Before we jump fully into today’s content I want us each to think for a while about this question, answering it before reading any further. Is there someone(s) in my life that I look up to, holding them in a high place? A place where they are looked up to because of good things they’ve done, respected for what they’ve “earned” like the status they’ve made, and put in a place of high regard due to our perspective of what we see and deem as “good”. I know this is a BIG question, but I really want each of us to think about it, please.
As an infant, our brain/mind is designed to look up to those that are taking care of us. We depend on them to take care of us, looking to them for food, care, nurture, love, and fulfillment. As we grow older our brain development begins to grow so that we can look more “outside the box” and look up to others, but not necessarily depend on them for everything as we did as infants. As we hit those awkward teenage years our perspective of those who we look up to changes. We begin to look at those around us from our perspective and find out whom we hold in a high regard, those we respect. It’s during these years that we begin to hold athletes, our parents, loved ones, congressman, and other deemed “higher” class/education/status/etc. in a high place.
Have you done this? I surely have. I did this for many years of my life actually, with certain individuals, being mostly the ones that were near and dear to my heart. And guess what happened? One day those people came falling off the pedestal that I had so ignorantly put them on. Let me say, that day the first person came off the pedestal I thought, what is going on? I talked with another person that I loved and respected telling her what was going on, and she helped shed light onto what was happening. The things she shared spoke deep truths into me as tears pooled and sprang forth from my eyes. I had such conviction, knowing that I had ignorantly put a person I loved and adored on a podium for countless years. That person was my dad. As my Dad came crashing down off the pedestal I had him on, I was confused, angry, frustrated, and didn’t know exactly how to express what I was feeling, because this was all so turbulent and new to me. It hurt.
In the days and weeks to come I worked through my thoughts, feelings, and eventually was able to not only learn, but to see that putting people on a pedestal was NOT a good thing. My Dad and I had to work through this season of my life, and it was hard on both of us. I was a grown young woman, so this was one of the first people that I really had put in a place of high stature. We both learned immensely from this!
Years later, the other person I’d put on a pedestal, my Mom, also came crashing down. Let me clarify myself if you are confused. It was NOTHING either of my parents had done that allowed me to put them on these podiums. It was strictly MY doing, not theirs. And also for the record, my folks didn’t do anything specific to come falling off the podium. I was growing, changing, understanding, learning, experiencing, and all of this meant I was changing in more healthy ways. And yes, it was a good and healthy breaking point to hit!
I still remember the day clearly when my Mom came off the pedestal I’d put her on. We were downstairs in the living room, doing our evening stretching. As we were talking, and through our deep conversation we were sharing, eventually she said, “Kelly, do you hold me in a high place, like on a pedestal?”
I sat there thinking for a bit. I really didn’t need to because I already knew the answer. I had, and I shouldn’t have. Tears brimmed my eyes. I said, “I guess I did. And it was all of my OWN doing.”
Why am I sharing this story with you? For one, it’s a subject that doesn’t get talked about enough. Secondly, that it may cause you also to ponder if you may also be doing this to loved ones, your parents, athletes, or others that you respect. Respect is important. We all need respect.
When a person falls off the podium that we put them on can be devastating. For me, personally, it caused a lot of confusion, frustration, and anger. The frustration and anger were towards myself for doing this, but I also needed to learn from this experience, and I did! And the confusion? The confusion was, “How do I love and respect someone without putting them in a high place?”
The answer? By looking at EVERYONE as equal. And, just because a person is good at something, or good at something in a certain area of their life, or line of work, it doesn’t mean that they are any better than another person, or more highly respected. This is tricky. Why? Because we live in a world that deems people better due to: a higher education, their athletic ability, job title, status of their job, accessories they have, possessions of things such as homes, land, businesses, their speaking ability, physique, popularity status, title or their “good name”, donations given, what good works they’ve done, etc. It’s really endless in the amount of things that we are giving our over-and -above- respect to that is just not in one’s best interest, one being our self AND one being the person put in a high place.
So, if you’d join me, let’s each ask ourselves a few questions. “What athletes do I look up to that I really like? If they did something “bad” would I still like them? Would I still respect them? Or, would I quit watching them or following them?”
Or, “Do I hold my parents in a place of high stature? Do I look up to them as an adult, to provide and take care of me? Do I expect that they will fill me with accolades and give me what I need to succeed? Because of where they’re sitting in their life right now, do I hold them in a high place because of all the good things they’ve done for others? Do I feel the need to have them agree with my choices so I feel their acceptance and love?”
Okay, I realize to those reading this you may be thinking, “Wow, that’s harsh. Who are you to say what you just did.” Well, I’m just me speaking from my own life experience and sharing what I’ve learned. And through my sharing I hope that it will at the very least, make you ponder if you may be doing this in your life, with anyone. We are all human and we all fall short. We screw up and make mistakes. It’s usually when we screw up and make mistakes that people fall off of a podium that we ourselves have put them on, knowingly or more often times unconsciously. It’s something that we did as infants, which IS/WAS normal for that age, but it’s something we should grow out of, at some point.
Summing it up. There’s a different between loving and respecting people vs holding them in a higher place of regard. When we love and respect people, we can overlook their faults, forgive them, and agree to disagree. When we hold people in high places, we feel a constant need to have their support/love/acceptance, so we may NOT speak our truth and have healthy disagreements. We also only see the person through the one lens we have seen them, and that begins to make the podium unsteady when we begin to see things that we hadn’t seen or recognized before.
I’m NOT out to cause waves in your life. I’m as always, here and offering experience, insights, and truths that help us ALL to become more healthy and whole in our journey doing life. Life’s journey is one that is ever changing. With that being said, we need to do our part in changing for the better, IF we even want that.
Today, I look at all people as equals. My parents are my parents, and I love them. But, they are no longer on a podium that I’d created for them. And… Guess what? Our relationships got better with one another when they were off that podium I’d had them on!
No matter what job a person has, I don’t look at any job better than another. I don’t view a lawyer, or any person with a higher education, better than anyone else. I don’t view someone with a low income job less than another, or that I’m better than anyone, because I am not. And you are not either. We are ALL equal. We are all human. We all fall short. We all stumble and fall. We all do things we aren’t proud of. We all screw up and have to get back up again. We all matter. No human is better than another.
Here’s the point, we are all in this life journey together. When we hold others in a higher place, our view in misconstrued and we are holding ourselves back from growing into the person we were designed to be. Life is beautiful. Why not make it beautiful with ALL people we meet and interact with? Why not mix up your friendships and step out of your comfort zone and meet new people that you may not have interacted with or formed friendships with before? Why not bring food to someone that needs it and walk away without needing an accolade from anyone, or even a thank you from the person you gave it to? Why not have a conversation, at times walking away with agreeing to disagree and still be friends? And lastly, why not take the opportunity to reflect and ponder on today’s content to see if we are currently doing this in our own lives?
Are you willing to ponder and reflect? Are you willing to dig deep? Sometimes the truth hurts, and again, I restate that this is NOT meant to hurt anyone in my sharing this. Deep and big subjects like this often don’t get spoken about because it can “stir things up” in people. I’m asking you personally, if today’s content has stirred something up within you, would you please ponder your thoughts for the days and maybe even weeks to come? Think about your thoughts when interacting with those your thoughts gravitate towards. Talk with them directly about your thoughts, if need be. And if nothing else, grab a piece of paper and write your thoughts on paper if you don’t know where to start or if your thoughts are all jumbled up inside. Speak your truths in words, in whatever way works best for you. And when you’re ready, allow yourself to let individuals fall off the podium that we ourselves have put them on. Truthfully, we aren’t just benefiting ourselves, we’re benefiting them too. It’s a double win! And you’ll each be set free at a whole new level that you never dreamed was possible!
Be blessed. Be well. Be at peace.
Until next time.