On the Pursuit of Fame, Youth, and Mental Health
Here's a little-known secret about me: Ever since I was young, I have wanted to be famous. When I was a little girl, I first wanted to be a singer, then an actor, and finally, a writer. While singing and acting didn't pan out because I wasn't passionate about them, writing stuck with me. But I haven't yet achieved fame as a writer, and until recently, it made me feel bad about myself. Although I have made peace with this now, I see a lot of young people with a burning desire to be famous. And it hurts because I know this obsession can leave behind deep mental scars.
Why Do Young People Want to Be Famous?
You guessed right: social media is to blame. According to Psychreg,
"Young people seem more drawn towards fame than middle-aged and older people, and it seems to have been that way for some time. Hundreds of millions of people are on social media trying to be famous. Social media may not have increased the desire for fame, and it may simply have better enabled the expression of that desire. There seems to be something deep and enduring in the core of human nature that needs recognition, significance, appreciation, and validation."1
The popularity and availability of numerous social media apps have sparked the desire for fame in even the most level-headed people. After all, fame fulfills the above needs and often provides additional perks like wealth and regular ego boosts from fans and followers. Unfortunately, pursuing fame is not fruitful for most people, and this failure can cause anxiety and depression.
How Can the Desires of Youth and Fame Be Changed
Social media is clearly not going anywhere, so I believe the best way forward is to figure out why, as a young person, you want to be famous in the first place. For example, if you want to be known for your comic timing, what are you ready to do to achieve that? Being self-aware can prevent you from doing something inauthentic or embarrassing online. You may achieve fame overnight, but at what cost? So before you share anything online, ask yourself: Is this something I will regret in the future?
As for me, I still want to be famous, but I am no longer obsessed with it. If it happens, great. If it doesn't, it's no big deal. This change in attitude has had a positive impact on my mental health. I no longer compare myself with famous writers and feel I am not good enough. I know now that fame is neither a measure of my self-worth nor writing abilities.
And hey, if you only want to be famous for being famous, it's probably best to talk about this in therapy instead of stopping at nothing to go viral. Your future self will thank you for it. Watch the video below to learn how being a clout chaser harms your mental health.
Rosa, R. D. (2022). The Psychology of Fame and Celebrity: Why Do People Want to Be Famous? Psychreg. https://www.psychreg.org/psychology-fame-celebrity-want-famous/
Shaikh, M. (2023, April 19). On the Pursuit of Fame, Youth, and Mental Health, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2023, November 29 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/mentalhealthforthedigitalgeneration/2023/4/on-the-pursuit-of-fame-youth-and-mental-health