There is something dangerous going on. And it needs to stop.
If VH1 has taught us anything, it’s that behind every rock star, every signing bonus, every booty poppin, champagne sippin, lambo whippin, chain hang to my ding-a-lang rags to riches story, lies an empty, sad human being who can’t stand to be alone with their thoughts come night time. Or so they make it out to be.
Mo Money, Mo Problems.
For the non-celeb like you and I, we go about our lives with good intentions, setting ambitious goals for ourselves and not shying away from a little “hard work.” We are realistic. We are humble. We aren’t in it for the fame. We might dream about it, but we would never actually want that life! After all… “It’s lonely at the top.”
It used to be an easier pill to swallow. The land of the chosen. The deserving. Stardom by destiny. Not us. Not the regular people. But “Oh how times have changed.” The people at the top are starting to look a lot like you and I. Using the same tools as us, wearing the same clothes as us. Creating the same art as us. But finding a lot more “success.”
And so we took what Hollywood taught us about money, success, and inevitable downfall, and applied those beliefs to everyone. Our friends, our fellow artists and people we don’t even know, and we’ve convinced ourselves that surely their happiness and success is not real either. More than that, we shouldn’t be happy for their amazing lives because they are probably sad on the inside. If not now, they will be. “They’ll learn.”
This mindset is disgusting. And dangerous.
You might not even realize you are doing it. Not being able to like a friend’s photo of their baby because you tell yourself that it probably just sh*t it’s pants 3 minutes later. “Their joy isn’t authentic. This isn’t what parenting is really like!”
Justification by way of disqualification. Worse, thinking that success has nothing to do with hard work. Or exists.
Let’s be better people in 2015. I laugh when people say that “nobody is really as happy as their Facebook wall claims.” Yes. Some people actually are. More than what their page claims.
Look for horror stories about wealth and self destruction and you’ll find them. Same goes for those with happier endings. For some, it is lonely at the top. For some, it’s not. But it’s neveralways lonely.
Don’t trick yourself into thinking mediocrity is okay because “the top” or happiness in 2015 is fake. Maybe it’s not. It doesn’t have to be.
(This piece also appears on Thought Catalog)