The Mortifying Ordeal of Being Known is part of a quote by author Tim Kreider in an essay he wrote for The New York Times. The full quote reads, "If we want the rewards of being loved we have to submit to the mortifying ordeal of being known," in essence arguing that to achieve deep relationships with others, one must bare the complexities and contradictory aspects of themselves they may not wish to share with the outside world. The quote became a meme on Tumblr, where it was used both sincerely and in shitposts.
On June 15th, 2013, author Tim Kreider wrote a piece in the New York Times relating a story about how he was accidentally CC'd on an email by someone disapproving of his goats. He then discusses the anxiety about knowing what others think of one behind one's back, and transitions into positing that it is still possible, and perhaps even necessary, to love someone despite their flaws. He writes, "THE operative fallacy here is that we believe that unconditional love means not seeing anything negative about someone, when it really means pretty much the opposite: loving someone despite their infuriating flaws and essential absurdity." He then concludes with the phrase, "if we want the rewards of being loved we have to submit to the mortifying ordeal of being known."
On April 17th, 2018, Tumblr user 1dietcokeinacan posted the quote in all-caps. On July 3rd, Tumblr user deadpanwalking reblogged the post with the "Running Dad" comic. The post has gained over 264,000 notes (shown below).
Over the following year, others began making jokes centered around the quote. On November 8th, 2018, Tumblr user tieflinggay posted a No Take, Only Throw variation about the quote, gaining over 36,000 notes (shown below, left). On February 23rd, 2019, Tumblr user stuffedgrapeleaves posted a Parks and Recreation edit with the quote, gaining over 23,000 notes (shown below, right).