can’t just blindly follow the stars. I have to find my own to guide me instead.

The Paradox of Chasing Success Traits

I thought I had to be something in order to be someone.

Ironically, striving for the qualities of who I deemed successful was what stunted me for so long. I would compare myself to someone else and immediately tell myself that I didn’t have what they have. And that lowered my confidence to be able to do what they did.

In college, I saw so many guys picking up girls at bars and clubs. I heard so many stories of these “wins” and I wanted that. Of course I did. I wanted to feel desirable, that I have “game,” that I can attract anyone I wanted.

So I even started reading up on pickup artists and dating tactics. I studied things like, “Witty things to say to make any girl fall in love with you,” or “What to say and do to make her wanting more.” I tried to be someone that every woman would be attracted to, that suave, witty, charming guy that always says the right thing at the right time. It was definitely manipulative.

But what I didn’t realize was that this whole chase to being attractive was exactly what was destroying my chance of ever being attractive.

“If you’re dreaming of something all the time, then you’re reinforcing the same unconscious reality over and over: that you are not that.”

-Mark Manson

The more I thought I had to be smart, the more of a fraud or imposter I thought I was. The funnier I tried to be, the more awkward I felt. The more confidence I wanted to portray, the more weakness I displayed.

So why did I keep telling myself I’m not as smart as that entrepreneur, or as funny as that dude, or as entertaining as those Youtube stars?

Why did I keep comparing myself to someone else and allowing them to control so much of my mind, feelings, and emotions?

Because it’s easier. It’s easier to look at somebody else’s life rather than your own. It’s easier to consume than to create. It’s easier to dream than to be.

Or maybe it’s not. Maybe from now on, all I have to do is just be smart, funny, and confident. No more distancing myself from the qualities that I want. It’s already in me.

Of course, in practice, being someone with my favorite human qualities is a lot more complicated than just telling myself I have it. But I think it definitely starts there.

I’ll have productive days, I’ll have lazy days. I’ll have days where I’m confident, joyful, expressive. I’ll have days where I literally don’t know what I think or feel, or I’ll doubt myself because I’m not sure if it’s the right thing to say, or if it would make sense, or if they would even care.

This is where I am writing a note to self: That doubt is a good thing! It means you don’t just blurt out whatever you think all the time. It means you are humble and that you don’t have to be right about everything. It means you want to stay relevant and present to the conversation. And it sure as hell does NOT mean you have low self-esteem, or that your thoughts are stupid, or that you’re not meant for success.

Who Do I Want to Be?

Scratch that, who am I and why am I awesome?

I’m never one to brag about myself because I hate it when people do that, but I honestly never do it for myself. So it’s time to be a little selfish today and write these down for myself (low-key for you to get to know me too, I genuinely want to connect with you!).

I am weird because I am self-aware and empathetic.

I am not strict and disciplined because I am light-hearted and easy-going.

I am not witty, but I have a relatable sense of humor.

I don’t always know what to say immediately, but I am a deep thinker.

I am not the most charming, but I am friendly and easy to talk to.

I doubt myself sometimes because I value modesty and guidance rather than claiming to know the truth.

I am awesome because that’s who I’d rather be.

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Originally published at medium.com


  • Victor Ung

    EQ Writer, Speaker, Coach, & Meditation Guide

    Human Up

    For so long, I felt like I've been asleep. My memories seemed to be broken, constantly playing on a loop because I was doing the same thing, over and over again. But the worst part was, it was emotionless. Everyone around me, including the mainstream media in American society, stigmatized emotional and mental health. People wanted to stay positive and above the surface level. No one wanted to dive into the deep, dark ocean, afraid of what we might find. Any time we expressed how we felt, we would be told to "man up," "don't be so sensitive," "don't be a downer," or worse, our trust, credibility, or respect would be lost because we "let our emotions get in the way." So I've been shutting it down this whole time, sleeping. Well, now I'm awake and I now know that our emotions are always going to be there, we can't avoid them. But we can learn how to respond to them. I am here documenting this journey to free myself and my emotions, no matter how "down" they might be. It's time I learn to live with authenticity, not just positivity.