Celebrity envy — the ugly green monster

Tim Kasser talks about how we satisfy our envy of celebrities by stocking up on luxury items.

Excerpt from The Mail on Sunday:

And the irony is that celebrities are just the same, just as pressurised.

No matter how rich you are, you can’t win.

In Los Angeles, the Beckhams will worry that they are not as stratospherically famous as new best friends Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes.

Kristin Scott Thomas confessed in a recent interview to being jealous of people she thought more successful.

Lily Allen wrote miserably on her blog about not being as good as Amy Winehouse. So the answer is to take a sharp reality check.

We can enjoy indulgence if we keep perspective – that celebrity is unreal and that true happiness lies outside possessions.

“Consumption gives people a temporary high – it feels good to get that new thing,” says Professor Tim Kasser, associate professor of psychology at Knox College, Illinois, and author of The High Price of Materialism, “but retail therapy is a quick fix and ultimately tends to maintain and worsen people’s problems.”

The new handbag, kitchen or house is no long-term fix to deeper underlying emptiness and unhappiness.

Tim confirms that happiness is a world away from the glitz of celebrity:

“Personal growth and self-acceptance is one factor, good relationships with spouses, lovers, friends and family is another.

“The third factor in happiness is creating community feeling – helping the world become a better place.”

We need to distract ourselves from those snapshot “celebrity” urges, says Tim, and focus on these healthier “intrinsic” goals.