The Thin Line Between Idolatry and Respect

In a lot of ways, our world’s obsession with celebrities is bizarre. For whatever reason, we are fixated on following these people’s lives. We become attached to their daily activities, beliefs, and views. In some cases, we even try to mold ourselves after them. A lot of people even idolize celebrities, although they have had no direct contact with our lives. It is fair to criticize this tendency. After all, why worry so much about a person we don’t know? Why worship someone that you have never met and most likely never will? At the same time, this connection can be positive, especially for those struggling with mental illness. It is okay to feel connected to a celebrity, and it is okay to be hurt when they pass away.  

Seeking Inspiration Through Fame

People in recovery are often looking to other people for inspiration and motivation. Naturally, they will look to their families and friends first. In many cases, however, it’s easier to idolize someone who is making an impact and succeeding despite mental illness. Being in the public spotlight is a whole new way of going through life. Your every move and action is being watched, scrutinized, and judged. You can’t go out to eat without someone grabbing a quick picture of you. When you live under a lens like that, it can be hard to be vulnerable, to show that you have struggles and are dealing with something difficult. Therefore, when a celebrity is willing to be vulnerable and share their struggles, we feel a sense of hope. We can conquer our mental health issues if they can. When a celebrity speaks up about their mental illness, they are striking down stigmas and normalizing mental illness. They are showing the world that even the most prominent stars can suffer like ordinary people. Say what you will about the negative aspects of celebrity culture, but this positive impact cannot be discounted or minimized. There are some drawbacks to it, but there is also something beautiful about it. 

Understanding the Youth’s Fixation With Celebrity

This is even more evident in the youth of our world. For them, a celebrity is a source of inspiration. They are trying to figure out who they want to be in life, and these public figures are some of their best examples. To them, famous celebrities are the very definition of inspiration. That is okay, as long as it is a celebrity worth following. For a child dealing with some mental health trouble, having an idol to look up to and speak out about their mental health can be a huge relief and a way to help them overcome it. We should not minimize that fact or tell them that they are wrong for looking to this person for motivation. It shouldn’t matter where that inspiration comes from; what matters most is what you do with it. 

Coping With the Death of Your Heroes

It is understandable to feel sadness when a celebrity we felt connected to is suddenly gone. To suddenly not have that source of inspiration can be devastating. Despite not ever meeting this person, their presence in our lives is still noticeable and powerful. Some might say that it is weird or unhealthy, but there is nothing wrong with human connection and empathy. It shows that we are all human, that we are all connected. When that person leaves us, when we feel that presence in our lives starts to fade away, we can make a choice to pick up that mantle. We can carry on their legacy by doing what they would have done. 

There are so many complex emotions and thoughts that go into our relationships with celebrities. We look to other people for inspiration and that is beautiful, no matter where it comes from. Do not feel shame in being inspired by a celebrity, and do not feel shame in mourning their passing. Take the time to grieve their impact on your life and make a commitment to pick up where they left off. You can carry on their work, and you can let their legacy live on through you. 

If you, or anyone you know, is struggling with anxiety or mental illness, do not hesitate to contact the team here at True Recovery. Our program, founded in 2014, is built around finding what’s best for you to overcome your addiction. Our facility is located in Newport Beach, California, with our supportive housing located close to our campus in Costa Mesa. Take advantage of the local beaches, nature preserves, and Orange County community while we fight for you. Contact us at (866) 399-6528 or [email protected]