Home » Relationships » How to Stop Putting Someone on a Pedestal as an Empath

Are you putting someone on a pedestal? In this article, we share why and how to stop putting others first and start prioritizing yourself.

Estimated reading time: 6 minutes

Being empathic means you’re attuned to the emotions and feelings of others, often feeling them as intensely as your own. This heightened sense of empathy can sometimes lead to putting someone on a pedestal. As a result, you may view them in an almost idealized way. This blog will explore why we do this and why it’s important to avoid it.

My Journey from Putting Others on a Pedestal to Self-Love

As we delve deeper into the topic of not putting someone on a pedestal, especially for those of us who are empathic, I want to share a personal story that mirrors this journey. This is a story of transformation. From being a chronic people-pleaser to finding my footing and balance in life as a young, highly sensitive woman.

For the longest time, I found myself habitually elevating everyone around me. As a result, I placed their needs, desires, and opinions above my own. It was as if I had built a mental altar for those I cared about, worshipping the idea of them while neglecting the person that mattered most—myself. Also, this pattern wasn’t selective. In fact, it seeped into every crevice of my life, influencing my friendships, family relations, romantic relationship, and even my career. In essence, I became a real people-pleaser, constantly stretching myself thin to meet others’ expectations and desires.

This incessant need to please and to put others on a pedestal had a profound effect on me. Regularly, I found myself teetering on the edge of burnout. Also, I felt emotionally and physically drained from the effort of trying to be everything to everyone. My highly sensitive nature only amplified these feelings. It made every demand feel like a mountain to climb, every disappointment a personal failure. It was as if my entire worth was tied to how well I could serve others. Moreover, it left no room for my own growth, happiness, or well-being.

My Turning Point

The turning point came when I realized that this behavior was not sustainable. I was losing sight of who I was, my values, and my aspirations. The relationships and achievements I had placed so much importance on felt hollow because they came at the expense of my own self-care and identity. I understood that to find true balance and contentment, I needed to embark on a journey of self-discovery and self-love. I learned to put myself first—not in a selfish way, but in a way that ensured my own cup was full before I could pour into others.

This realization was not an overnight transformation. It required introspection, setting healthy boundaries, and, most importantly, forgiving myself for the years I had overlooked my needs. I learned to embrace my sensitivity not as a weakness but as a strength, one that allowed me to connect deeply with others while still honoring my boundaries. Gradually, I found myself becoming more grounded, with a newfound sense of balance and peace in my life.

Learning to prioritize my well-being and to see myself as deserving of the same care and respect I so freely gave others was key. It allowed me to build more genuine and balanced relationships, pursue a career that felt fulfilling without sacrificing my health, and, most importantly, cultivate a loving relationship with myself.

To anyone who finds themselves on a similar path, know that it’s okay to step down from the role of the eternal giver. It’s okay to place your needs at the forefront. Our empathy and sensitivity are gifts, but they should not come at the cost of our well-being. Finding that balance is not only crucial for our health but is the cornerstone of living a fulfilled and authentic life.

Why Do We Put Someone on a Pedestal?

  1. Idealization: Empaths often focus on the good in people, sometimes to the extent of ignoring their flaws or red flags. This tendency to idealize can stem from a deep empathy for others and a desire to see the best in them, leading to an imbalanced perception.
  2. Projection of Desires: Sometimes, we project our desires or the qualities we wish to see in ourselves onto another person. For empaths, who are naturally giving and nurturing, this can mean overestimating someone’s virtues because they resonate with the empath’s intrinsic values.
  3. Fear of Confrontation: Empaths may avoid confrontation to maintain harmony, leading them to suppress any negative feelings or doubts about the person they’ve elevated. This avoidance can perpetuate the cycle of idealization.
  4. Need for Connection: The empathic desire for deep, meaningful connections can sometimes result in a skewed perception of someone’s importance or role in their life, placing them on a pedestal as a form of emotional reliance.

Why You Shouldn’t Put Someone on a Pedestal?

  1. Unrealistic Expectations: Placing someone on a pedestal sets them up to fall short of your unrealistic expectations. No one is perfect, and this pedestal can create pressure that strains the relationship, potentially leading to disappointment and resentment.
  2. Loss of Equality in Relationships: Healthy relationships thrive on equality and mutual respect. Idolizing someone can disrupt this balance. This makes the empath feel inferior and the other person uncomfortable or pressured to maintain an unrealistic image.
  3. Neglecting Your Needs: Focusing too much on someone else can lead to neglecting your own needs, desires, and well-being. It’s crucial for empaths to remember their value and ensure their needs are being met.
  4. Overlooking Red Flags: Idealization can make it difficult to see or acknowledge red flags and negative behaviors. This oversight can lead to staying in situations that may not be healthy or beneficial in the long term.

How to Stop Putting Someone on a Pedestal?

  1. Self-awareness: Regular self-reflection can help empaths recognize when they’re idealizing someone disproportionately. Acknowledging this tendency is the first step in addressing it.
  2. Set Boundaries: Learn to set healthy boundaries, both emotionally and practically. This helps maintain a balance between empathy for others and care for oneself.
  3. Focus on Self-Worth: Cultivate self-worth independent of others. Remember, your value does not decrease based on someone’s inability to see your worth.
  4. Embrace Imperfection: Both in yourself and others. Accepting that no one is perfect can help mitigate the urge to idealize others.
  5. Seek Balance: Strive for balanced relationships where empathy and admiration do not overshadow personal needs or blind you to the truth of a situation.

Final Remarks

In conclusion, while empathy is a gift that allows for deep connections with others, it’s vital to maintain a realistic view of those we care about. By understanding why we put people on pedestals and the importance of avoiding such behavior, empaths can foster healthier, more balanced relationships.

Disclaimer: In this article, we collaborated with AI while writing articles, meaning that we used it as a personal assistant to provide valuable information to our readers. The personal touch through stories and personal examples and the editing of the article have been performed by the author.