Years ago, I came across an article titled ‘6 Harsh Truths That Will Make You A Better Person‘ by New York Times bestselling author David Wong. It’s a great read, worthy of your time, but for the sake of context, the piece basically comes to the conclusion that the world only cares about what it can get from you.

Wong uses ‘the bleeding patient’ analogy as an example. Say your loved one was shot and is now bleeding on the sidewalk. In comes a Good Samaritan with a pocket knife, ready to operate. You ask for his credentials: Is he a doctor, a nurse, or anyone who works in medicine?

He shakes his head, arguing that he’s a decent person, a good son, and rarely says bad words – and that makes him eligible to do the surgery. And when you disagree, he takes offense, calling you shallow, and claims he’s being discriminated against despite his positive qualities.

This reasoning sounds insane, right? Wong shares a terrible truth: we are the confused Good Samaritan holding the pocket knife and the rest of the world is the bleeding patient.

just be yourself, <b> &#8216;Just be yourself&#8217; is one of the worst advices we believe in </b>

So why bring this up? Well, it’s February again, ‘the love month’, which means singles are spouting ‘sana all’ like there’s no tomorrow. More amusing are the bitter ones, who are seemingly compelled to comment ‘Well, he’s rich’ or ‘Ofc, he’s successful’ on every couple they deem incompatible, usually based on appearance.

I blame this mentality on teleserye and rom-coms. They tell us that we could be the timid guy/gal in the hallway, and somehow, our James Reid/Nadine Lustre will walk in and fall for us, for no reason other than the script demanding for it.

Here’s my harsh truth: unless you’re insanely good-looking or brimming with charisma, people will pay you no attention. Even then, when the above traits fail to be backed by substance, they fall to the wayside. Hence, why derogatory terms like ‘bimbos’ exist.

Yes, the guy who has the discipline to eat right and work on his body 3 times a week will get more attention from women. That girl who dances as a hobby and shows it off on Tiktok will receive a lot of love.

These people are desirable because they have substance, and substance is something we human beings innately want, not just in relationships. It’s the reason we pay to watch a person sing exceptionally well for an hour. Or idolize someone who’s really good at putting a ball through a hoop. Or why we can’t easily forget an ex who’s funny, made us feel real giddy inside, and is great in bed, despite their red flags.

just be yourself, <b> &#8216;Just be yourself&#8217; is one of the worst advices we believe in </b>

It’s why I roll my eyes whenever ‘Just be yourself’ is doled out as life advice. ‘Ourselves’ is a meat sack filled with blood, bones, and guts, who’d rather stay in bed and watch Netflix all day. What else, apart from living and breathing, do you have to offer?

Oh, you’re a gentleman? Newsflash: being a decent person is the bare minimum. Of course, you should respect her. If you’re not a rapist or an abuser, congrats, you’re a fully functioning adult.

But as Wong puts it, ‘being yourself’, the good qualities and all, only matter when it comes to what they compel you to do. People can’t read your mind. They can only observe you and your actions.

You’re a good person, cool, but do you lead donation drives for the poor during the weekends? Or, instead of just liking photos of sickly children online, do you actually go to orphanages and spend time with them?

Because if you do, that would make you a philanthropist, and as Tony Stark proves, philanthropists can be attractive AF.

just be yourself, <b> &#8216;Just be yourself&#8217; is one of the worst advices we believe in </b>

Improving ourselves is definitely harder than it looks, a lot tougher than just writing an article about it. It requires a lot of patience, discipline, effort, self-awareness, and even courage to acknowledge that hey, my life could be a lot better. Not to mention the naysayers who’ll try to dictate what you can and can’t do.

But then again, time will pass anyway, whether we lie on our asses or not. We might as well do something of substance while we’re at it.

And personally, I’ve grown tired of feeling miserable about myself. Don’t you? Maybe it’s not 2021 that solely needs to change so we could start feeling better ourselves. Maybe we ourselves need to do so too.