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The Pedestal Syndrome & How to Become Your Own Hero

The Pedestal Syndrome & How to Become Your Own Hero

| On 10, Jan 2014


“She’s nearly perfect in just about every way. She’s the smartest, funniest, most beautiful girl I’ve ever met. Maybe if I do this and that, she’ll notice me” … or “He makes my heart beat a million times a minute whenever I see him. If only I had the chance to show him who I really am, he’d like me for sure”.

And then:

“He has everything I ever wanted for myself, the skills, the career, the physique, how could one not admire him?” … or “She’s always so elegant, I bet she has an important social status. And her voice sounds so adorable! Oh and her family is the cutest possible, how could you not love her?” …

And the adoration could go on, but I’m sure you got the point. Absolutely all the minor things these people have or do boost their allure in your mind, and you end up placing them on a pedestal. You turn them into your Heroes. 

If you can relate to any of the situations above, this article is for you. You may not know it yet, but you’re a victim of the Pedestal Syndrome.

What is the Pedestal Syndrome?

You know you’re dealing with a case of Pedestal Syndrome when you spend almost all your time, energy, feelings and efforts trying to please your object of worship, or to imitate him or her, in order to improve the way they perceive you.

You work excessively hard just to draw his or her attention on your skills and talents. You overshare intimate details hoping they’ll like you more. You’re often overly vulnerable or trying to be charming, funny and interesting, as you think this will make him or her want to know you better.

You obsess over the meaning of all their actions and words, and analyze everything they say, making all their actions about you. Your object of worship is placed on a pedestal and it becomes the center of your life.

pedestal syndrome

You no longer have your own dreams, and the plans and goals you do have are almost entirely influenced by the other person, be it your crush, your boss, your significant other, your colleague and so on.

Your admiration overflows whenever you find something in common with that person. Maybe you once saw him or her eating something you also enjoy – this instantly boosted their status, making them flawless in your eyes.

Appreciating one for their skills, beauty, performances or achievements is not a bad thing, but when this appreciation turns yourself into a needy who does everything just to grab the attention of the Hero, it’s a serious sign that something needs to be changed and the worship needs to stop.

How to take the Hero off his pedestal

1. Realize that your hero is NOT perfect

He or she is a human being just like you, with flaws and insecurities you know nothing about. Your heroes may need others’ approval just like you do, may be going through the same challenges or even greater problems, and they probably live their happy lives without caring about or needing your adoration.

Sounds very harsh but it’s true, so stop obsessing about someone’s perfection. He is NOT the perfect man (unless he’s a combination of Jude Law and Robert Downey Jr.) and she is NOT the perfect woman.

So instead of worshiping an imperfect person, focus more on defining your own personality, improving your skills, and doing your best to be a great human being, and spend less time and effort trying to impress someone or to get their attention.

Even if you do win their heart, or appreciation, or whatever you need from them, you might soon realize your Heroes are so different from what you’ve imagined they’d be, that they don’t really deserve the lead role in your life.

imperfect venus milo

2. Start building your own pedestal

We tend to place on a pedestal those people who have the positive qualities we aim for. And while this can be detrimental to our self-esteem, it can also be the starting point for strengthening our self-confidence and building a healthier self-perception.

We tend to use our Heroes as mirrors that reflect what we aim to be like. We place someone on the pedestal because she or he is strong, confident, beautiful, funny and so on. We look at our heroes and see our ideal, but fail in seeing our own reflection there.

So if you want to put an end to the pedestal story and boost your confidence, it’s time to understand that inside yourself lies a huge potential. There’s enough power there, enough beauty and enough creativity that’s worth being explored.

You may not be the best version of yourself yet, but if you want to get there, if you really want to become your own hero, you need to start believing in yourself. Work on those skills that need to be improved, accept those traits that can’t be changed and don’t stop until you can honestly say you love the man or woman you became.

escape pedestal syndrome

*Note: Picking a role model is a good thing to do, assuming you’re a down to earth person, but turning the role model into a Hero is not beneficial, for the already mentioned reasons. So if you find it easier to improve yourself if you have a role model, then go ahead and pick one who’s worth receiving this title. Publicity stunts excluded please.

3. Know your destination and remove distractions

Escaping the pedestal syndrome can be a long journey, and the only way to make sure you reach your destination is to know where you’re going.

If you have no idea what your destination is and who you want to become, the whole process can be really tiring and turn into a boomerang experience or a series of failures. So set clear goals, know exactly what you want to accomplish and the type of person you want to be.

Focus on your character and personality rather than your looks, and invest your energy and time in aspects that you can control. And please, exclude absurd expectations: if you’re 5.6 ft. (170 cm), don’t waste time searching for methods that can help you reach Shaquille’s height.

Stay focused and remove distractions. Don’t say yes to everything you’re offered and learn to recognize the doors that need to remain unlocked. Find those things you love and learn as much as you can about them, but don’t let your hobbies interfere with your vocation and with the path you want to draw.

Know who you are and believe in what you can be.

Remove the negative filters you use when analyzing yourself. Break the emotional bonds that are not beneficial for you, and stop placing people on a pedestal, as Earth does not revolve around them.

Stop casting for Heroes, you’re amazing enough to play the lead role!