Madonna can—and so can just about any rock star or pop icon or celebrity that you happen to really, really like. More so than a boyfriend. More than most boyfriends. It’s true. Get tickets to see her. Or anyone.
If you think that obsessing over celebrities is going to wreck your self esteem, new research finds the opposite may be true. Science Daily cites a study published in Personal Relationships that found that our connection to celebrities (called “parasocial relationships”) can boost our self esteem in ways that even our intimate relationships can’t do.
The results showed “that people with low self-esteem saw their favorite celebrities as very similar to their ideal selves…. people with low self-esteem primed with their favorite celebrity felt more similar to their ideal selves than low self-esteem people primed with a close relationship partner.” (source: sciencedaily.com)
Note, the research focused on those with low self esteem. I don’t define myself that way–but don’t we all have an inner, gnawing insecurity, and periods of low self esteem? I know I do.
I walked into Yankee Stadium last night feeling…down. In the span of a few days, I’d been dealt a handful of professional disappointments (potential clients that bailed, cancelations), and personal let-downs (dates that wouldn’t happen, men that wandered away)—not devastating, but taken together, they hinted at some kind of personal downturn. Suffice it to say I was having some self doubts, and wanted more than anything to just crawl back into bed.
UNTIL….until Madonna took the stage. From the moment you heard the opening strains of “Girl Gone Wild,” (which begins with Madonna chanting the Act of Contrition), I felt a surge of adrenaline, and a serious uptick in my mood and heart rate. It was as if I’d been given a mojo IV.
A few moments later, in “Gang Bang,” she waved a revolver at us and took out her attackers one after another, blowing their brains out. It was morbidly violent—and undeniably thrilling. Then, it was as if she sang right to me:
“If you’re gonna act like a bitch
Then you’re gonna die like a bitch.”
She’s right. In the span of two weeks, I’d crafted a story in which I was depressed, in which things weren’t working out—wouldn’t work out—and worse, I’d started to believe it. And with her fuck-that, I-don’t-give-a-shit way, Madonna shrugged off my mini mojo crisis—and helped me do the same.
Tony Robbins calls this a state change, and he spends his days-long seminars creating them. A state change is, simply, a dramatic shift in your mental and emotional state. And it’s what allows you to walk on hot coals (which I did this summer, without a mark). And while I expected it to happen at Tony Robbins, I was surprised to have it happen at a summer concert. Though we also experienced it more than a few times during the DNC this week. (Bill Clinton could be considered a walking, talking state change.)
Give yourself a state change by putting yourself in a pop-star infused glow. Here’s how:
- Go see someone, anyone, live. Doesn’t have to be the queen of pop. TV and movies cannot compete with the powerful shift that happens when you see a live performance—whether it’s a concert, theatrical performance, comedy show, a literary reading. Get in front of people doing amazing talented things and you’re not just observing; you’re participating and some of that creative juice and momentum rubs off on you if you let it.
- Obsess a little. Like I said, basking in the glow of a celeb can bring out some of the qualities in yourself that you want to experience more. I’m under no illusion that I am Madonna, but I tapped my inner icon that night and left there feeling like far more of a bad ass than when I walked in.
- Cue up the playlist. Music is one of the most immediate ways to change your state. You think I’m NOT going to blast Immaculate Collection today when I go for a run? Think again. Cue up your personal pop star playlist and head down the street–you will walk differently than you would without it. When you’re home, dance around your room like no one’s watching, like you did when you were 16. It’s impossible to dance full out and NOT have a serious state change. Dare you to try.
- Have sex. I don’t care if you don’t have a boyfriend (“Woe is me, no one to have sex with!”) Bullshit. If you have a partner, great—this makes it easy. But if you have a go-to hook-up or a friend with benefits who is safe for you physically and emotionally (maybe someone new you started seeing, where there’s no checkered past), go get yourself some, or start scheming to. If you’re a lady, this is going to be easier than you think. You already have what every man wants. So use it. If you’re a man and you’re struggling to get some, you may want to form a connection through live chats on sites like babestation.tv/girls/terrie-hawkes and speak to explicit porn models for real, in real time.
Just think: WWMD? (What Would Madonna Do?) She’d put on a vinyl body suit and a set of heeled power boots and strut around with a whip in her hand. Sex and sexuality, is the quintessential state-changer. Engage with and enjoy your sheer physicality and you do what you need most to change your state: Get out of your head.