Engrained in us from our days in middle school is this concept that our self-worth should be tied with how many people we sit next to on our lunch table. Even though we stop being 12-year olds, most of us keep buying into this lunch table mentality like it’s the gospel well into adulthood.
Sorry to break it to you, but middle school is over. Life is not a popularity contest, and no one gives a shit about your followers on Twitter, so stop buying into this bullshit.
In real life, the man who is comfortable with himself and confident in his true independence is the one who people want to be associated with the most and share in it. This is because the man who is comfortable with himself and his independence stands as a beacon of strength in a growing society of the emotionally weak.
This is not because social groups are inherently bad, but because man often uses these as crutches during times when falling is the noble thing to do. For man learns from falling down, but if man is constantly given a crutch when he is falling, he will never fall, and as such never have the incentive to improve.
I challenge you — next time, when life throws you in the gutters or you make a horrible decision and are forced to face the consequences, to avoid the “you go girl” taps on the back from your friends who tell you “it was the right thing to do anyways” and to not whip out your iPhone in desperate need for strangers on the internet to validate your shitty behavior. Rather, I challenge you to accept your failure and to stare it coldly in its eyes, and then to take that failure and to use it to forge yourself into an indestructible specimen.
For at the end of days, how you handle failure yourself and what you do with your freedom and the opportunities it provides is the measure of man.
Strength & Honor,
The Measure of a Man is What He Does With His Independence was originally published in AZOTH on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.