Montaigne: Don’t Care About What You Are to Others

”I do not care so much what I am to others as I care what I am to myself.”

Darius Foroux
4 min readAug 23

We live in a world where external validation dictates our self-worth. Isn’t that a shame? That’s something the French Renaissance philosopher, Michel de Montaigne, talked about hundreds of years ago.

This isn’t a new problem. After all, social media magnifies our inferior feelings when we see so many rich and perfect people every day.

No matter where you go for your content, whether that’s Instagram, YouTube, TikTok, or Netflix, you’re exposed to the lavish lifestyles of people. Think about it. Why would those platforms feature normal people with normal lives?

No one cares. We care about the out-of-the-ordinary things. That’s always been true.

As a result, we’re too focused and engrossed with the lives of others.

Montaigne emphasized the importance of cultivating a strong sense of self. Montaigne wrote:

”I do not care so much what I am to others as I care what I am to myself.”

This idea encourages us to embrace our authentic selves and focus on our own well-being, rather than seeking validation from external sources.

Embrace personal experience as a path to self-actualization

When we prioritize our own values, beliefs, and goals over the opinions of others, we become more confident, resilient, and content with our lives.

But what’s our first inclination when we run into challenges? We look outside for answers. We came into this world as helpless babies and had to rely on our parents for our survival. As we grow older, we should become more independent. But for many of us, that’s not true.

We have a strong urge to belong to some group. We just don’t want to be alone. Montaigne, a big believer that success and happiness lie within you, said:

”The greatest thing in the world is to know how to belong to oneself.”

Darius Foroux

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