Why You Shouldn’t Put People On Pedestals

Over the last little while I’ve thought a lot about the people that we put on pedestals, and about why we do it. I’m a sucker for a hero, as I’ve probably said before, but thankfully, all my heroes are long since dead. One look at the people that are put on pedestals around us is enough to make me realise that there is no hope of them staying there.

On the website raisingme.hubpages.com, the author says,

While there may be many attributes and abilities that you admire in another, putting them on a pedestal because they display certain traits serves neither yourself nor the other.

Firstly, it is important to realise that we are all human, including our heroes, and therefore flawed. I really respect the ways of the old saints and love to read about the lives of the monks and the early fathers, but none of them would claim to be perfect … on the contrary, they were extremely aware of their failings, and that is why they are my heroes, because I could never aspire to a perfect life.

I look at the lives of the super-sportsmen and hope that most of the young people around don’t emulate them. Somehow being put on a pedestal feeds the ego and makes the one on the pedestal feel invincible. Some of them then seem to think that they can get away with anything, or behave in any way that they like and get away with it.

If we read about the lives of famous singers and bands, they are often very sad. The world makes out that they are something special, and whereas they may have a special talent, they are still flawed human beings. Putting them on a pedestal gives them too much to live up to. Nobody can be what people expect them to be when they are in the public eye.

Putting some people on pedestals also makes others feel that they need to be famous in order to be someone, whereas some of the most lovely people I have met have been extremely ordinary. Every life has value.

Finally, when you put someone on a pedestal, they tend to look down on you. If you behave as if they are superior to you, they will treat you as an inferior. In the words of the author Teresa Mummert,

The moment you put someone on a pedestal they will look down on you. The trick is respecting each other equally.