11 Ways Of Living Vicariously Through Someone & How To Stop (2022)

We’ve all been there!

At some point in our lives, we’ve found ourselves so intrigued and excited by someone else’s life.

However, on most occasions, living life through someone else’s experience results in unhappiness and stress in your life.

Hence the need to stop living vicariously.

This article will help you do this. This article will explore what living vicariously through someone means, 11 ways people live vicariously through others, and how to stop living vicariously through others.

Here’s what you’ll learn:

Let’s get right into it.

What is Living Vicariously?

Living vicariously refers to living life through someone else’s experiences and not on your own.

Vicarious living allows you to experience someone else’s achievements without risking failure.

It allows you to feel the joy and happiness of another person’s success while living in your comfort zone.

However, living vicariously comes with a lot of baggage.

When you live vicariously, you live someone else’s life and not your own. As a result, you live a life that’s not authentic and don’t live up to your potential.

In addition, living vicariously can be stressful and lead to anxiety and depression.

But why do people live vicariously?

Why Would Someone Want to Live Vicariously Through Others?

One of the main reasons people choose to live vicariously through others is to avoid taking risks.

When you live vicariously, you experience the joy and happiness of another person’s success while living in your comfort zone. This is because you are not putting yourself at risk of failure.

In addition, living vicariously can be a way of escapism. When you live vicariously, you live in a world that is not real. As a result, you can avoid the pain and hurt that comes with taking risks.

Someone may also choose to live vicariously through others due to low self-esteem. Rather than creating their own identity, they choose to live off the success of others.

This is because they feel that they are not good enough and can never achieve the same level of success as the person they live vicariously through.

Now that you know why people live vicariously, let’s get into the ways you may be living vicariously through other people.

Living Vicariously through others

11 Ways of Living Vicariously Through Someone

#1. Parents Live Vicariously Through Your Children

One of the most common ways people live vicariously through other people is through their children.

Most parents often put their hopes and dreams into their children. They want their children to achieve what they could not achieve in their own lives.

As a result, parents put a lot of pressure on their children to achieve said dreams. Due to this pressure, children may feel like they must live up to their parents’ expectations and may not be able to be themselves.

Living vicariously through children also results in disappointments on the parents’ sides when their children do not live up to their expectations.

In addition, living vicariously through your children can take away from the joy of watching them grow and develop into their person.

It is important to remember that your children are their own people with their own dreams and aspirations.

Allow them to grow and develop into the people they are meant to be without living vicariously through them.

#2. Through Social Media

I’m also guilty of this.

As someone who loves to travel, I’ve followed other travelers’ lifestyles on social media and lived vicariously through them.

While I always get a vicarious thrill from watching their adventures, I also feel jealous of their lifestyles and wonder why I can’t have what they have.

However, it is essential to remember that social media is a highlight reel. We only see the best moments of someone’s life on social media. We don’t see the behind-the-scenes or the struggles that they go through.

Living vicariously through social media can result in feelings of envy, jealousy, and inadequacy.

It is important to remember that social media is not an accurate portrayal of someone’s life and focus on your own life instead of living vicariously through someone else’s.

#3. Through Celebrities

Another way that people live vicariously through other people is through celebrities.

We often see celebrities’ glamorous lifestyles and want to have what they have.

However, it is essential to remember that celebrities live in a completely different world than us. They have a lot of money and resources that we don’t have access to.

Living vicariously through celebrities can result in feelings of inadequacy and insecurity.

This is why it’s important to remember that celebrities do not live in the same reality as us and focus on our own lives.

Rather than spending your time trying to live life through someone else’s experience, focus on your own life and what you have instead of living vicariously through someone else.

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#4. Through Friends

On one of my most recent vacation trips, a friend asked me to take many photos so that he could live vicariously through me.

I didn’t think much of it at the time, but now I realize that living vicariously through friends is a thing.

Friends may live vicariously through each other because they cannot do certain things themselves. For example, someone afraid of flying may live vicariously through a friend who loves to travel.

Or, someone who doesn’t have the means to travel may live vicariously through a friend who does.

While vicarious enjoyment through friends is not as harmful as living vicariously through other people. However, it can still result in feelings of envy and jealousy.

It is essential to be mindful of how you live your life and focus on your own experiences rather than living vicariously through someone else’s.

#5. Through Strangers

We’ve all been there. You’re scrolling through your social media feed and see a stranger living their best life. They’re traveling to exotic places, eating at the best restaurants, and living a life that you can only dream of.

It’s easy to get caught up in living vicariously through strangers. However, living vicariously through strangers can result in feelings of jealousy and inadequacy

To avoid such feelings, it is important to remember that you don’t know the whole story. You only see what that person wants you to see.

Focus on living your own life and being grateful for what you have instead of living vicariously through someone else.

#6. Through Fictional Characters

We’ve all been there. You watch a movie and become completely engrossed in the characters’ lives.

You find yourself wanting to be like them or have what they have.

However, it is essential to remember that these characters are not real. They are living in a fictional world with fictional problems.

Living vicariously through fictional characters can result in feelings of dissatisfaction with your own life.

To avoid such feelings, it is essential to remember that the characters you’re watching are not real and focus on your own life instead of living vicariously through someone else.

Vicarious living
Photo by Craig Adderley

#7. Through Video Games

Video games are another way that people live vicariously through other people.

When you’re playing a game, you get to be the character and experience what they’re experiencing.

However, it is essential to remember that you are not living those experiences. You are living in a virtual world with virtual problems.

In the real world, fighting people in the streets, driving at extremely high speeds, and other forms of violence are illegal.

Living vicariously through video games can result in a disconnect from reality.

It is essential to be aware of how you’re living your life and to focus on your own experiences rather than living vicariously through a virtual character’s experience.

#8. Through Books

It’s also possible to live vicariously through books, especially romantic books.

When you read a book, you get to experience the characters’ lives.

You may want to be like them or have what they have. In some instances, you may wish your relationship was like the books. This is referred to as vicarious love.

Vicarious love can result in feelings of dissatisfaction with your relationship.

To avoid such feelings, it is important to remember that the book is not real and focus on your relationship instead of living vicariously through a fictional one.

Related: 21 Best Books On Self-Discipline & Self Control

#9. Through TV Shows

TV shows are another way that people can live vicariously through other people.

When you watch a TV show, you get to see the characters’ lives and may want to be like them or have what they have.

Living vicariously through TV shows can result in feelings of dissatisfaction with your own life.

To avoid such feelings, it is important to remember that the TV show is not real and focus on your own life instead of living vicariously through someone else’s.

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#10. Through Ideas

Do you have a vision board where you save ideas for future projects? Do you have a folder where you screenshot great ideas you’d want to implement in the future?

You may find yourself living vicariously through these ideas instead of implementing them in your own life.

While it’s great to have ideas, it’s even better to act on them.

Living vicariously through ideas can result in feelings of dissatisfaction with your own life because you’re not acting on them.

To avoid such feelings, it is important to remember that the ideas are not real and to focus on taking action on them instead of living vicariously through them.

#11. Through Yourself

It’s also possible to live vicariously through yourself.

You may find yourself living in the past or the future instead of living in the present.

When you live in the past, you may wish you could relive specific experiences or moments. When you live in the future, you may want to experience certain things that haven’t happened yet.

Living vicariously through yourself can result in feelings of dissatisfaction with your present life.

It is important to remember that living in the past or the future is not living. The only way to truly live is by living in the present.

Living vicariously through yourself could also mean doing things by yourself. Rather than watching other people’s lives, act and live your own.

Live vicariously by yourself
Photo by Pixabay:

Now that you know the various ways of living vicariously through someone, let’s look into how to stop.

How to Stop Living Vicariously Through Others

Identify Triggers That Drive you to Live Vicariously

Do you consistently scroll through social media looking for a certain person’s updates?

Is there a friend you’re always looking forward to meet so that you can hear about their fantastic lifestyle?

Is there a TV show or book that you always go back to because the characters’ lives intrigue you?

This could be what triggers you to live vicariously.

This is why the first step to stop living vicariously is to identify what or who triggers the desire to live vicariously and try to limit your exposure to them.

If it’s social media, try to take a break from it or limit the amount of time you spend on it. If it’s a friend, try to set boundaries and limits on how much you talk about their life. If it’s a TV show or book, try to limit your time consuming them.

Related: 33 Ways To Be Intentional Every Day

Avoid Comparing Yourself to Others

One of the main reasons people live vicariously through others is to compare themselves to others.

They see what other people have and they want it for themselves.

Comparing yourself to others will only result in feelings of dissatisfaction with your own life.

Instead of comparing yourself to others, focus on being the best version of yourself.

Get Inspired

Rather than comparing yourself to others, use what you admire about someone’s life to inspire you to take action.

If it’s places that they’ve visited, take photos, and create a vision board. If it’s an entrepreneur friend you admire, start reading books on entrepreneurship.

By getting inspired, you’re acting on what you want rather than living vicariously through someone else.

Stop Wishing and Start Doing

If you always wish you could have what someone else has or experience what they’re experiencing, stop wishing and start doing.

Instead of sitting around and wishing you could have certain experiences, act, and make it happen for yourself.

If it’s traveling, don’t wait until you can afford an expensive trip. You can take a cheap out-of-town trip to get you started.

If it’s starting your own business, don’t wait until you have the perfect idea. You can start working on a side hustle to get you started.

Stop living vicariously through others and start living your own life.

Living Vicariously through someone else
Photo by Oleksandr Pidvalnyi:

Celebrate Your Accomplishments

One of the best ways to stop living vicariously through others is to celebrate your accomplishments.

Every time you accomplish something, big or small, take the time to celebrate it.

This will help you feel good about yourself and your life. It will also remind you that you’re capable of accomplishing great things.

Imagine Your Eulogy

This is a very powerful exercise that will help you stop living vicariously through others.

Imagine that you’re at your funeral and people are giving eulogies about you.

What would they say? Would they talk about all the things you’ve accomplished?

Or would they talk about all the things you wanted to do but never did?

This exercise will help you realize that it’s more important to focus on your own life rather than living vicariously through someone else.

Seek Professional Help

If you find that you can’t stop living vicariously through others on your own, then seek professional help.

A therapist or coach can help you understand why you’re living vicariously and how to stop.

They can also help you develop healthy coping mechanisms to deal with the triggers that cause you to live vicariously. A coach could also go further and help you create a plan to start living your life and not that of others.

Related: 9 Keys To Living Life With Intention

It’s Time to Stop Living Through Others And Start Living Your Life

There you go.

Eleven ways of living vicariously through someone else and how you can stop.

How have you found yourself living vicariously through other people? Do you know of other ways people may live vicariously through other people? Please tell us in the comments below.

If you know of any other ways to stop living vicariously through others, please share them in the comment section below.

And if you have any questions regarding vicarious living, please ask them in the comment section. I’ll be happy to respond to any question asked.

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