[box]“Need is not the same as like.”[/box]
I was listening to Wintersmith today (the 3rd Tiffany Aching book by Terry Pratchett) when I came across the above quote. The context being Tiffany thinking about Granny Weatherwax in comparison to Mrs. Earwig and other witches. Those witches tended to be popular and well-liked whereas Granny Weatherwax was not liked as much as she was needed. Needed in the sense that when the proverbial *#$% hits the fan, you called for Granny Weatherwax and not the others. But if you held a party or just had someone over for dinner, Granny Weatherwax would not be the person you invited.
In thinking about this, I couldn’t help but think about the person I would want to be known as. On an incentive level, I think all of us want to be liked and known as someone who people want to be friends with (knowing that there are a few hermits out there…but in general people want to be liked). And while the need to be liked is there, there is also a part of me who wants to be known as the person who get things done. The person who you call when the cards are down and no one else can help. The person who you know will come even when all hope is lost.
You know, the Granny Weatherwax type of person… the superhero….the Rambo character…the James Bond person who gets the job done no matter what but with whom it is dangerous to be too close or to know too much about.
There are times when it seems that I can balance both parts of myself. That I can be both “liked” and “needed.”
Yet at other times, it seems that I have to make a choice.
By definition, being needed means making the hard decisions. It means making people upset when the status quo is upset. It means calling out injustice when injustice is seen. It is, if I might shift fictional worlds, being the Steve Rogers of the world when it is easier to sign the Sokovia Accords along with Tony Stark and the rest of the gang. As Steve told Tony in Captain America: Civil War, “If I see a situation pointed south, I can’t ignore it. Sometimes I wish I could.”
To be liked.
Or to be needed.
Perhaps that is really the question of the ages.