Most of us tend to do it from time to time… we meet someone that seems so great and so perfect that we put him or her up on a “pedestal of greatness” in our minds. Sometimes we even do this with a person that we’ve known for a long time. And although this seems like a nice thing to do, it can actually lead to an emotional upset down the road. In this post I’ll discuss why I feel we should do our best to hold off from putting anyone on the almighty “pedestal status.”
This is actually a personal rule that I’ve tried to follow for many, many years now. Allowing yourself to believe that another person can do no wrong is super unfair to that person, because the truth of the matter is, that’s setting up an expectation that’s nearly impossible for any individual to live up to.
So what’s the alternative? Recognize the incredible attributes that the person has to offer, but keep in mind, that they may make a mistake or show a sign or two of imperfection at some point. Doing this saves A LOT of heartbreak and disappointment, and may prevent overreacting to the situation when and if that time of “flaw revealing” comes.
To further illustrate what I’m describing, here are some examples of when we typically give someone “pedestal status”:
- With a new boyfriend or girlfriend. Sometimes we’re so ready and eager to be in a new relationship that we convince ourselves that the person we’ve just started dating is perfect, or at least, perfect for us.
- With family members. Your child may be really well behaved, sweet and innocent throughout her childhood, but as she becomes a teenager and young adult, she’s bound to make mistakes. This can be really tough for a parent to believe and handle. We also do this with our elder family members. A grandparent may have always seemed so wise and perfect, but then as they get older or even after they pass, you may learn more about that person’s history or even sides of their personality that you never knew before.
- With public figures, such as a celebrity. Have you ever been a huge fan of someone for a good amount of time only to suddenly learn something about them that feels hugely disappointing? Perhaps you learn that they have opposite political opinions than yourself. Or, that they are having (or have had) trouble in their personal lives.
One other thing to be cautious of (as weird as this may sound) is to try not to allow anyone else to put YOU up on a pedestal. This tends to happen most when in new romantic relationships, friendships or when starting a new job. If it seems another person is doing this by calling you the “P” word (Perfect) or something similar, kindly say something along the lines of, “Well, thank you for the compliment… but please don’t put me up on that pedestal. I’ll only end up disappointing you at some point, because I am far from perfect, just like everyone else.” If saying such words feels awkward, another option is to make a joke out of it by saying something like, “Well, I strive for perfection, but believe me, I have not mastered it yet!” They may look at you like you’re crazy, but doing this may save the relationship when you make a mistake or show your flaws at some point.
This is one of those topics that is rarely brought up because I honestly feel most of us are unaware that we do it. So here’s to remembering that we can all try our best, but when it comes down to it, none of us are perfect!