Resist Putting People on Pedestals

a pedestal 1

“Don’t put me on a pedestal, for I am sure to fall. Just love me as I am flaws and all.”

– Author Unknown 

It is great to admire, respect and look up to those who are excelling in some area of life or be impressed by someone’s exceptional wisdom. To be sure, another’s brilliance can inspire us to new actions, and encourage us by the heroic acts that they do.

However, appreciating someone’s talents and abilities is certainly much different than putting them on a pedestal and idealizing them in some way.

While it might seem flattering to put someone in an elevated place, it actually isn’t fair to them or us. When we hold others in a glorified position, we are holding them to a higher standard than those less exalted, and often seeing ourselves in a lower level position.

This imbalanced delegation of power can cause us to diminish our own special skills, while at the same time, placing exceedingly unrealistic expectations on the object of our affection as well.

Mirroring certain attributes we appreciate and admire in someone else isn’t necessarily harmful unless we are trying to be someone else or copying their way of life in exchange for our own.

a mirror

Though we hear that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, it can take on a negative twist when it blurs the lines between our lives and the one we emulate.

Equally destructive is the adverse reactions experienced when the object of our admiration doesn’t live up to the high expectations or character of whom we created them to be. The ensuing judgments of them can become harsh and disproportionately out of focus as well.

So, instead of putting someone on a pedestal, we can look to achieve a more balanced perspective by simply appreciating their talents and abilities while at the same time equally appreciating our own as well.

Action Step:

Assess if you have placed someone on a pedestal, and use it as a signal to rejuvenate aspects of your own life, and to treat yourself as an equal.

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10 thoughts on “Resist Putting People on Pedestals

  1. This is so true Cathie and your action step is an excellent one. Appreciation of talents is to be applauded but seeing people unrealistically can only go badly wrong. Great post! 🙂

  2. It’s so important that we understand we are neither above nor below any other person. Your suggestion to see any “pedestaling” behaviour as a signal and make ourselves an equal is deeply wise and kind. Thank you for this delightful article. Blessings, Gina

  3. Thank you, Cathie, for this beautiful post!
    I agree with what you wrote in all points. Let’s all meet on an eye-to-eye level, celebrate and appreciate the unique colour which each of us contributes to the rainbow. – Each unique colour is equally important to make the rainbow.
    Thank you so much for contributing yours and inspiring others to contribute theirs.
    Much love,
    Steffi

    • Thanks so much for your uplifting and validating comments Steffi! You have such a beautiful way of expressing your thoughts! Love the eye-to-eye and rainbow references and images. So true, that we each offer a unique contribution to the whole, and your part is such an inspiring one! Love and many blessings, Cathie

  4. Love your post. It’s true when we put someone on a pedestal, it almost becomes an excuse to put ourselves down and put them in a place above us. In some ways it means we can keep seeing ourselves as ‘less than’. The best gift we can give ourselves is to see all of us as equal and as you say admire their gifts and talents but also admire and acknowledge our own. I think the other thing we do is we put certain positions/roles on a pedestal and we forget that the people filling them are human – meaning they have flaws and imperfections as well. It truly is about seeing people first, not who and what we perceive they are. 🙂

    • Many thanks for your wonderful comments! So true, that certain positions are often viewed as superior to others as well, and those filling them given extra reverence as a result. All our roles are important to make up the whole, and our humanness is always the common denominator. Blessings, Cathie

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