Thoughts on the Struggle to Be True

Image: Ryan Trimble

Image: Ryan Trimble

There is one thing that causes me more internal conflict than anything else: the desire to be liked.

On one hand, I consider this a scourge. I hate myself for this desire, yet I know I am not the cause of it.

On the other hand, I’m thankful for this need, for it makes me mostly an agreeable fellow, capable of easily making friends. And I’m fortunate for that.

But what I want, what I think we all want, is to have a sense of self that is so clear, and an ability to adhere to that sense of self so punctiliously, that the thought “What will others think?” can never enter my mind.

Then again, the man (or woman) who claims to be totally authentic, boasting his disregard for the opinions of others, is ignorant. For the desire for authenticity and the courage to pursue it are only significant because of those around us, whether they support or oppose.

Our struggle to "become" would reward us nothing were it never recognized by a fellow human. It’s ironic that even our fight for authenticity must be validated by others, something so many fail to see.

In short, I think the real man is honest enough to admit his need to be validated, is courageous enough to live as though he doesn’t have this need, and is kind enough to assent to this need in others. And that is so fucking hard.