“The greatest way to live with honor in this world is to be what we pretend to be.”
The characteristics we want others to see in us are usually virtuous and noble. Our desire to be viewed in this way is really a goal related to how we want to live our lives. As with trying to achieve any goal, there are times when we (and everyone else) fail. Socrates asked us to make our actions consistent with our ideal; to act the part so who we want to be becomes a matter of habit-who we really are. Acting differently than our own ideal doesn’t make us phony nor does it make the ideal irrelevant. It simply means we are human and the thing we’re shooting for isn’t easy.
The bumper sticker version of this quote used in mental health and addictions is “Fake it until you make it”; act opposite of your symptoms so that the parts of your life that hold meaning for you don’t fall apart. Being successful here means building the evidence of acting separate and apart from your anxiety or depression; having proof that your symptoms don’t define who you are.