The Perilous Pedestal

After another inspiring weekend of sleep deprivation my mind wandered into the usual deep reflection. Pondering on the past I started to think about the precarious pedestal. More specifically, the emotional pedestal we create for those unrequited loves in our lives. It causes us to discard all semblance of logical observation in exchange for blind devotion to an idealized view of the person. What causes this abandonment of reason?

Many times we place individuals on a pedestal because of an intense state of limerence. An initial attraction that is never confronted becomes more important than the actual person responsible for the attraction. By creating a pedestal we cease to be in love with the person and become infatuated with a set of ideals created in our minds. Such an intense state of mind has inspired a great deal of creative works. From the courtly love poetry of the Renaissance to the great romance novels of our generation. Despite all the literature and entertainment having risen from this innate human tendency, it also has many negative side effects.

When an ideal replaces an individual, expectations arise that can not possibly be met. In some cases this is a good thing, like when an individual embodies a cause. Much like how Martin Luther King became synonymous with the civil rights movement. However, when it comes to human relationships this sort of elevation creates unrealistic presumptions of what true romance is. Imagining any individual could possibly match the heights of the pedestal causes a great deal of personal conflict for the two parties involved. How then, do we avoid falling into such a trap?

“No, I think you’re just remembering the good stuff, next time you look back, I, uh, I think you should look again.” – 500 Days of Summer

While many of us will continue to bow before the almighty pedestals in our lives, it is important to take this wisdom into consideration. It may be difficult to look clearly at the individual behind the ideals, but it is important we do so. Only by cutting through all the emotions and expectations we create is it possible to remove the pedestal and appreciate object of our affection and all of their imperfection, even if this means we realize its just not to be. For the perils of the pedestal fall far short of the romantic idealism hidden within our thoughts.

The ideal in front of us will always transcend that which is too far away to see clearly.

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