Change of Perspective

Musings on Writing, Reading, and Life Narratives

Fiction writers and literary critics speak of point of view. Social scientists are more likely to discuss perspective. But both of these terms refer to essentially the same construct: the consciousness behind the perception and narration of experience. Each individual’s point of view is unique, and point of view shapes the stories people tell to themselves and to others about themselves and their relationships with their environment. The same event narrated from two different perspectives will produce two different stories.

A change of perspective can expand our perception and reframe our thinking about our experiences. We can all benefit from an occasional change of perspective.

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Monday, September 15, 2008

Celebrity Worship: Good for Your Health?

Celebrity Worship: Good for Your Health? - TIME:

Using Palinmania as a hook, this article in Time reports on studies by Shira Gabriel, a psychologist at the University of Buffalo, that examine how celebrity worship may affect an admirer's self-esteem. Gabriel found that writing a five-minute essay about their favorite celebrity greatly increased the self-esteem of students who had initially scored low on a standard self-esteem test.

"Because people form bonds in their mind with their favorite celebrities, they are able to assimilate the celebrity's characteristics in themselves and feel better about themselves when they think about that celebrity," says Gabriel. "And that is something these individuals can't do in real relationships because of their fear of rejection keeps them from getting close to people."

But, Gabriel warns, although a little celebrity worship can be beneficial, a lot can become harmful, as cases of obsessed fans and stalkers prove. Admiration of celebrities can become addictive and can prevent people from forming satisfying relationships with real people. And extreme celebrity worship can result in drastically lowered self-esteen in admirers who realize that they can never actually enter the world of the one they admire. This realization often reinforces the admirer's own feelings of inadequacy and isolation.

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