Celebrities — the word itself makes you think of flashing cameras, expensive jewelry and more money than anyone could ever actually need. It also brings to mind images of people being chased by photographers and fans, often more than what could be considered respectable or comfortable.

These factors, along with other ways our culture treats celebrities, are proof that we as a society are obsessed with celebrities. Everyone has different reasons, but we all feel personally invested in celebrities in one way or another. So why is that? Most people who aren’t famous have never met a celebrity, but we act like we know and care about them like a friend or family member.

To figure out why we’re so obsessed with celebrity culture, we each have to analyze our personal motivations. That’s not always easy to do, so instead, let’s look at some general reasons everyone gets hooked on following the lives of celebrities.

They Make Us Feel Better

Not in the chicken soup kind of way, but in the self-confidence kind of way. Celebrities, because they’re ordinary people, come with many different personalities and lifestyles. Some are laid-back and quiet, while others are loud and in your face with their strange quirks.

Most of the time, when we come across celebrities who are all about showing off in front of the camera, we get a confidence boost. We might see someone who can’t stay in a relationship very long and feel better about our own, or a celebrity could spend their money as fast as they make it, which would make us feel prouder of the things we bought that took time and hard work to achieve.

They might even make us feel good about how we look, since celebrities always get extra attention when they get facial or physical work done to look better for performances or photo shoots. You don’t have any plans to get a nose job, so that means you look better than someone with millions of followers on social media. It’s addicting to feel that boost in confidence or pat on the back that comes from watching the lifestyles of celebrities, which can make us check in on them even more often.

We Envy Them

One of the perks that comes with being famous is having a lot more money than anyone else. Wealthy celebs get to spend money on houses with space they’ll never use, or the latest car or electronics they don’t really need. They don’t have to budget or give a second thought to where their money is going. All they have to do is swipe their card, a relief many ordinary citizens would do anything to have for themselves.

It’s the flip side of celebrities boosting our self-confidence — they can also fill us with envy. It’s not just their money that causes this, but how they use it. The addiction can come in when we see someone with a bad reputation get things we don’t think they “deserve.” Think about all the drama Tom Brady got involved in with the “Deflategate” scandal, and then know that no matter what he does, he’s getting paychecks big enough to have an Audi R8 and Range Rover.

Once celebrities achieve a high enough status, their paycheck is nearly guaranteed, which means they could be the worst person on earth and still get a car in the blink of an eye that you’d have to spend the next 30 years saving up for. It’s natural to envy, and when celebrities make us feel that way, we feel the need to keep up with what they’re doing so we can both envy them and live vicariously through them.

They’re Part of Our Culture

So much of our culture has been built around celebrities that even if you haven’t spent your life buying magazines and reading about them online, you’re still aware of the biggest names out there because they infiltrate everything. Part of that has to do with the lifespan of the fame of the average celebrity.

Thanks to platforms such as YouTube and Instagram, it’s easier than ever for people to gain fame. A decent following on a common app can launch someone into stardom with little effort — sometimes even by accident. And, just as quickly, celebrities can disappear from the public light if they slight a director or become embroiled in a huge public scandal. Fame has become a quickly changing facet of American culture because we have so many ways to connect with the world.

This effect keeps everyone on their toes waiting for the next celebrity to rise or fall. The cast of famous people changes almost daily, and when it happens to one of your favorite famous faces, you can feel joy or sadness. That emotional trip can keep people hooked on the celebrity news line.

Celebrities Can Do the Impossible

Sometimes life can get tough, and it’s hard to find inspiration to hold onto hope that life will change and get better. That’s where celebrities come in. They rise to fame from complete obscurity, sometimes even overnight, which is why the entertainment industry is a source of inspiration for nearly everyone who pays attention to it. Celebs show us that we too can change our lives and live our dreams. If they can do it, so can we.

It’s easy for people from all walks of life to become obsessed with celebrity culture — and for good reason. We can find hope, joy and all other kinds of emotions in it that we sometimes can’t get from our ordinary lives. Whether we need a little push to chase our dreams, or a reason to keep fighting, celebrities can inspire it in us.

We can find celebrity articles online, in print, on the television or the big screen. Their faces are everywhere in society, so don’t feel ashamed of your celebrity obsession. We all deal with it on some level, and, surprisingly, for a lot of the same reasons.