Ex-lawyer turned relationship coach

How To Stop Putting People On A Pedestal

When we get incredibly nervous around someone we’re dating, it typically means we value them incredibly highly. Not only are we afraid of losing them, we also dread what their disapproval might say about us: we’re not good enough. And that’s what really smarts. 

To resolve these two fears, we also need two solutions. Let’s tackle the most important one first, the self-esteem issue.

If anyone ever rejects you, you need to understand that their desire to go on without you has little to do with what you have to offer to the world. How could it? They haven’t even scratched the surface of who you are.

And even if they were intimately familiar with the depths of your being, their disinterest would simply be a matter of taste. You can’t sell someone on the haunting beauty of Erik Satie’s Gymnopédies if they don’t enjoy classical music.

And you are no different. You’re an acquired taste that not everyone is supposed to appreciate. That’s what makes it so magical when someone loves you to bits. True, adult love and friendship are rare. 

So the greater insult isn’t being rejected, it’s being loved by everyone. Since that simply means that people have idealised you. Now you’re the misunderstood one on a pedestal. 

Which returns us to the other of our original problems: idolisation.

The only person you can ever worship honestly is the person who you barely know. That’s why it’s so easy to fall in love. Once our crush sets off a few fireworks, it feels fine to let a few details to suggest the whole. We just so desperately want to believe in love.

But when you take a step back, you know that it’s incredibly shortsighted to give a handful of witty comments, jokes and kind gestures any significant meaning. Sure, it might be a sign that you have a wonderfully profound connection. But it could also mean that they’re just decent human beings who know how to have fun conversations.

That, of course, sounds rather dull to our sentimental brains. So we prefer the romantic approach. But if we want to stop putting people on a pedestal, we have to go even further and embrace the disappointing truth that so many of us refuse but already know.

People are hilariously incompetent.

We need constant attention, we throw fits over minor issues, we prefer to blame others instead of accepting personal fault, we run away from hard-hitting truths, we don’t know what we want half the time, and we expect others to see how amazing we are. 

These unlucky habits are part of what makes us both human and incredibly difficult to deal with. Let alone share a life with.

So our romantic interests will disappoint and frustrate us, and we will do the same to them. But that’s no reason to lament and give up dating. It’s actually a sign of maturity that makes us a far more attractive mate.

Now we don’t expect our lovers and romantic partners to be mythical angels, we can take them off their pedestal and actually start to fully appreciate their humanity.

By Jeroen Elsing
Ex-lawyer turned relationship coach