Living Vicariously Through – Vanna?

Meghan Markle, Meghan Kelly, and Meghan Trainor have all been in our news drama over recent weeks.  All for very different reasons mind you, nevertheless they are well known and have been in the news for one reason or another. What do these women have in common?  Each one has some degree of celebrity. Therefore, people see glamour in their lives and want to be them or be like them.  But would those same people want to live vicariously through me?  I don’t think so because to them I am considered a “nobody” right.

  • What is vicarious living?
  • Why does one choose to live a secondhand life?
  • What is the risk of living through the accomplishments of others?
  • How to stop living your life through other people’s accomplishments

What is vicarious living?

First let’s just be clear on the meaning of vicarious living.  “Living vicariously” is very common and sometimes healthy to a degree. It refers to living life through someone else’s experiences rather than being a part of the events ourselves. It requires engrossing ones self in another person’s world and mentally and emotionally feeling like their accomplishments and failures are your own.

Therefore, you get to have experiences you otherwise would not have for whatever the reason. Sometimes parents try to live through their children things they can’t or didn’t have a chance to do. Supporting and encouraging others is expected, but you must strive from within to do your own thing separate from that.

Why does one choose to live a secondhand life?

Think about your favorite professional sports team as an example.  When your team win, your chest is way out proclaiming the victory, celebrating and using the word “we” as if you are a part of the team.  It can give you the feeling of success to say “we” won without ever having to make an effort or do the work.

Most of us have probably secretly wondered what it would be like living someone else’s life. Parents sometime push their children too hard to be something they wanted to be or do and couldn’t.  Since they failed or didn’t get a chance at it, they try to find satisfaction through the children’s success.

Living through other’s experiences explains why some people plan their lives around the television soap operas. The soaps continue to be popular generation after generation because they are a source of escape. The writers understand their audience and give them the glamour and the emotional stimulation they crave.

Watching soaps hour after hour takes the audience away from their own humdrum and sometimes depressing lives. These shows make everything look glamorous even when a crime is committed and someone goes to jail.  Watch this short video about living vicariously through your children.

We do the same with movie stars and movies, attaching ourselves to the characters as if they are real instead of actors. We follow every detail of their lives in the news, on social media, and on television talk shows.

Many people attach themselves emotionally and even try to look like the person they idolize physically by having cosmetic surgery. They invest their time and money forming fan clubs, buying memorabilia, and almost die when one of their idols pass away.


What is the risk of living through the accomplishments of others?

Life passes you by.  Season after season, year after year you watch life from the couch or the sideline.  One day you realize you have no accomplishments of your own or your own merit to talk about.  You can only talk and brag about others.  You haven’t put your own gifts and talents to any good use for mankind and not even yourself. You might suddenly become disabled and feel regrets and hear yourself “saying shoulda, woulda, coulda and now it’s too late”.

Sadly you can hardly recognize who or what you are and don’t even like yourself very much.  You get a phone call from an old friend who asks what’s new, what’s going on, how is everyone?  You talk on and on about your family and what each one is doing and other friends and their families and what they’re doing. The friend on the other end of the line says, all of that is great, I’m glad everyone is doing so well but what about you?  You haven’t told me anything about yourself.

Now you realize you don’t have anything to say about your own life that you’re proud of.  You can’t think of anything exciting or noteworthy to tell your friend about you.  You can barely remember what your dreams and ambitions were when the two of you were in college together. You’ve just been living through the achievements of others and talking about it with pride as if it was you.

There is nothing wrong with being happy for others it’s normal and healthy in more ways than one.  But it just shouldn’t be your only way to experience joy and satisfaction.  Each person need to have their own personal goals and pursuits even if you fail to reach them. At least know you gave it your best shot.


How to stop living your life through other people’s accomplishments

  1. Cut back on your television and social media consumption where you idolize celebrities.
  2. Stop making excuses for yourself – cut all umbilical cords.
  3. Go within, spend time with yourself learning who you really are.
  4. Deliberately do the work, learn to love yourself and go for what you want
    My article “How To Be Successful In Life – Free training and instruction” will give you some ideas.

Cut back on television A change will require work, it generally will not happen by Osmosis or wishful thinking.  Start with reducing the time you watch television and hang out on social media.  Don’t have a panic attack, you don’t need to go cold turkey unless you choose to; with courage change is possible.

Be sure to schedule something constructive and interesting in that time slot. Find out what is going on socially where you live to see, to talk to, and to interact with real people face to face. See what’s going on in other people’s lives to give you some ideas about what’s available locally to you.

Read the biography of one or more of the people you idolize. Ask yourself if you would be proud to introduce yourself to that person as a couch potato living vicariously through them.  Their story might inspire you to improve yourself. You’ll be surprised what is going on around you while you have decided to be a bench warmer.

Stop making excuses

When you make excuses you are not accepting responsibility but hiding and shifting the blame somewhere else.  At one time or another everybody makes mistakes then make excuses for the mistakes.  Some of us start making excuses as a child and it never got corrected.  It might have seemed harmless at the time, but making excuses early in life often leads to bigger habits and blame later.

It is your choices, your actions and your behaviors that creates the life you will have. If you make a mistake own up to it instead of blaming other people. You can’t learn from your mistakes if you won’t acknowledge you’ve made them. If you don’t learn from your mistakes, most of the time you will surely repeat them. When you do accept responsibility you’re likely to make better decisions in the future.

Go within yourself – Are you so boring you don’t want to spend time with yourself.  Do you need to have entertainment and distractions all the time? Are you trying to avoid a little work and effort to develop your innate talents and gifts?  You do have them you know, everyone does, we’re born with them.

Try taking a nice long walk in the park without listening to your favorite music or sports event through your headset or earplugs.  Just use the time to think, ask yourself questions and try to answer them. Sit on a bench for awhile. Think back to your childhood to see what you fantasized about and said you would do or be when you grew up. Try to figure out when and why things changes.

Turn off the television an hour or two earlier and get out your high school year books. Reminisce and recapture your enthusiasm at that time and give yourself permission to start over.  Of course you can’t wipe out your life to this point but you can improve some things going forward. Go ahead, give it a try, always remembering the passion and eagerness you had for life then.

Deliberately do the work – Now I will assume you have a little more wisdom than you had in high school. Maybe you’ve learned that it takes courage to get through the ups and downs of everyday life.

Just like you push yourself to get out to work every day, now make a vow to improve yourself, increase your own self esteem and be someone you can be proud of.  Create your own story instead of living through other people. Set aside the time, set the alarm, turn off the television, put down the phone, there’s work to be done.

People have a built in resistance to change, to step out of our comfort zone.  However, if you want different results, you have to do something different.  Make the first step, and then another and another.  Before you know it, what is new and uncomfortable to you now will become your comfort zone.

In conclusion – Don’t come to your golden years and have to look back over your life with regrets.  Look in the mirror multiple times each day and tell yourself,  “I am somebody” and I am becoming better.  My life will no longer be just a shadow behind someone else.  I will live my life to be all I can be.  I promise myself and my creator!

I hope this post has been helpful. Please feel free to share it and leave comments and questions. It’s always appreciated.


Until next time, please remember to encourage someone!

Vanna Pearl



39 thoughts on “Living Vicariously Through – Vanna?

    1. Hi Altered Soul,
      Thank you for your comments. I sincerely hope this article will help in some way to help you get on track. Just remember, it’s all within you. I welcome your private message and any further comments or questions.

      I wish you all the best,
      Vanna Pearl

  1. This is a nice article. It’s true that it’s all too easy to live through others and forget to live for ourselves. The TV is so much more interesting than our own lives we think sometimes. While that’s what we think, I believe it’s more accurate to say the TV doesn’t challenge us. If we want an interesting life, then we have to face challenges.

    1. Hi Nicole,

      Thanks so much for your comments. The sad thing is that the celebrities many envy have worst private lives than our own.
      We only see the glamour in front of the camera, we don’t see the pain behind the scene.

      I would suggest reading some of the biographies of movie stars and athletes to get an understanding of their whole life. They don’t get to be celebrities by osmosis. It comes by pain and hard work. See what they experience when they leave the bright lights of the stage and the cheering fans.

      Thanks again Nicole, hope we chat again.
      Please remember to encourage someone else today!

      Vanna Pearl

  2. I never heard of the term vicarious living. That is such an interesting perspective and you know what – you’re right. So many people do this. Most commonly with sports teams. Now I’m going to be looking for this when I go through life. Thanks for the awesome read.

    1. Hey there Dave,

      Thanks for taking the time to read my post, I’m so glad you found some benefit in it. Now that you are aware, I think you’ll find it amusing to watch how ubiquitous and universal vicarious living is through sports teams.

      Again I appreciate your comments and hope you’re having a great day Dave.

      Please remember to encourage someone else today!
      Vanna Pearl

  3. I’ve never seen the point of vicarious living. We only get one life, so why not make the most of it and live life first-hand, not second-hand. Yes. many people are dealt a bad hand at the start of life while others throw away a good hand (anyone ruled by an addiction for example). We all face challenges in our lives, even the rich and famous that some envy. And none of us get out alive. Parents should not try to live vicariously through their children. It’s robbing the children of their own lives and life choices. And it puts unnecessary pressure on them.

    Social media has made vicarious living more popular and more accessible. We can now experience what it’s like to take part in extreme sports or other dangerous activities like hanging from tall buildings while taking selfies. All because the thrill-seekers film their activities on HD cameras.

    If your life is so mundane that you need to live life through another’s experiences, you need to make a change in your life. That might mean going outside your comfort zone. That is a self-limiting barrier which, unfortunately, many people find difficult if not impossible to cross.

    1. Hi Gary,

      You’ve made a lot of excellent points. One dangerous part of what everyone, including children, is able to see on social media and electronic games is they think it’s all fun and games. They don’t experience discomfort or danger. Therefore children are liable to perform a criminal act as if it’s a game.

      I know it is hard for many people to break out of their comfort zone. But the fact is, nothing will happen until that person make the decision and take the first step. Unfortunately they haven’t realized yet how awesome each one of us were created to be.

      Like I said in another post, our brain is the most powerful computer and database in the world. Our eyes take in 72 gigabytes of information every single second they are open. We have been given dominion over every living thing on this earth. How dare we waste our lives…

      Thank you for your comments and insight Gary.

      All the very best to you and please remember to encourage someone today!

      Vanna Pearl

  4. These were some splendid ideas. I especially liked the one about cutting all umbilical cords. We all need to burn our boats and move forward in our lives. That is how we achieve greatness. Cut the all addictions like social media and endless scrolling at the knees and you open up opportunity.

    I think for your recommendation, “go within yourself,” I have something I would add. I recommend journaling. You ‘vomit’ all of your thoughts onto a paper and can reflect with an objective eye later. It is more difficult to reflect on your thoughts when you are trying to meditate. I hope this helps someone.

    Thank you for sharing and I hope you make it a great day!

    1. Hello Alex,

      I appreciate you taking the time to read this post and leave your comments. Thank you for your recommendation and thoughts on journaling. I agree, that could help with one’s catharsis. Some people actually write letters but stop shot of mailing them. I cringe at some of the things I wrote, many many many years ago.(:

      Not to worry, someone is always helped whenever you put positive thoughts and energy into the universe.

      Thank you again, have an outstanding day and please don’t forget to encourage someone else along the way!
      Vanna Pearl

  5. I wanted my son to do whatever he thinks is right as I do not have the luxurious to do so. For example, I never believe that getting an academic degree is important. But I have to continuously forcing myself study up to a doctorate level in order to provide better living for my family. So now I want my son to live the life that he wants without worrying too much about academic qualification. Does this mean, I am also living a secondary life?

  6. Hummmm,  second hand living.  for me I don’t like it.  the reason is you don’t have the experiences you are engrossing yourself in. I live having life experienced and that will eqio you for helping others rather than being in the shadows. 

    I think a good solution is to position oneself such that you allow life to happen to you rather than watching from the sideline. 

    1. Hi Olonisakin,

      Thank you for your brief remarks. Sounds like you have it figured out and have a good outlook on life. 

      I applaud you and wish you continued happiness.


      V. Pearl

  7. This is such an interesting topic. It’s one that, admittedly, I haven’t really given much thought until reading your article. I can relate to tying your emotions to your favorite sports team, and that’s something I’ve worked hard to detach myself from for years now. It’s easier to watch sports just as a casual fan and observer now that I’m less attached to the outcome. I’m with you that living vicariously is dangerous because it allows us to ignore what is happening in our own lives, ignore our emotions, and ultimately waste valuable time that could be used creating a life that we want to live, rather than trying to siphon happiness from someone else. I think this is a great topic and I love the tips you offer to stop living through others’ accomplishments. Thank you! 

    1. Hello Tucker,

      I appreciate your contribution to this topic. We are all guilty of being fans of something or someone.  Where we need to draw the line is when we hear ourselves saying “we and our” instead of “they and their”. 

      We give the entertainment industry our money to push shows like Keeping Up With The Kardashians, Real Housewives of (wherever), and the Bachelor to name a few.  I guess they’re still on. But I’m told they give us what we want for their ratings.  Also the newspaper sell more newspapers when there is drama to report.  

      Sometimes fights break out and people get hurt at stadiums and sports bars. But the losing team still made their money and went home to prepare for the next game or event.

      All the best to you Tucker.


      Vanna Pearl

  8. I love this post and it is something that is so very important with what’s going on in our society right now.  There are so many people who live vicariously through celebrities, insta-celebs etc, and all through social media because we can literally follow their daily lives.  I amount of time I see people spending on social media sites, just watching their friends and family or others and then criticizing their lives, is just disturbing.  Everyone wants the world to see how glamourous and glorious their lives are, when really, they’re all just human and have normal boring lives like everyone else.  

    I think people really need to come out of the clouds and have human to human contact more and work on yourself rather than making your life appear to be something that it’s not just to try to impress people who don’t care!

    1. Hey Nicki,  

      I appreciate your comments on the subject of living vicariously through others.  To your point about everybody being human, they would rather die than to have you see them when they get up in the morning.  And aside from that, they have so much pain in their lives behind the scenes  

      And for the athletes, you should see the pain and agony they go through in the locker rooms and in rehab after a severe  injury.  So applaud them but live your own life.

      I say again, turn off the television, stop trying to keep up with the Kardashians and get a life. 

      Hope you’re having an outstanding day.


      Vanna Pearl

  9. Vanna, nice site.  How many of us live vicariously without even knowing it?  I like the way you have things laid out.  The only suggestion I have is to open your links on another page so the viewer doesn’t lose their place on your site.  Good luck on your endeavors.

    1. Carol thank you for taking the time to comment on this post.  Your tip is appreciated and I will look into it.

      Hope you’re having a great day.


      V.  Pearl

  10. Great Post! That sure is a lot about girls named Meghan! This is very interesting to me because for the longest time I had no clue what vicarious meant. I could have looked it up but for some reason I didn’t. I think vicarious living can actually prevent you from experiencing the negatives that your subject is going through.

    The same way you feel the victories and celebrate them you learn from the mistakes and heartbreaks without having to go through them yourself. 

    PS: Nobodies don’t write such cool blog posts just FYI 🙂

    1. Hi there Renton,

      Thanks for your comments on vicarious living.

      We don’t know what the real life is of another person.  We stand on the outside and see the illusion they show on stage and in the spotlight.  Many fans are broken hearted when they learn that people are basically the same. 

      However, through preparation they have become who and what they are in the public eye.  At the end of the day they go home with the spoils, money and celebrity.  The fans have received entertainment.  The end. 

  11. What a well thought out post!

    I guess I’m somewhat lucky in as much as I don’t become infatuated with celebrities (that’s not to say I didn’t have a crush or two when I was younger).  I’d think things like “It must be nice” or “I wish I could do that” but that’s about the limit of my involvement.

    I completely agree that people try to live through the accomplishments of others, especially parents who push/encourage their kids to succeed at something they didn’t when they were young, etc.  Some of it is simply out of love and support but some is also an almost unconscious drive to finally succeed or do what they didn’t before, even though it’s not really them doing it.

    When it comes to talking about how things are with friends, I don’t talk about what others, like my family, have done but at the same time my response for myself is “nothing”.  I think that’s a bit of me thinking what I’ve done recently isn’t all that and maybe just a little self-worth or lack of enthusiasm mixed in.

    I totally see me making excuses when I don’t want to do something and I haven’t “gone with myself” just to go.  These are things I’ll definitely look into.

    Thanks for the great post!

    1. Hey there Scott,

      I appreciate you taking the time to comment on vicarious living.  

      Sounds like you’re living a pretty well rounded life.  

      It’s definitely normal for parents to want our children to be successful in life.  We are responsible for raising them to responsible adulthood. Period.  It’s understandable we don’t want them to make the mistakes we made. However they will make mistakes, whether they are the same ones of not, that’s life.  

      Let them know that one day they will be expected to leave the nest and fly without you.  We should not cling to our children for our own happiness.  You know you have a problem when you dream about becoming  your child’s manager or president of their fan club.  

      My position in all of this is to be the best that I want to be.  If I find joy in knowing hundreds of species of birds, studying the sounds they make and going bird watching every chance I get, I should do that.  Why, because that is me not trying to live through you.

      Thanks again for taking part in this discussion Scott.  All the best.


      Vanna Pearl

  12. I think it’s not only celebrities that people are following. I believe children tend to follow their parents more when they see Mom and Dad are good people and successful in life though they have ups and downs. It’s not a bad thing though but can be disastrous too. Each person is unique and what you’re sharing here is right. No one should be a shadow of someone but be yourself.

    Nice article, very encouraging. BTW, I like the cut back on television part.

    1. Hi Eli,

      You are right, children tend to do what they see.  

      The problem is when parents push their children too hard to be something that goes totally against what the child’s personality is.  Anyone who has more than one child will soon recognize their differences.  They are born of the same parents and raised in the same home and environment but like different things.

      So the key is to help them develop their own personality and character.  It is wrong and abusive, in my opinion, to say to a child, you should be more like your brother or sister. 

      Thanks again Eli, hope you’re having a good day.


      Vanna Pearl

  13. Living vicariously through someone else happens more than people would like to admit. A lot of people want to be like someone else because they want what they have. It could be popularity, money, success or whatever it is. 

    I agree with all of your suggestions definitely cut back on tv and social media and I like when you say deliberately do the work. I think everyone should always try and be a better person that goes for mind, body, and soul. 

    What are some things people can do to improve themselves?

    1. Hello Travis,

      I was glad to read your comments.  I can’t image wanting to be like the Kardashians.  But there are people who wouldn’t miss the show if they can help it.  That is a dysfunctional family, we can find that at home.

      Each person have to find what works for them.  Put yourself in environments where people are doing positive things. We have to think things through and develop what is within us.  

      Every single person have gifts and talents and things they can do.  If you don’t know what you’re good at, ask the people around you.  Ask your family and friends and co-workers, what do you think I’m good at.  What do they always come to you for and ask you to help with.  Keep trying and eventually you will succeed.

      Thanks again for your comments and have an outstanding day.

      Please remember to encourage someone else today! 

      Vanna Pearl

  14. Hi Vanna!

    We do see people living vicariously through other people way too often. It can end up being a source of depression; feeling like you don’t know yourself and have accomplished nothing. I have done this myself. I have searched through social media and found my friends getting married or having kids. I felt discouraged, wondering why it couldn’t be me instead of being happy for them. I still find myself feeling that way, but a little bit less.

    I agree with the tip of lessening our time on social media. It is how I was able to go from constantly being down about myself to feeling a bit more happier. I am not constantly thinking “why can’t that be me?” I actually was able to find something I enjoy, which is taking apart computers and putting them back together. When those computers are back together, I have so much satisfaction!

    It is really important to take that time with yourself. We all change. Some things we enjoyed before may not be what we enjoy now. We end up having new passions. We can only find those passions through taking time for ourselves.

    Thank you for this informative article!


    1. Hello Mandy,

      I appreciate you taking the time to respond to this article.  I’m glad it helped you in some small way. 

      Television these days is the worst for the most part. There is very little quality and a ton of commercials.  Just imagine a life that revolves around the characters in soaps and Living With the Kardashians.  I’d rather go for a walk in the park or to the gym, or a day trip to another town or something.

      Doing things with yourself doesn’t necessarily mean being lonely.  Take the time to enjoy your freedom and know who you are and what you like.

      Thanks again and have a good day Mandy


      Vanna Pearl

  15. A very powerful statement you have provided and, reading it all through has triggered some spots in my own life to reflect upon.

    As a teenager you like to do these things as a part of some sort of “initiation” being a part of the crowed, following the crowed.

    However, this behavior, at one point, should subside when one has become a fully grown up and does live its own life by its own rules.

    Nevertheless, due to your article it has became clear to me that it isn’t as cotton dry as I thought.

    Personally, I am a “nurturer” and the well-being of my family is number one but, at the same time, it does take away from me and the things I love to do and which defines me who I really am, besides, being the nurturer.

    Again, your article is very powerful and it triggers a lot of points. I am sure I am not the only one who will reflect on its life after reading it.

    1. Hello Sylvia,

      Thank you for reading this article.  I’m glad you saw that part of it where we unintentionally get lost in what we do for others.  I was faced with the same thing about 15 years ago.  

      I was at a women’s retreat. In one of the sessions each woman was asked to define herself.  I’ve always been a nurturer life you.  I was asked face to face by the moderator, Vanna who are you?  The first statement that came out of my mouth was that “I am a wife and mother”. 

      We know there is nothing wrong with that but there should be more.   It took a few months of  intense introspection before I could honestly answer that question to myself.  I couldn’t fool myself.

      Thanks again and have a wonderful day.

      Please remember to encourage someone today!

      Vanna Pearl

  16. I can certainly resonate with your post, I’m a UEFA football coach (soccer) and taught kids from 7 years and upwards. The kids were brilliant they did everything you asked of them and did their best, it was the parents who were a pain in the butt. Shouting at the kids from the touchline to do better and yelling obscenities to the opposing team’s parents, all living their lives through their children.

    I’m sure it’s a mindset that holds people back, they fail once and give up, my philosophy in life is there’s no such thing as a defeat, only a delayed victory. I’m convinced that keeping your mind active instead of being a couch potato keeps you feeling younger and less chance of going senile in old age although my wife may disagree with me on that one.Great post Vanna, glad I stumbled across your website.

    1. Hello David, 

      Thank you for your insight and comments.  I’m happy to receive feedback from someone like yourself with first hand knowledge and experience on the subject.  And even more specific, of living vicariously through athletes. 

      Life is not winning all the time.  Losing and all that goes with it builds character.  How will you know and experience the full joy of winning if you don’t know how it feels to lose.  Life is a challenge, ups and downs, but it’s wonderful. 

      I don’t know what each day will bring but I choose to live it for myself. 

      All the best to you and yours.

      Please remember to encourage someone today! 

  17. Hi Vanna,

    Thanks for writing this article. It’s interesting that you wrote about this phenomenon. For myself, I have “woke-up” quite a few times in my life and have deliberately “done-the-work” to improve my situation from some serious ups and downs, and never ending soul searching. Yet, I have consistently left my true passions behind and grabbed on to that “shiny new thing” syndrome. In retrospect, I have been a victim of vicarious living to some extent although I see myself as a serial entrepreneur. Anyway, your advice is very simple, yet effective. Whenever, I chose to change my situation (i.e., and “we” or ourselves are the ones who choose to change) I did these “bootstrap” changes. Yes, turn off that TV … there is so much more to gain out there by personal experience. You will become more interesting and engaging by experience. Even when I faced personal problems head on, I always found that replacing a negative with a positive gave me personal satisfaction and gratification. Thank you for writing this. It’s what I needed to read today as I begin my next adventure!

    1. Hi there Jim,

      I am so happy to hear you found this post helpful. I wrote most of it from experience being an introvert and keeping to myself. We all experience adversity and ups and downs but that’s life. We fall down or sometimes get knocked down, but the important thing is to get back up.

      I’ve always had an entrepreneurial spirit. Some things I tried failed but somewhere along the way I’d try something else. I’ve had my pity parties and ate more ice cream than I care to remember but I never gave up on myself. It’s good to look at other people doing things and say, if they can do it so can I.

      Thanks again for your comments, hope you’re having a good day.

      V Pearl

  18. Great post and good info.

    You are totally right about it, most people nowadays live the life of another one, and think they are that person.

    This is sad, but I also blame it on the Social media, they want to live it.

    Your post is inspiring, so I will share it, and I think it can help people.

    1. Hello Emmanuel,

      Thank you for your comments.  I’m glad you found the information useful and worth sharing.

      I wish you all the best.

      V. Pearl

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