Putting people on a pedestal

Editor Smile 5 Comments

When we fall in love with someone or make a new friend, we sometimes see that person in a glowing light. Their good qualities dominate the foreground of our perception and their negative qualities. They just don’t seem to have any. This temporary state of grace is commonly known as putting someone on a pedestal. Often times we put spiritual leaders and our gurus on pedestals. We have all done this to someone at one time or another, and as long as we remember that no one is actually “perfect,” the pedestal phase of a relationship can be enjoyed for what it is—a phase. It’s when we actually believe our own projection that troubles arise.

Everyone has problems, flaws, and blind spots, just as we do. When we entertain the illusion that someone is perfect, we don’t allow them room to be human, so when they make an error in judgment or act in contradiction to our idea of perfection, we become disillusioned. We may get angry or distance ourselves in response. In the end, they are not to blame for the fact that we idealized them. Granted, they may have enjoyed seeing themselves as perfect through our eyes, but we are the ones who chose to believe an illusion. If you go through this process enough times, you learn that no one is perfect. We are all a combination of divine and human qualities and we all struggle. When we treat the people we love with this awareness, we actually allow for a much greater intimacy than when we held them aloft on an airy throne. The moment you see through your idealized projection is the moment you begin to see your loved one as he or she truly is.

We cannot truly connect with a person when we idealize them. In life, there are no pedestals—we are all walking on the same ground together. When we realize this, we can own our own divinity and our humanity. This is the key to balance and wholeness within ourselves and our relationships.

~Reprinted with permission from DailyOM.com

  • reviewcric

    Hi Anna! I hope its not too late replying to your problem. One solution I can give is to check out some videos of Ajahn Brahm. He is a therevadha buddhist monk ( a Britisher who went to Cambridge and later a teacher who got tired, and ended up in thailand being a forest monk!) who’s talks of letting go of suffering, loving unconditionally and most importantly opening the door of your heart to yourself which I have started to do. Whats most important is his talks are so funny and yet the stories of dhamma hits the core of what we need in life. I can tell you his talks and the concept of the universe does makes sense once you have opened the door of your heart to both your faults and your joys. May you no longer hurt! May you be well happy and peaceful!

  • Anna

    My parents were abusive and I don’t ever remember being showed healthy love. I grew up in the extremely toxic world of “the troubled teen industry” . After being horrendously abused as the ultimate black sheep of the family, I was committed to a lockdown facility where I had to live in a dangerous/ prison like facility. I was then sent to other institutions and was put down emotionally so much that I didn’t get a chance to develop a self-esteem. My childhood started off terrifying and then became worse than I could have ever imagined until I cut my parents out of my life. I am currently living with complex PTSD and I find that I am subconsciously searching for a family still to make up for the one that mistreated me so immensely. I call it my “Marilyn Monroe syndrome”. I am physically attractive and socially adept so I make friends really easily, and when I don’t get unconditional love from them, I find myself wanting to run away from the relationship and search elsewhere. I have an extremely loving, open, and healthy relationship with my husband, but no one has ever been able to fill the mold for my make believe family. When I want to make friends, I worship them and whenever they mistreat me, I run and hide. My romantic relationship is amazing and fulfilling, and I think it’s because I love my husband without worshiping him like I want to everyone else. Do you have any advice on how I can have a normal friendship while living with complex PTSD?

  • Laura

    Thanks for posting this. I really liked “we are all walking on the same ground together.” And ” When we treat the people we love with this awareness, we actually allow for a much greater intimacy”

  • http://mindbodysmile.com Dr Rob

    Change is the challenge, and change is the nature of all things, and the gift for our own growth. Let go of blame and of judgment. This only has a negative effect on you. See that person that left, that you idolized as good and perfect and on his journey. When we think love, we vibrate and emit love, sending love to all in the Universe, and it is love that comes back. Know that you are special and that you need no one else to give you that. You must give it to yourself first. and know that you are on the right track, your special journey.

    How about if we can see everyone on the pedestal, on the pedestal of divinity and of earth. We are all the shining light and perfect. When we can see love in all people and in all events, and all things, this is where we can find the true divinity in all, especially ourselves. What we think creates that outside of us. So think and believe that he is on his most special journey, and that he is always in your heart, with good loving feelings. The Universe will deliver that which you focus on.

    I might suggest some great books, The Alchemist (Paulo Cohelo), The power of now, (eckert tolle) Eat pray love (Elizabeth Gilbert) Mindbodysmile has a great list.

    hope that this is helpful, with love and gratitude, dr rob

  • CYC

    Thank you for this. There was someone in my life for the past year that I had put on a pedestal. He just moved out of town and so he’s no longer part of my life. But I can’t stop punishing myself and hating myself for thinking he was a real friend. I thought I ranked among the ‘elite’ and that I would at least be left with a phone number or an email address; but that didn’t happen. So now I’m thinking that I wasn’t special; that I was just one of the masses. I feel like I want to quit everything that I am involved in that is linked to him, but that would mean changing most of my life… all the good things about my life. It’s only been a couple of weeks. Maybe he just hasn’t had time yet to take care of things like email lists. I certainly understand that. However, I don’t understand why I wasn’t one of the people who ranked special enough to have his new contact info before he moved. He was my rock and the person who kept me on the right track. He guided me like no none else has. Now I have no one to do that. I’m scared. I feel alone, & rejected.

    Am I being to hard on myself? Am I being to hard on him?