I am really good at falling in love. And when I do, I typically put people up on pedestals. In fact, it was only a few years ago that I stopped doing that. And it took being on the other side of things, dating someone who had me up on a really high pedestal.
So high that when I showed up as just little old me and not a goddess that shattered her wildest expectations… Well, she was pretty disappointed with me. And at the time, she acted as though I should be ashamed of that, that I hadn’t lived up to her expectations.
But the funny thing was that I wasn’t ashamed.
I was disappointed of course that the relationship hadn’t worked out. Because I liked her an awful lot. Felt vulnerable. I fell in love, and I was surrendering to it rather than fighting it (my normal inclination).
So it was jarring and difficult when she peaced out. But I could see why, as I thought over what she said. She had a certain image of me, up on a pedestal. She believed I would act a certain way, and then I didn’t.
Because I’m not like that. Her image of me is different than I actually am.
And that’s nothing to be ashamed of. I never asked to be on that pedestal. I showed up as who I am and was authentic. It didn’t live up to her fantasy for me. One I never endorsed.
So it was a disappointing end. But like most disappointing endings, if I didn’t fall into misery and kept a clear head about me, there was a lesson to be learned. And this situation taught me a lot about how my tendency to pedestal other people does me no favors.
The Grass Is Always Greener in My Head
When I realized this, I was filled with regret. Because the truth of the matter is that pedestalling people has robbed me of the actual experience of appreciating people for who they actually are– not an idealized version I hope they are.
I suspect it’s caused a lot of disappointment over the years… as well as a sense that the people I date aren’t as into me as I am into them, because it’s hard to match the character of affection of a person who has you on a pedestal without it degenerating into something ridiculous and unhealthy.
The trouble with me isn’t that I want what I can’t have. It isn’t that the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence.
Instead, the trouble with me is that the grass is always greener in my head. My imagination runs wild. It imagines superhuman partners. Unrealistically perfect vacations that I’m about to go on. Masterworks that are more magnificent than any human could ever write, let alone little old me.
Under these conditions, real life can hardly compete.
So I’ve been working the past few years on reining in that tendency to pedestal. That habit of creating unrealistic expectations before I set out.
It isn’t always easy, but I can definitely see the benefits, even if I still have a a ways left to go on it.