The Justin Bieber of today is a far cry from the one we knew a few years ago.
Justin grew up in front of our eyes, going from charming, innocuous Canadian teen sensation to bad boy pop idol to devout, faithful husband over the course of a decade. It’s been a pretty wild ride that included Bieber fever, public urination, an abandoned monkey, one arrest, and of course, the infamous on-again, off-again relationship with Selena Gomez. And people were just watching it all unfold — we imagine it was a lot wilder for the 27-year-old to actually live through it.
So how does the Biebs view his tumultuous — and often problematic — past? In his new GQ profile, he admitted that “hurt people hurt people.” He shared:
“I don’t want to let my shame of my past dictate what I’m able to do now for people. A lot of people let their past weigh them down, and they never do what they want to do because they think that they’re not good enough. But I’m just like: ‘I did a bunch of stupid s**t. That’s okay. I’m still available. I’m still available to help. And I’m still worthy of helping.’”
That’s a very healthy — and inspirational! — perspective to have, but the wisdom was definitely hard-won. At his lowest point, the Lonely singer revealed his security guards would sneak into his room at night and “check his pulse to make sure he was still alive.”
“I was surrounded by a lot of people, and we were all kind of just escaping our real life. I think we just weren’t living in reality… I think it would have probably resulted in just a lot of doing drugs and being posted up, to be honest.”
Of his mindset during this dark period, he explained:
“There was a sense of still yearning for more. It was like I had all this success and it was still like: I’m still sad, and I’m still in pain. And I still have these unresolved issues. And I thought all the success was going to make everything good. And so for me, the drugs were a numbing agent to just continue to get through.”
Hailey Bieber’s hubby didn’t get into too many specifics about the “shameful” acts of his past, but he did address the general factors that brought him to such a low place in his life. He told the outlet:
“I just lost control of my vision for my career. There’s all these opinions. And in this industry, you’ve got people that unfortunately prey on people’s insecurities and use that to their benefit. And so when that happens, obviously that makes you angry. And then you’re this young angry person who had these big dreams, and then the world just jades you and makes you into this person that you don’t want to be. And then you wake up one day and your relationships are f**ked up and you’re unhappy and you have all this success in the world, but you’re just like: Well, what is this worth if I’m still feeling empty inside?“
He noted that although singing was his calling and was “supposed to bring such joy,” the entertainment industry corrupted his idea of how to use his gifts:
“I just think more and more as you’re a kid and you don’t have an identity yet, and you’re trying to figure out who you are, and to have everyone saying how good you are, how incredible you are? You just start to believe that stuff. And ego sets in. And then that’s where insecurities come in. And then you start treating people a certain way and feeling superior and above people. And then there’s this whole dynamic shift. I just woke up one day and I’m just like, Who am I? I didn’t know. And that was scary to me.”
After canceling his Purpose World Tour in 2017, he asked himself:
“Am I ever going to be able to live a normal life? Am I going to be too self-centered and ego-driven that I just, you know, make all this money and do all these things, but then I’m left at the end of my life alone? Who wants to live that way?”
Luckily, the Freedom artist was able to find his way forward through marriage and faith, and putting in a lot of hard work on himself. Justin reflected:
“A lot of people will never do what they want to do, because they’re afraid and they have shame. They don’t feel enough to accomplish what’s in their heart, or there’s a cause they’ve always wanted to help, but they’re just like, ‘Aw, man, like, who am I? Who am I to be able to do this? Because look what I’ve done. Look at my past.’ And that was me for a long time. And I always felt like I was a good encourager. I always felt like I could encourage people and that my words held weight. But when you start living in shame, you start to devalue what shouldn’t have lost that value. And that’s why…”
After an emotional pause, he continued:
“It’s just rewarding to be all that you were designed to be. And I believe that, at this point in my life, I’m right where I’m supposed to be, doing what I believe that God wants me to do. And there’s nothing more fulfilling.”
Wow! Again, we could not have imagined such thoughtful, self-aware words from Justin a few short years ago. We are so relieved he is in such a healthy place — he’s clearly come a long way. We hope he continues to feel at such peace in his life.
[Image via Justin Bieber/YouTube]