Perspective: Placing People on Pedestals

Our admiration of beauty, strength, success, and talent tend to lead us toward esteeming people and their accomplishments higher than ourselves, and as a result, in our society, the words “people” and “pedestal” have become by-products of one another. Most often, this happens naturally, and before we know it, a person has been placed on a pedestal. Sometimes we become fans of those people we idealize, but then there are the cases in which we are fans of their talent, but have no desire to be like them in anyway. In any case, we often spend more time reading about, watching, and talking about the greatness of other people, wishing and hoping that we might one day be able to obtain some aspect of what they have acquired. Since it’s often difficult to find all of our dream qualities in one person, we usually place many different people and things on pedestals, so that in any given season of life, we usually have 5 or more people on a conscious or subconscious idealized platform.

Problem #1: It is not a problem that we have placed someone on a pedestal or have become a fan, it is that in a world where most people are fans of someone or something, we often forget to become fans of ourselves, or see ourselves on a worthy pedestal (now or in the future).

Having role models and admirable people in our lives is useful for providing us with a guide to discovering the traits, characteristics, wisdom, and experiences of those that have traveled the road before us. However, it is often easy to view these people as an anomaly and their accomplishments as virtually unattainable. Ironically, an anomaly is exactly what they become because we view them as such.  When we deify people, it is easy to see ourselves as incapable of having what they obtained because they are “on a different level.”

Problem #2:  As people are pedestal-ed and deified we tend to pay attention to their positive traits, while ignoring their flaws and quirks. However, we highlight the complete opposite in ourselves. We spend more time comparing our flaws to their “perfection” and in turn determine that our flaws and quirks are the exact reasons why we will likely never stand on the same pedestal as “the deified ones” in our society.

We will always have people that we admire. We will likely always be fans of another person(s). We may always have role models in our lives, all of which are good things. However, these people are not more flawless than you. By virtue of being a human-being, they have flaws. Maybe they have overcome or learned to deal with those flaws so that it does not interfere with their success, but trust me, everyone has flaws.  It is important that in our idealization of other people we are careful not to denigrate or depreciate in the process. Use people to help you improve, provide you with examples of positive habits and actions for success, and give you motivation and hope to keep moving forward. Use them to remind yourself that “if they can do it, so can I”… in your own way, on your own level, in your own world.