In the last few posts, we’ve been looking at the nonsensical act of comparing ourselves to others, and I think it’s pretty clear that we need to start nurturing – no, HAMMERING – the beauty of our differences at an early stage of life. Dr. Seuss hit the nail on the head: his books are chock-a-block of “be yourself” ditties and they should be mandatory comprehension by preschool – and studied again in high school, before kids choose their career paths!
A slightly overlooked part of the whole comparison game, is that which we assign to the pedestal: be it prompted by societal views, familial expectations or life experiences. In the case of people, when we’re “not good enough”, then reason says we think someone IS good enough: the problem laying directly in the word “think”. When we place someone in a high position on the “enough” scale, then for that person, there is nowhere to go but down. How fair is that – especially if it’s someone you’re close with? Everyone, just like us, is just trying to do their best; with trials and errors – just like us: struggling to find courage and resiliency, just like us. To have the sense that somebody is constantly keeping vigil on the tarnish-factor of imaginary crowns is a lot of pressure to place on someone; and means at best, that they are not truly free to be themselves; and at worst, they are donning a mask to meet expectations and thus, presenting a false reality. Who wins there? Excluding teachers and narcissists, no one asks to be appointed your guiding light: that’s a dysfunctional burden unwittingly placed on another; and a blatant imbalance of power in any relationship – destined to wither.
I’ve been in this position myself: placed on a pedestal and feeling that intense discomfort (if not an actual: “little miss perfect is not so perfect!” quip) any time I tried to reveal anything vulnerable about myself to this “friend”. True enough, I have experienced relationships where our life experiences are out of balance and unstimulating, and I have abandoned them. Never, though, have I stayed in a relationship for the pure reason of playing a leading role: way too unsatisfying – and blech, bore-ing!!! I want to take as well as give! Needless to say, I jumped off the pedestal and out of that relationship. Sad: I really liked her.
Point being: assessing what “good enough” means is all in your own definition, influenced by your own life circumstances. At any point in time you can choose to change the definition. Don’t put your own personal fears and self-declared expectations randomly on others; and don’t underestimate yourself or what you can change if you focus less attention on others and more on YOU!
You are you. They are them. Enough.
Here’s an elaborated view adapted from Dr. Rob Kiltz on DailyOM.com:
In Life, There Are No 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 – well, they just don’t seem to have any! This temporary state of grace is commonly known as putting someone on a pedestal. We have all done this to someone at one time or another, and as long as…
Next: The Pedestal (page 2)