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Meet Grace Kim of My Superlative in Orange County

Today we’d like to introduce you to Grace Kim.

Grace, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I spent high school in growing depression. I graduated relieved I would never have to relive that again. But the depression followed me, and I became more and more aware of a deep emptiness. I graduated not knowing who I was, what the hell I was on earth for. I went to college expecting to create a new life for myself, a life where I was confident, successful, popular, and significant. I went to college and found the exact opposite.

Through all the partying and social activities, I felt so insecure, unimportant, and unwanted. I tried to be someone that I thought I was supposed to be. And I sucked at it. I tried to fit in and be “cool”. And I failed.

During the second year of college, I felt deeply an immense void within. I felt like I was trying to create an image that didn’t want to exist. I felt like I was alone in the world and there was no way out. It was a dark place. I lived with negative thoughts running in the background of every moment.

“I’m not good enough.”
“I’m useless.”
“I’ll never become successful.”
“I’m going to die alone.”
“No one will remember me.”
“There’s nothing I can do to change my ugliness, stupidity, hopelessness.”

Then, through a spiritual experience in 2008, I realized an extremely important truth, one that would change my life forever: I am Loved. It changed my perspective on life, the world, and especially, myself. The negative thoughts I had lived with on repeat dissolved in the presence of pure Love. They fell away as the lies that they are and I could see clearly for the first time who I am. I saw that I am not alone. That I am worthy. That I have profound potential. That I am beautiful by an otherworldly standard. I felt peace, hope, courage, healing, and purpose in the world. They felt so new and foreign, and yet so familiar.

From that day on, I embarked on a journey that took me through some of the worst times, ironically, and absolutely my best times. They were some of the worst because that experience alone did not eradicate all my insecurities and fears and doubts. No, I faced them time and again when they resurfaced throughout life. I stopped running from the darkness within and dove in because I had a platform and foundation of love and grace I could depend on. I chose to see the scariest parts of me, the parts I would never show anyone, the parts that caused me the most shame and guilt.

And the worst times always led to the best times, the times of ecstatic freedom, love, connectedness, aliveness. I saw that the darkness was not “bad” or “scary”. It was simply places that light had not yet reached. And it took my desire to know the truth about myself that stirred the resolve to go within. Where I had expected the worst, the most hideous and deplorable pieces of me, I found the most compassion for and experienced true healing. Every time, I came forth with an intense sense of peace and acceptance and appreciation for myself.

In the crest and trough of life’s flow, I experienced transformation in the deepest way. I emerged with a deeper understanding of trust in God/universe, a powerful relationship with myself that I could no longer keep to myself. I began to share it with others simply by being me, by allowing myself to show up authentically and freely. And through that, I found that people were becoming healed in their own ways. I saw that this peace and confidence was intended for every single human being. And I deeply knew that for anyone out there struggling and wanting more in life, this sense of purpose and excitement for life was meant for them as well.

And this is where I stand today. I stand in the full and perfect hope that everyone has the capacity to become exactly who they want to be – and more. I stand in full faith that every person is deserving of living out their potential, of experiencing their power, creativity, connection, and uniqueness in ways they never even imagined. It’s not only possible, it’s meant to be. And it is my desire, honor, and pleasure to empower people to acknowledge, embrace, and celebrate their true Authentic Selves.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
Has it been a smooth road? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
No, definitely not. My greatest struggles were in becoming authentically me. As Joseph Campbell said, “It takes courage to be who you are.” Once I started this journey, I started questioning everything I knew or thought I knew. I was raised to think that as a good girl, I’m to graduate a 4-year university, get a well-paying job, move up the corporate ladder, find a decent partner, get married, have kids, buy a house – the whole shebang.

When I finally started acknowledging what truly mattered to me, I could no longer pretend these things mattered to me. They felt empty and dead and the process of extracting myself from a former reality passed down to me by my parents and spoon-fed me by society was painful. I felt like I was betraying a part of me and the expectations others had for me.

I would straddle the fence, questioning, contemplating, struggling with what was “right” and what was “wrong”. These things worried me and my nerves, even though they existed only in my mind. When I felt like I couldn’t find my peace, I let go out of exhaustion. And once I surrendered, I finally allowed myself to breathe, and see what was true for me. And the truth was, I didn’t give a shit about a good resume, paying my dues in a corporate setting, financial security, social norms, and even my religious affiliation.

I faced my deepest fears and questions first within, and once I began to understand myself better, I began to make decisions that reflected my truth. I grew up in a religious family and attended church all my life. At one point, I was heavily involved and sometimes you could find me at church six days a week. My only community was the church. And at some point, I felt a deep restlessness and unhappiness. For two years, I struggled with staying. I felt that if I left, I would be betraying my family and my faith. But I could no longer deny that it didn’t fit me anymore.

After 26 years of attending church (except 1 year during college), I made the fateful decision to leave the church. It was both the hardest and the easiest thing to do. After graduating college, I had a full-time job at a public accounting firm. I could no longer stay and permit the perpetual unhappiness, frustration, and stress I felt daily. I could no longer pretend it would all work out in the end, if I just sacrificed in the now. I felt life had intended other things for me and I couldn’t ignore the calling. So I left after one year of working at the firm. It was both the hardest and the easiest thing to do.

Events such as these mark my wrestling with truth and myself, the choices that taught me greatly about what it means to be true to myself. Every time, I come through feeling more in tune with who I am, and who I was intended to be.

Please tell us about My Superlative.
I work with millennial professionals who have everything on paper but are deeply unsatisfied with where they’re at and who they are. They feel like they’re behind in life as if everyone else seems to “get it”. I teach the class we needed most as teenagers and college students: how to identify who we are and how to get what we want in life.

This is not about advice-giving or giving out small bandaids. It’s doing deep work that sometimes scares us, going to the places that we fear most, the parts of us we shield from the world. Those who choose to embark on this journey of pursuing their highest self will find it lonely and scary and have someone in their corner is sometimes all that’s necessary to uncover the absolute gold within.

As a Reiki Master-teacher, I also perform energy work with emotional and physical healing. I find this work to be profoundly effective in personal growth and development. It allows the client to tap into a deeper part of themselves that may not be readily available on a day-to-day basis. It involves an open mind and interest or curiosity in spirituality. This is the kind of work that creates quantum leaps in people and their journeys.

If you had to go back in time and start over, would you have done anything differently?
I would have more self-compassion. I slow myself down with self-judgment and comparisons. Many times, I don’t move forward in life not because I don’t know what to do or because I don’t have the resources but because I’m sinking in my own fear and doubt and less-than-ness. That’s definitely the one thing I would do differently: show myself the love, care, and generosity that I do now.

At the same time though, I almost can’t say that I’d do anything differently because I chose the path I did and I chose to walk it the way I did. And every step of the way, I did the best I could. Even the days I felt shitty about myself, the days I felt like I’m not doing it right, I believe that nothing is by accident. I learn from everything, everyone, and every experience. And if it took me this long to get to where I’m at, then I’m doing a damn good job.

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Image Credit:
Stefanie Lin

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