Asian woman smiling in front of a camera with a selfie stick.

When you have "main character syndrome," you may view life through a romanticized storytelling lens. You're the hero under an (imagined) spotlight, and no one can – or should – outshine you.

This perspective isn't inherently negative. Seeing yourself as the protagonist of your life can give you the confidence and drive to fulfill your dreams. You believe you're in control, so you make things happen. You might put yourself up for that or take a chance on love by . You don't let anyone yuck your yum.

But when taken to an extreme, this mindset can veer into self-obsession and self-delusion. You might think of others as secondary characters who exist to prop you up (as sidekicks or love interests) or tear you down (as antagonists). You become less interested in the inner workings of their lives. You make everything about you, alienating your loved ones.

So, how do you embrace your inner bida without becoming a villain in others’ stories? Here’s a closer look into the "main character" phenomenon and how you can make it work to your advantage.

What Is “Main Character Syndrome”?

“Main character syndrome” originates from viral TikTok posts of the early 2020s. But the core concept is centuries old: there wouldn't be fables and fairytales without protagonists to relate to and root for. It's normal to project your personality onto your favorite characters. Everyone imagines the stories they love are about them.

But the human desire to be considered exceptional – the protagonist to end all protagonists – has taken a new form in the age of . Now, everyone has access to a platform. With a smartphone and an internet connection, you can broadcast your life and gain the audience you've always wanted. Instead of inserting yourself into an existing narrative, you can create the story from scratch.

As far as your followers are concerned, you are the main character in the world you curate. But real life isn't usually glossy or one-dimensional. When you exist in a big, beautiful world of diverse personalities and complex experiences, you must celebrate everyone's humanity as much as yours. Remember: they're playing the lead role in their life story, too. That empathy goes a long way in being a good bida.

How to Be a Bida Everyone Roots For

Much of the "main character" content online is earnest – and maybe a little cringe, depending on what you're looking at. But an equal amount is humorous and self-deprecating. Having a sense of humor about your life (along with empathy!) can help keep narcissism at a healthy, productive level. Here are three tips for harnessing your main character energy without going over the top.

Tip 1: Avoid selfishness or becoming overly self-absorbed.

Being the "main character" entails putting yourself first, but it's no excuse to disregard others completely. Sometimes, you'll need to let someone else stand in the spotlight. For example: if a friend is going through a and needs your support, be there to comfort them.

Don't hijack their moment to talk about your struggles in love. It's important to recognize these opportunities for compassion and connection. After all, no one wants the bida life to be a lonely one. You can live out your "main character" fantasies without invalidating other people's needs.

Tip 2: Don’t obsess over how everyone else sees you. 

Nothing sucks the fun of more than worrying about how everyone else perceives you. As tempting and easy as it is to constantly posture perfection on social media, it's soul-sucking work. Focusing too much on appearances takes your attention away from real growth and .

It's true for existing in the offline world, too. Don't exhaust yourself trying to make sure you're the envy of your friends at every hangout. Likewise, don't let the fear of judgment or keep you from being proudly yourself, flaws and all. Pobody's nerfect! And, besides, chances are everyone's too busy with their own “main character” journey to realize that you're still working on yourself, too.

Tip 3: Indulge in acts of self-care for your benefit.

That said, because it's the right thing for you – not because you want to show off for others. So much of your “main character” will need to happen in private, away from prying eyes. Take classes that nourish your mind and strengthen your skills. Go on trips that nurture your . Engage in hobbies that encourage creativity and joy, even if they're not “cool.”

Invest in hygiene tools and make time for rituals that let you pamper yourself in small ways, every day. Treat your locks to the Cream Silk Triple Keratin Rescue Ultimate Repair & Shine Ultra Conditioner to and maintain shine. Have you been neglecting your body? Use the Vaseline Gluta-Hya Serum Burst Dewy Radiance to bring back your skin’s suppleness. Lastly, don't forget your teeth! Brush twice daily with closeup Red Hot Toothpaste for that superstar, bida-worthy smile.

Having "main character syndrome" gets a bad rap, but there are ways to embrace it without becoming a self-obsessed caricature of yourself. Be a star in your own right by practicing compassion, indulging in self-care, and being open to true character growth.