LOS ANGELES - NOV 22: Justin Bieber arrives to the American MusJustin Bieber was just 12 years old when he gained fame and, in the years that have followed, the world has watched him experience all of the ups and downs. While some have been so eager to criticize, others have remembered that the teen years are hard for most people – so why should we expect more from him than we do of ourselves?

He’s had problems with drinking, speeding, disorderly conduct, estrangement from his mother (with whom he was so famously close!), and, of course, girl trouble. For a time, it almost seemed like things were so bad that he might need an intervention of sorts (and, maybe, there was one) but, now, he seems to be pulling himself together. Unfortunately, this is alienating some of his fans.

One of the problems with fame is that some people believe that, by buying your album or by paying for a ticket to your concert, they somehow own you. This is unrealistic thinking. Celebrities are still human beings with their own free will. Look at Prince. Up until his untimely death last month, he was very selective about how his music was shared and which events he’d attend. There’s nothing wrong with having healthy boundaries which are increasingly difficult during a time when technology allows us to be so invasive of each other’s lives.

Recently, Justin Bieber has been setting limits on taking pictures with fans and attending “meet and greets.” He has said that these encounters are overwhelming to him and, really, why shouldn’t that be respected? Other celebrities, including Amy Schumer and Lady Gaga, have started to set similar boundaries. Shouldn’t fans be satisfied with watching them during performances as well as following them on social media? How much should stars be expected to share?

Bieber performed at the Billboard Music Awards which aired this past Sunday night. He won the prize for Top Male Artist, and he thanked his fans for their support. The next day, however, he seemed to have reflected on the whole experience, and he shared his thoughts on his Instagram profile. Along with a serene photo of a castle surrounded by sprawling green fields populated by sheep, the singer wrote:

I don’t know about these award shows.. No disrespect to anybody at any of the shows or the people running it. Nothing but love for you guys and your support. But I don’t feel good when I’m there nor after. I try to think of it as a celebration but can’t help feeling like people are rating and grading my performance. A lot of people in the audience there to be seem worried about how much camera time they will get or who they can network with. When I’m doing a regular show I feel they are there for the right reasons and to strictly have a good time! But these award shows seem so hollow. I get the premise is to award people for their accomplishments, but is it really? Because when I look in the audience I see a bunch of fake smiles so that when the camera hits them they look happy. Sure there are people truly proud of others so I don’t want to knock them I’m just looking at the vast majority. I just think to myself if I’m living my purpose I want the reward to be fulfillment. I’m getting awarded for the things that I’m doing and not for who I am which is understandable I know it would probably be hard to calculate and award someone’s spirit lol. But When I do get these awards the temptation of putting my worth in what I do is so hard to fight!!!I am privileged and honored to be recognized by my peers in but in these settings I can’t feel the recognition. There’s an authenticity missing that I crave! And I wonder does anybody else.. Sorry not sorry about grammar it’s not my strong point

Some have criticized Bieber for calling awards shows hollow but is that fair? Shouldn’t he be allowed to comment on how these events make him feel? He expressed gratitude for being recognized for his efforts, but he fairly pointed out how difficult it can be to separate that from how judged (or overlooked) these shows make him feel as a person.

What do you think? Is he making this more complicated than it has to be or does he have a point?