Hey Papa Bear,
I been have something on my mind recently and just not really sure how to come out to say it, but here it is. One topic that came up recently by a friends and it’s about it being popular. I know it’s very shallow sounding, but honestly, when they brought it up, we talked, and I came to the realization that I want to become popular within the Fandom or be in the spotlight per se. But is it wrong of me to have that type of mentality? Or say I let it get to me and it agitates me? How do I go about it?
And one thing, thanks for all your help previously, Papabear. You’re awesome and appreciate that you do this for me and everyone else. Thanks.
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Thanks for your kind words. I appreciate them :-3
Let me begin my reply by telling you a story. When Papabear was a cub, he always looked forward to going to bed because that time before I drifted off to sleep would be my time of fantasy. I would imagine myself to be a mighty dragon, or sometimes a wolf, or a bear, or a flying magical buck. In one of these forms, I would interact with characters from my favorite books and movies, such as The Hobbit, The Jungle Book, The Chronicles of Narnia, Bambi, or Mary Poppins(my favorite scene is still when they are in the cartoon world created by Bert with his chalk drawings). In all of them, I was the center of attention in some way—admired by the other characters for my strength or beauty or kindness. I loved these worlds so much that I came to really dislike reality and withdrew into myself more and more. I became so fearful of the world that it led to a very bad period of my life that I didn’t crawl out of until my twenties. Kind of like an addiction, really, that craving for a fantasy world where I am more than I am. It reminds me of a little riddle: Where are all men great? Answer: in their own minds.
It isn’t wrong to want to be wanted, to be admired, to be cherished and loved. It is a very natural impulse we have from childhood. But to want to be famous and popular for the sake of fame and popularity is unhealthy and, as you yourself say, shallow. Here’s a fun video about that:
That is, really, the definition of the popufur, isn’t it? Someone who preens and struts and shows off for the sake of being admired.
American culture is rife with this mental illness, this desire for fame, especially when it comes to things like being on television. “Look at me! Look at me! I’m on TV! Validate me! I’m somebody!” So a camera got stuck up your muzzle, big whoop. Yet Americans ogle and fawn over television personalities as if they were gods and goddesses while people of true substance and accomplishment are too often ignored. The result is things like reality TV shows and Honey Boo Boo, things with absolutely no redeeming qualities whatsoever. Indeed, American society has become very shallow, especially over the last couple of decades, but you might chalk that opinion up to the words of a bear who is a bit of a curmudgeon at times.
The problem is you’re putting the cart before the horse. What you are desiring are the things that result from true accomplishment, not the accomplishments themselves. What you should be trying to do with your life is something useful and productive, something that benefits your family, friends, society and the planet in some way. You should do this unselfishly, not for the craving to be admired and respected. And, as this little video shows, giving can feel great!
Personal satisfaction in life comes from accomplishing things for the greater good, not in receiving undeserved attention. A little example is this letter right here. I tried to do something good for furries, and you responded with a very nice compliment. Thank you. It feels especially good because the compliment came because I did something for somebody else, not for myself.
Feel great about yourself by what you do for others and for the world, then you won’t worry about being popular at all because you’ll have something much better: the satisfaction of being a good person.
A note on comments: Comments on letters to Papabear are welcome, especially those that offer extra helpful advice and add something to the conversation that is of use to the letter writer and those reading this column. Also welcome are constructive criticisms and opposing views. What is NOT welcome are hateful, hurtful comments, flaming, and trolling. Such comments will be deleted from this site. Thank you.