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When people don’t measure up…

Posted by Henric C. Jensen on June 21, 2007


Remember when our Parents were g-ds? They couldn’t do anything wrong and they could fix anything. Remember the disappointment when we realized that they were human and had flaws?

It’s funny how we still carry that idea with us into adulthood and idolize people we somehow view as “good”. The world is full of Heroes that in the mind of people are infallible, above the rest of us, because of something they did or didn’t do. And what happens when we see through the “sainthood” we have carved out for them? – We either turn on them in anger, or away from them in disappointment, vaguely aware that it is ourselves we are angry with, ourselves we wish to not see.

The hardest bigotry to battle is the one residing in our hearts and minds – do we choose to exclaim about ourselves “The emperor is naked!”?

I hope I am the kind of person who will stop and think: “he/she is human just like me…” before I let my prejudice put someone on a pedestal just to be disappointed when that someone falls. It’s way more rewarding to know someone for who they really are than through my own preconceived notions about them.

3 Responses to “When people don’t measure up…”

  1. Holly said

    SB, thankyou for this insightful post. I think we all have a fear of not measuring up to someone else’s standards; I know I do…

    It’s like you said, though: When we realize that the people we’ve put up on pedestals are just as prone to human error as we are, it seems like something changes for us, and we don’t stop to consider that the disappointment and/or anger we feel is really directed at ourselves. It’s hard to accept that our personal heroes are human, like us…

    Anyway, thanks for this wonderful posting. You didn’t know it, but your words made a big difference in someone’s life. Mine…


  2. plaintain1 said

    Yes you are right! I also wonder if one of the reasons why we are ‘happy’ when someone falls is due to latent jealousy. That is, deep down we are jealous or envious that that person made it, jealous of the talent that put them there, jealous, maybe, that they are nice but more importantly: how/why did it (success, fame) happen for them and not for us!?

    It is only when they fall, that there is a sense of relief because they are back to our level, and console ourselves with the thought that there wasn’t anything spectacular about them in the first place.

    As Gordon Brown (future PM of the UK) said in a recent interview, he wants the UK to move away from this growing culture of celebrity (ban Big Brother if he had the chance) which has eaten into the fabric of the society, and move towards a more serious debate of what is important and instilling positive values.

    Good blog and lots of food for thought.


  3. Silly Old Bear said

    Thank you for your comment, my friend – that warmed 🙂

    That was an angle I had not expected – will have to think about that – the jealousy part -.

    I don’t know – I think people have substituted a deeper sense of spirituality for worshiping celebrities, resulting very little remedy for what is really ailing them – a loneliness that stem from the loss of belonging to a known community.

    Before the age of Celebrities, society was built around the extended family/clan unit – non-one was ever really alone.

    Today we are disconnected from a close community – and because we are social and spiritual beings, we have made those celebrities our “family”, so we won’t, for short periods of time, feel lonely.

    Well, that’s a though anyway…:-)


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