How To Stop Putting Others (And Yourself) On A Pedestal

stop putting others on a pedestal

We like to put people on a pedestal, give them one character trait, and if they step outside of that shrinelike area that we blocked out for them, then we will punish them.-Madonna Ciccone

I happen to be writing this from Nepal.  There are a lot of gods and goddesses on pedestals here. As I have been learning about them, I have come to realize something. Not a single one of these beings was perfect. They showed just as much anger, pettiness, violence, greed, and selfishness as any human being.  Yet, they are adored for being exactly who they were. Both their light and shadow sides taught us lessons that we can learn and grow from.

In Nepal, they also greet one another with the phrase, “Namaste”.  My highest deepest self meets your highest, deepest self.  So, maybe this is why they can cut their gods and goddesses some slack. It is a place where you really do feel seen by each person for the all that you really are, and a place where you see the shining light in each person you greet.

But, it’s all too easy with romantic partnerships and even friendships, to put each other on a pedestal. We think this person can do no wrong, and we glorify the traits we imagine in them, until one day, “Boom”, our illusions (and our ego) are shattered.

Why do we do this? I believe it is our own lack of self-worth. We know our own imperfections, and we judge ourselves so harshly, and we start to imagine we are the only people who have these flaws. Our judgement stops seeing our own light, and we start projecting that light upon someone else. This is why it can hurt us so deeply, when those projections are shattered.

But, it goes deeper than this. We judge ourselves so deeply for not measuring up to our own standards that it becomes easier to ignore our own issues. We don’t want to delve into our shadow sides, so we pretend they don’t exist.  We put our own selves on a pedestal, so we can feel superior, so we can be right, so we can tell ourselves that we are worthy.

But, you see. You are worthy. You are worthy just as you are with all of your fears, all of your anger and sorrow, and need, and runaway emotions. You are worthy just as you are. The light in you is so bright that it doesn’t need a pedestal to shine from.

What happens when you put yourself on a pedestal is you feel you can’t show anyone your imperfections, and you wind up distancing yourself from true love. True love is unconditional and accepts you just as you are. But, you don’t give yourself the chance to be fully known when you disguise your weaknesses. You don’t give people the chance to truly love you fully. And, you miss the chance to fully love yourself.  While not everyone will be able to accept you stepping off the pedestal, you will find that most people will not only welcome you, but embrace you for it. The way to healing is acceptance of one another just as we are. We can help each other find the way to worthiness and wholeness.

How To Have Deeper Connections

You do the same thing when you put others on a pedestal. You miss the chance of full intimacy, and you miss the chance of loving unconditionally.  When someone shatters your illusions of them, that is the time they need you the most. That is the time their soul is crying out for love and acceptance. Show your love and let them know you still see their light. When we learn to forgive others (and ourselves) their shortcomings, we can truly see the light that they are and have a relationship on a deeper level. Instead of judging another person, we can see each other for the mirrors that we all are.  We can gently love one another and gently love ourselves.

I dare you to truly meet people on a soul level.  Allow yourself and others to be vulnerable. Don’t be afraid to disappoint yourself now and then. And when you do? Show yourself the same forgiveness that you practice with others.  After all, you can’t see someone else’s divine light, until you can see your own.



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  1. thank you so much for writing this !! It came to me at the right moment. It’s amazing to keep finding guidance trough random strangers.

    An effortless effort is always taking place so we can find the serendipitous hints that tell us we’re going in the right direction !!

  2. This exactly describes some of my experiences with my friends. As soon they “fell” from my expectations, I was crushed and took them off their pedestal – but in a banishing kind of way. Now I know that’s not the right thing to do. Love and friendship are unconditional. Thank you for this.

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