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Better to Be Ignored for Who You Are than Admired for Who You’re Not

person walkingWhen we don’t hold to our own truth it creates divisions on our lives. We’re obliged to adopt masks, to play different roles for different people in our lives. Many people put on masks for the sake of popularity.

This has become especially easy in the online world, where one can create a pseudonym and an invented avatar to go with it and then proceed to play out any kind of fantasy that one desires.

There is creativity involved in such activities, of course, and people may draw upon their alter-egos to carry on such charades.

But there comes a time when we have to ask ourselves whether what we stand to gain by playing a role is worth the energy that we have to expend to sustain it.

Does it justify keeping our natural thoughts and feelings to ourselves whilst we project a persona that we think will bring us more approval and/or admiration?

You may find that when people give a lot of attention to a false image of you – and admire “you” for it – you feel lonelier than you would if you were simply alone. Not only are you not receiving real affirmation, but you no longer even have yourself.

Your real self has been replaced by the persona that you must now sustain in order to hold your “audience”. People struggle with this dynamic in many ways: within their intimate relationships, in their daily jobs, in the roles that they’re obliged to play in the public arena, etc.

Reading from a certain script and satisfying other people’s expectations in the process may earn us approval and even admiration, but how much is that worth if it bears no relation to our true selves? Deep inside, we know that people aren’t affirming us for who we are.

It’s better to be ignored for who you are than to be admired for who you’re not.

Depending upon the circumstances, many of us can feel loneliest when we’re in a crowd. This can be especially true if that crowd has gathered around us to witness a spectacle that doesn’t really resemble who we are.

We’re forced to keep up the act while at the same time keeping our most pertinent thoughts and feelings – all that we might most strongly long to share with others – to ourselves.

We’d be better off just left alone, more often than not. Empty affirmation can be worse than none at all, because it just reminds us of what we long for and can’t find – at least, not in the way that we’ve been pursuing it.

Trying to be who you think you need to be to please others is ultimately just a waste of who you are.

Better to Be Ignored for Who You Are than Admired for Who You’re Not

John D. Moore, PhD

Described as folksy and down to earth, Dr. John Moore infuses current events and pop culture into his posts as a way of communicating wider points on issues related to wellness and goal attainment. His work has been featured in nationally syndicated media, including Cosmo, Men's Fitness and CBS Market Watch. He is a consultant to a number of Fortune 500 companies and institutions of Higher Learning. Dr. Moore is author of Confusing Love with Obsessionand Editor in Chief at: Guy Counseling.

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APA Reference
Moore, J. (2016). Better to Be Ignored for Who You Are than Admired for Who You’re Not. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 1, 2020, from


Last updated: 3 Oct 2016
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