August 23, 2006
To Be Human
Putting People On Pedestals
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.
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