Is it hard being you?

A confronting question that reveals relationship to self.

written by oz chen

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There are few questions as illuminating as this…

Is it hard being you?

Some have taken offense to my question, interpreting it as a sarcastic jab.

Others have been knocked down sideways by this question.

My gut response, which surprised even myself, was…

“No. It’s not hard to be me.

It’s actually…quite easy.”

I’ll get to how I got there, but let’s first sit with the question:

Is it hard being you?

I love this question because it’s entirely an internal evaluation.

Instead of how you should feel “on paper”
Your job, your health, your relationships, your projects…
The only thing that matters is how YOU feel about your life.

Living life on hard mode (but you have the switch)

I used to be hard on myself.

I judged myself for lacking…
Intellect. Romantic options. Money. Height. Abs. Friends.

How hard it is to be you, is determined by how hard you are on yourself.

There are some people who seem to “have it all” – riches and fame…

And yet, it’s entirely valid that they feel it’s hard to be them.

Anthony Bourdain. Chester Bennington. Avicii.

A whole IMDB list of celebrities have taken their own lives. Rest in peace.

The shift

Something started to shift within me when I was 25.

I started…

  • Meditating
  • Going to music festivals and traveling
  • Trying medicine (yes…that medicine) which had a profound experience on me.

I liken all those activities to redesigning the home of brain, so that it’s no longer just a jumble of judgments, exterior noise and unexamined stories.

I evicted the worst tenants of my mind who were the first to complain, and the last to add value.

It’s now a rather nice place to be, if I might say so myself.

Allow me to show you two rooms in that home.

Moment 1:
I once cracked open a fortune cookie that said “You will be awarded some great honor.”

And my automatic response was…

“It’s already an honor to live this life.”

Moment 2:
I was once talking to someone who said “Many people have a hard time loving themselves,” and I said “Oh, I don’t have a problem with that.”

I blurted it out almost so casually that he had to stop and ask me to clarify.

“Yes, I love myself.”

The years of working on myself have compounded.

ohthankgoodnesssomeofthisselfhelpshitpaidoff. phew

What occurred to me was that I had started to migrate from an optimizer style of self help (for which nothing is ever enough), to a holistic style.

The journey from fixing perceived broken parts of myself to loving more and more parts of myself.


It’s rare that I catch myself with really bad negative talk. Damn, that was stupid Oz!

And if I start to spiral, there are now reliable escape hatches:

Breathing. Meditation. Exercise. A good nap.

It is so fucking easy being me.

But I don’t take that for granted, as life is big and change is the only constant.

As they say, count your blessings.

Aside 1

This essay might have you believing that life is all gravy for me.

The hardest part about being me is my mind’s conditioning.

I find it hard to focus at times, my attention jumping from thing to thing.
I often end the day feeling frazzled.
I don’t rest enough.

It’s not that I don’t have problems.

It’s just that the way I experience problems are nicer now.

Aside 2

When people have told me they’ve lost their job, got divorced and the like, I’ve tended to project my values and reactively say “I’m sorry to hear that…”

But I’ve been corrected enough times that the “bad news” was not bad.

I’m learning to ask, instead…

What’s that like for you?

In a similar way I approach the question : Is it hard being you?

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