The Need to be Somebody Separates You from Yourself

The need to be somebody can sometimes make you forget yourself.
The Need to be Somebody Separates You from Yourself

Last update: 07 March, 2019

Sometimes you need to stop and think about why you want what you want. The e xternal goals you choose due to vanity or the need to be somebody could stray you away from your true desires. Even worse, they could separate you from yourself. Are you the person who others wanted you to be or are you just yourself?

Even though you might not realize it, the need to be somebody can actually be the need to get approval from others. When you need others to tell you that you’re worthy, it might be due to a small voice inside you that screams that you don’t approve of yourself. So “being somebody” is the perfect mask to make you believe that others approve of you.

As soon as we’re born, society tries to prepare us for and orient us toward material goals. In our family, at school, and socially, you probably often feel like you have to “be somebody” in life. This leads to feelings of frustration and dissatisfaction. It’s true that people need self-actualization, as stated by Maslow’s hierarchy of needs theory. Nevertheless, that need shouldn’t keep you from being yourself, either.

Being yourself means getting in touch with your own abilities. It means developing those abilities in accordance with your potential. That is, your motivation shouldn’t come from needing to “be someone in life.” On the contrary, it should come from the natural impulse to express yourself and discover new things. You should project yourself, exactly as you are, without having to disguise yourself.

“I’m not anyone, I’m just myself; whatever I am, I am something, and now I’m something you can’t help.”

-Ray Bradbury-

The need to be somebody may make you unrecognizable to yourself.

Where does the need to be somebody come from?

Why do some people only live to be somebody? How is it that others don’t bother themselves at all to try and reach this goal? It might be that people in the second group already know they’re somebody. That’s why they don’t need to value themselves using metrics that only measure their egos and vanity. Such measures reflect only a lack of love for others and excessive self-love.

According to Edward Young, the English poet, vanity is the daughter of ignorance. He expresses this in his work Night-Thoughts. According to this author, people are blind and don’t know how to value themselves. Thus, vanity can blind people so much that they can even end up forgetting who they really are.

The need to be someone pushes us to value other people based on their achievements, possessions, appearance, and other measures imposed by their ego. But in reality, “being somebody” doesn’t have anything to do with external merits. On the contrary, the true goal should be discovering who you really are.

“All the people in the Kuo-ch’ing monastery—
They say, “Han-shan is an idiot.”
“Am I really an idiot:” I reflect.
But my reflections fail to solve the question:
for I myself do not know who the self is,
And how can others know who I am?


If you have to betray yourself to satisfy your need to be somebody, it’s better to keep being yourself

Most people believe that they’ve created themselves. You might believe that external influences or internal mental influences haven’t played an important role in your goal-setting habits. However, we often ignore the influence others have on our goals.

A felt heart reflected in a mirror.

Many people complain of existential crises that arise when they start asking themselves why they’re in their current position. Many times, they realize they’ve chosen the wrong path.

In some cases, people start to realize that they’ve become everything they used to hate. They might discover that they’re more like their parents than they expected. It’s a normal human tendency to learn by observation and acquire habits from other people. However, you have to be careful because the need to be somebody can lead you to abandon your real dreams.

Ego, pride, and vanity are normal human traits that never go away. They have their adaptive functions and are even necessary in certain occasions. That being said, when these qualities drive your actions, you might be building a life that other people have designed for you.

“I know well what I am fleeing from but not what I am in search of.”

-Michel de Montaigne-

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.