mentor-hdr

What to Do When Someone You Admire
Falls off the Pedestal

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There’s a saying in the entertainment industry: “Never meet your idol.” The implication being that they will inevitably let you down, and you’ll be disappointed to discover that they’re actually human.

Most of us like having someone to look up to, whether it’s rock stars and royalty or the leaders in our own life. And often in our admiration of our mentors, coaches, parents, teachers and healers—you name it—the tendency is to put them on a pedestal and hold them to different expectations. We forget that at the end of the day, no matter how enlightened, everybody is still a human being.

mentor-q1Some people have developed their talents to such a level of mastery that it’s hard not to be in awe. Other people are at such a high vibration that you can’t help but be lit up in their presence. However there is a difference between being lit up by someone and worshiping them. When we elevate someone that high, not only do we give away our own power, but we make it so the only place they can possibly go is down.

I’ve seen this dynamic play out in a lot of ways. I’ve put people on pedestals, I’ve experienced others doing it with me, and as a coach and former therapist, I’ve worked with women who’ve done it with their mothers, aunts, grandmothers, fathers, sisters, boyfriends, pastors and professors. So I know how devastating it can feel when your mentor behaves in a way that shows a side of them you didn’t think was there—or when you never expected he/she would treat you that way. It can create real mentor-q2feelings of disappointment, heartbreak and embarrassment. Simultaneously, there’s a tendency to Taylor Swift this pain and rebound and go seek a new mentor to worship—just like in a romantic relationship—or to start hating them…for being human. (I know hate is a strong word…but sometimes it’s a real feeling!)

It’s natural and okay to feel hurt when a mentor lets you down. However I think the best thing to do with those emotions is to recognize this as your opportunity to go to the next level. Take a moment and reflect on what ways you’ve been casting your own light or shadows on this other person. Is there something you’ve been admiring in them that you’ve been denying for yourself? What this moment is most likely telling you is that it’s time to finally step into your own power.

And as for the person who hurt you—I believe in forgiving easily as a way of life. Forgiveness frees you. If you’re holding onto resentment, bitterness or a grudge against anyone, you’re only creating a mentor-q3toxic environment within yourself. Spending time thinking about being hurt or getting revenge only keeps you at a low vibration, whereas if you allow yourself to accept that everyone is a human being, then you can have some compassion and see the good in the relationship again. You can recognize all of the ways this person has been a source of inspiration and guidance and move on with gratitude.

Because the truth about human beings is that sometimes we all get caught up in our own lives. We all miss deadlines (or weddings, birthdays and times to celebrate others), say inappropriate things, lack good judgment or fail to consider someone else’s feelings. We all have our own desires and fears, strengths, limitations and character defects. All of us. We all have our own wounds we’re working through, no matter how enlightened or masterful we’ve become on our personal development path.

The more we can accept others as human and be quick to forgive them, the more time we spend living in a way that truly lights us up. So when your mentor falls off a pedestal, step back and take a look at how they got up there in the first place. Focus on reclaiming your own power and on who you will become as you step into your next level of greatness.

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