Justin Bieber: Why I Don't Hate Him
As a professional who practices in the field of counseling psychology, I get asked a lot of questions about the mental health of celebrities.
Recently, I've had a few people ask me about Justin Bieber. Specifically, what they really want to know is if he is a drug addict or has some sort of mental issue and why can't he stop behaving badly. Secretly, I think they want to confirm their opinion of him as a morally bankrupt young person. I don't ever give my professional opinion about such things. I believe a good diagnostician does not diagnose based on hearsay alone.
However, I have to admit; in terms of Justin Bieber, I feel a certain level of empathy and sadness for him. I don't agree with his behavior but as a teenager, I acted in ways I'm not proud of nowadays either. When I was nineteen years I was working a night shift job full-time and going to college during the day. At the time, I hated this lifestyle and was jealous of my peers who only had to go to college and could party all night long if they wished.
Nowadays, as a mature adult, I am thankful I had these difficult experiences since it taught me many things, such as the value of work, structuring my time and prioritizing, overcoming adversity and failure. This early adult experience even allowed me to consider larger existential questions such as: what do I value? And Who am I? I would never have EVEN considered these questions if I had money and fame thrust upon me at eighteen or nineteen. Hell, I don't think I would learn those life lessons and asked those subjective questions if I had just been a full-time college student with zero responsibilities. All of these experiences built my future resiliency capacity, a capacity I would need later in adulthood when life really became challenging at times.
Not too long ago, I read a book by human development scholar/professor William Damon. Damon discusses at length this concept of the importance of meaning exploration for young adults and for them to ask these larger questions before they go out into the larger professional world. Damon considers his thesis the key for young people in their development of a strong self-concept, as well as their moral development. Based on my own personal experiences as an emerging adult, I have to concur.
So how does this relate to Justin Bieber? Think about it: he has never experienced what it is like to fail, to hear the word "no", to struggle financially and professionally (yet). What will his concept of his identity be after the fame has faded? How much resiliency capacity has he built as an emerging adult? Very little I suspect. What will middle age look like for Justin Bieber? Will he be playing concerts to middle age women in Vegas in a desperate attempt to relive his teenage years (along with his fans)? That is truly a sad thought. The healthy and well adjusted among us live in the moment with thoughts of future goals and plans. The saddest among us continually look backward, viewing the past as always greater than the present and future.
Nulliam prandium est
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