Home Change Your Life Articles Life Articles

Living Vicariously – Is It A Bad Thing Or Not

Is living vicariously a bad thing?

I always recommend that you truly live life for yourself and no one else but that does not mean in anyway that living vicariously is a bad thing.

If you live vicariously through others because you don’t believe in yourself and your abilities that could be a problem that you might need to address.

If however you are living vicariously through someone because you absolutely respect them and they are the perfect role model.

Then that is just a healthy way to be and will add value to your life.

So I guess the answer depends really on why you have chosen to to live vicariously in the first place.

Also if being with someone that makes you happy enough to live through them vicariously and they are happy too then it cannot be a bad thing.

Below we are going to discuss a few things about living a vicarious lifestyle in different situations.

We are going to answer some questions that you might have about living through someone else and also some hints and tips on why you should always look to live for yourself first and foremost in life.

Common scenarios when living a vicarious lifestyle

  1. Through your child – It is great to support your child and bring them up to follow their dreams but they have to be their dreams not yours. So if you wanted to be a ballerina or footballer and didn’t quite make it then you cannot live a life through your child wanting them to do it instead. What you can do is tell them they can do anything in life and achieve anything they want to. But if these are your dreams then you might push them too far and they might either end up unhappy or just quit doing it because their heart is not in it. If they love doing it then that is a different matter and you should help them become a better person by giving them positive criticism and encouragement to succeed in life. If your child needs help with their studies then big them up and help them. Don’t tell them how great you were at Physics if they are struggling as they are not you.
  2. Through social media – It is okay to look at social media and think wow their cool I would love to be like them. A lot of kids nowadays and adults to boot do adopt behaviors of people they follow and this is fine as long as it doesn’t become obsessive. If you want to live vicariously as that person that it might be an unhealthy way to go. If however you are picking up important attributes and values from them then that is a good habit to have and should be encouraged. If it helps to also helps to cheer yourself up at times then yeah go for it.
  3. Through celebrities – This is pretty similar to the above to be honest and is healthy if done properly. My brother had an absolute obsession with Madonna when we where kids, did he turn out like Madonna no. But he did have solstice in her music and her expression of individualism which gave him what he needed and listening to her music was something that made him happy. He also lived vicariously through Arnie too and started to bodybuild at a late stage in life. Was this unhealthy? No not really it game him inspiration and built his confidence that he could do it as well. So having someone you admire and look up to is different than living through someone else. So you have to put this barrier in place, as you will never become that person but you will add value by following their good traits in life.
  4. Through fictional characters – Lots of people out there want to be trekkies or the next Harry Potter. The wonderful and amazing world of the imagination at play. Are you really going to become one? No because they are fictional and don’t exist. Will it do you good living a vicarious lifestyle through them? Yes in the right circles and with the right people. This is down to expression and individualism and will suit some people down to the ground and others will think it is a little weird. Whatever floats your boat with this, if dressing up like Harry Potter makes you smile, means you are a good person and love life then go for it.
  5. Through video games – This is similar to above but you need to be careful with this one. Playing shooters and thinking that you can go out and do the same thing is not good. However using your imagination and gameplay to your advantage and others is great. Doing youtube videos with a sense of humour and passing on tips to others is great. Taking the gameplay into reality is probably not a great idea.
  6. The reason – If you believe that everything happens for a reason, then you will also realize that being in a vicarious relationship was also meant to happen too. So go with the flow and keep following the tips below to live for yourself in life too.
Living Vicariously
Living Vicariously – Photo by Thought Catalog on Unsplash

Common questions on living vicariously

  1. What does it mean to live vicariously? It means to experience life through someone else and not yourself. To think and feel that you are that person and that you deserve to feel the same emotions that they are feeling too. This is great when you are happy for other people but if you don’t know what to do with your life, then it is unhealthy to try and adopt someone else’s as they are not you and they could turn out to be false emotions that you are feeling. The best thing to do here is empathy is important and this is for good emotions and bad. So talk to that person and understand what they are feeling but make sure you have your own feelings about the situation as this is what makes you stand out as an individual in life.
  2. Can you live vicariously through yourself? Not really know this is a good example of the above in that you are acting like yourself with your own thoughts and feelings but are empathic to others. This allows you to understand their feelings but not try to live them for yourself.
  3. Why do parents live vicariously? Lots of parents want what is best for their children and this quite often means taking their own good points and pushing them the childs way. Because they were brought up in this manner they are educated to be the same, rather than coming from an individual approach to the situation. It is like some children will grow up as actors like Will Smith and his son. Other kids would push the idea away because they are shy, or it isn’t what they want. I think the important point here is to try different things with your kids but don’t push them into doing things that makes them hate their life. An example of this is my youngest son loves basketball but he also plays rugby. His step dad likes the social aspect of taking my son to the rugby games but my son feels like he doesn’t want to do it but will to keep his step dad happy. This is when living vicariously is a bad thing and should be avoided. Always encourage children but it has to be for their happiness and not your own.
  4. How do I stop focusing on other people? This is important when you learn to truly live for yourself. Have goals and plans in life that give you the rewards and recognition you need to live a happy and fulfilled life. It should be you that is living in the dream and not someone else’s. We will discuss more about this below on focusing on yourself in life.
  5. What is vicarious pleasure? This is when you find pleasure in other people’s achievements and not your own. This is a good emotion when used correctly. As with the fact that empathy is important we should listen a bit more before we speak and be kind to yourself and others. This will allow you to enjoy the pleasure of other people being happy but not be jealous by their achievements either. Live for yourself and have your own achievements and rewards to be proud of.
  6. Why do I live vicariously through others? This could be down to seeing pleasure in other people’s lives rather than your own. You might need to learn how to become happier in life yourself in order to truly enjoy it. Check out the tips below for inspiration.
  7. How do I stop being so insecure? Living vicariously could mean that you have insecurities in your own life and you need to stop overthinking this. Overthinking your insecurities will just breed negativity into your life which no one wants in order to live a happy lifestyle. These are your thoughts and most insecurities are your own thinking that you need to overcome. Wait for the tips below to help with this issue.
  8. Why you shouldn’t compare your life to others? Some people are better at manifesting what they want in life. The actively getting out there and doing something about it. Some people are born with a natural talent that a vicarious parent might take advantaged of through education. We are all different but the one thing we all have in common is that we are all capable of doing anything with the right support and education to get there. So look up to people but never feel insecure about your abilities over theirs and never let anyone put you down either.
Video by Engin Akyurt from PexelsFor The Full Video Transcript Click Here

My Top Tips On Living For Yourself And Not Living Vicariously

  • This is your life – You only have one life and life absolutely is what you make of it. Think how your life would be if you put in as much effort as your vicarious relationship into yourself instead. This means that you have the drive and commitment to live your life and then others will respect you and the tables will turn. Find what your meaning in life really is. Then live it with a purpose, look after yourself and be the person that you were meant to be and then support others. Not in a vacarious fashion though in a way that adds value to their lives.
  • Set yourself a goal in life – Have a plan in life on where you want to go and spend time working out how to get there. Put effort into your life being one that you can look back on knowing that you had the greatest achievements that you could possibly have. If you find something with a passion in life then it will open up doors you thought never existed until you feel that your life is complete in every way.
  • These are your thoughts – Be a good empathic, caring, kind and well balanced person. Learn to communicate properly with people. Always look back on situations and see what lessons can be learned from it. Did you add value to the situation, could you have been more supportive, could you have been more kind, could you have done more to help. When you live vicariously you are taking away your own thoughts and feelings and placing them firmly on someone elses happiness instead. So learn to see how you are behaving in these situations and then do something to correct it.
  • If you enjoy living vicariously – If you really enjoy this lifestyle and what the benefits bring to you and the other person then continue to do it. If you recognize however that it is becoming unhealthy in anyway then do something about it quickly and don’t leave it. Living in this way might take some unhappiness away from your life and give you joy and we all need to live a happy lifestyle. So just make sure that you are kind to that person and it adds value to your lives.

It is my responsibility to inform you that living vicariously through others is not a healthy way to live. It can lead to feelings of dissatisfaction, inadequacy, and a lack of fulfillment in one’s own life. However, if you are interested, here are 10 tips on how to avoid living vicariously:

  1. Identify your own passions and interests.
  2. Set realistic goals for yourself and work towards achieving them.
  3. Take risks and try new things.
  4. Practice self-care and prioritize your own physical and mental health.
  5. Surround yourself with positive and supportive people.
  6. Learn to appreciate your own accomplishments and successes.
  7. Focus on the present moment and avoid comparing yourself to others.
  8. Take responsibility for your own life and choices.
  9. Practice gratitude and appreciate the good things in your life.
  10. Seek out new experiences and opportunities for personal growth.

So there you have it that is all my ideas on living vicariously and if you need help living a life for yourself or bettering your existing life to make it more fun. Then check out my transformation program at https://changeyourlifeforever.co.uk I recorded it when I was at a down point in life.

It covers everything you need to do in life in order to be successful, be kind to others and well just be a nice person who loves living everyday of their life. So I hope to see you in the inside and in the meantime I hope life gives you everything that you deserve and you keep smiling. All my best wishes Leigh

We respect your email privacy


  1. What a brilliant article.
    Very timely, concise and hit the nail on the head for me today.
    God bless you as you continue to support and impact lives.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.