Insight Is 20/20

Exploring the pervasive, and unperceived, patterns that govern our lives

Psychology of Celebrity: Celebrities Have Low Self-Esteem

Celebrities Have Low Self-Esteem, Too

In an interview published in the new February issue of Harper's Bazaar, Demi Moore gets real and openly discusses some personal feelings that most people would only share with a best friend. As a clinician who is far too familiar with the stigma associated with sharing vulnerabilities and admitting deep shortcomings and fears, Ms. Moore sends a we're-all-sisters message to regular folk who deal with some of the same basic self-esteem issues, and I commend her openness.

"What scares me is that I'm going to ultimately find out at the end of my life that I'm really not lovable, that I'm not worthy of being loved. That there's something fundamentally wrong with me...and that I wasn't wanted here in the first place," Ms. Moore shared in the interview.

While many readers will hear such comments and focus on their surprise that someone so wealthy and beautiful can feel so insecure or desperate, the truth is that her comments aren't that unusual or unfamiliar: many of us have had the exact same feelings at some point in our lives.

With celebrities, however, their fears and insecurities are sometimes more extreme because everything about them is more extreme: their beauty, their wealth, the roller-coaster nature of their lives that get lived out in front of the cameras. As celebrities live their lives publicly, they feed our human need to have objects we can simultaneously envy and criticize.

For regular folks, the takeaway is that it's perfectly normal to occasionally doubt yourself or succumb to hopeless feelings regarding your own lovability - particularly if you just ended a long-term relationship, as Ms. Moore recently did.

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Even more importantly, individuals who feel similarly should assess how long the insecure feelings have lasted, and determine whether the feelings have become more of a pattern - in other words, they keep coming back. If you continue to reenact such insecurities in one relationship after another, your problem isn't situational; instead, the problem is more of an identity issue, meaning that you have come to see yourself in a seriously distorted way and must seriously work on your issues in order for the feelings to go away for good.

The good news for someone such as Demi Moore is that she has the financial resources to get educated about any psychological issues she may have, and to seek whatever treatment may be helpful. Most women, on the other hand, aren't so lucky.

For women out there who can relate to the sad but authentic feelings Ms. Moore shared in her interview, don't convince yourself that you need to be wealthy to get the help you need to improve your self-esteem. Check out your local bookstore and scour free resources online, and you'll see that you can start improving your self-esteem today.

 

Seth Meyers, Psy.D., is a clinical psychologist with the L.A. County Department of Mental Health.

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