I have long thought that my sister is perfect.
I was going to provide you with a big long list of reasons why she is awesome, but she doesn’t know I’m writing this and she would rightly crack it if she saw that list posted on the World Wide Web. But for the point of the story all you need to know is that I think she’s perfect. Perfect because of the person that she is and because of the type of life that she is living.
So here’s why I no longer think she’s perfect, the 1st reason is because she’s asked me not to; numerous times.
The 2nd reason is, that to call her perfect diminishes the hard work and tough choices that she has made in her life. Her success and happiness hasn’t just happened; she’s put great thought, focus and effort into the type of life that she wants to live and the type of person that she wants to be.
The 3rd reason is that to call her perfect unknowingly makes a judgement upon any struggles or hardships that she may have faced in her life.
A few years ago I caught up for lunch with my best friend and a mutual friend of ours who I hadn’t seen for over 15 years. He had always had a bit of a crush on me and had placed me on a pedestal; which if I’m being honest, I thought was lovely.
He had me on a pedestal because he didn’t know me that well; it is easy never to see the faults of someone you don’t really know. I knew that he wasn’t getting to see the imperfect aspects of me, and truth be told I was deliberate about keeping him at arms length in order to maintain the charade.
As a youngster I always thought that this was a great dynamic to have in my life. To have someone who looked up to me and who thought that I was much more capable than I thought I was.
What I didn’t realise until that lunch was; there was another side to being adored falsely.
It was a lot of pressure for me to live up to, but the heartbreaking side was the realisation that every time he recognised perfection in me, he measured a fault in himself.
When we recognise aspects of people that we admire, that we also see in ourselves, we never refer to them as perfect traits. We don’t use that word because we know from personal experience that we have also exhibited the opposite of that trait in our lifetime.
Perfection is a statement that says that there is no other side. That there is only success without failure, there is only compassion without cruelty, there is only good times without the bad and there is only love without fear. Perfection isn’t real, so holding someone to ideals that don’t exist is never going to bring service to them and it certainly isn’t going to bring good feelings for us.
So there I was at this lunch, with two people who saw me in completely different lights growing up. One thought I was perfect and the other knew me to be an obnoxious, insecure, overconfident dickhead. And my realisation was that I’d take the latter any day.
My best friend knowing all of my flaws and weaknesses had offered me an incredible and loving freedom. She got that I wasn’t perfect which made her appreciation of the great aspects about me even sweeter. She valued me for me, the good as well as the bad.
That lunch immediately had me thinking about how it must have felt for the people who I have placed on a pedestal in my own life.
And there have been so many, I am a serial offender. My father said to me when I was about 10yrs of age
“The problem with you is that you compare your weaknesses to other people’s strengths”.
Not only was he right but it has been a pattern my entire life and one I only recently worked out was connected to my ‘placing people on a pedestal’ thing.
I always thought that the act of being completely one eyed about someone was a loving one, but I now see that it’s not. It offers nothing but fear, and can do nothing other than bring about a feeling of unworthiness for the adorer and a lot of pressure and unloving attention for the adoree.
This brings me to the 4th reason I’ve stopped seeing my sister as perfect, she doesn’t need that discomfort in her life. She needs me to understand that she’s not perfect, and to love and appreciate her regardless. And here’s the kicker, I can’t love and appreciate her wholly unless I love myself like that.
This leads me to my 5th and best reason to stop seeing her as perfect; because it enables me to start seeing the perfect aspects within me in spite of my perceived weaknesses.
Who have you got on a pedestal?