The age of trying to be liked by others must come to an end, now, it is hurting not only ourselves but others as well.
There is an interesting passage in Ralph Waldo Emerson’s essay, Self-reliance, which states:
The nonchalance of boys who are sure of a dinner, and would disdain as
much as a lord to do or say aught to conciliate one, is the healthy attitude
of human nature. A boy is in the parlour what the pit is in the playhouse;
independent, irresponsible, looking out from his corner on such people and
facts as pass by, he tries and sentences them on their merits, in the swift,
summary way of boys, as good, bad, interesting, silly, eloquent, troublesome.
He cumbers himself never about consequences, about interests: he gives an
independent, genuine verdict. You must court him: he does not court you.
You must court him, he does not court you. This is pure gold.
When I first read Emerson, I thought he was being kind of a douchebag by saying this, but in reality, what happens today is that falseness, is now the rule. This “nonchalance” of the boys at the parlor reminiscences of what it means to be “real”.
When you are trying to court someone, be it your boss, your spouse or your friends, you are not doing it out of a genuine place. You are doing it because you are trying to get something out of that courting. Most of the times that are approved, which approval is, plainly, asking for other people’s permission to exist, which is simply detestable.
The nonchalance has to be reclaimed, a compliment must be made out of respect and true meaning, not just to reciprocate likes on facebook.
Stop the courting and let them court you.
At least, from this standpoint, you will stop acting in order to be liked, and you will focus on your own work and on your own things. Do it for you and do it for us as well. You are the only unique person that can bring us your original work, but if you preoccupy yourself for court all the time, you will not do what you think is cool, but what you think others think is cool, and that is no longer cool. Praised or unpraised, it doesn’t matter, you owe your best work and best self, nothing else matters.
God will not have his
work made manifest by cowards.
Ralph Waldo Emmerson
Subscribe and receive for free the Askesis ebook to further develop your practice of stoicism.
Visit our Patreon page for more stoic, Patreon only content. Thanks.
Support Stoic Answers
Stoic answers is committed to the spread of knowledge and a cosmopolitan worldview. Our mission is to create a sanctuary online for serious stoic contemporary thinking. No ads, no paywall, no clickbait – just thought-provoking ideas from the great ancient Stoics and contemporary knowledge, free to all. But we can’t do it without you.