Why do we tend to idealize others and how to avoid doing so?

People easily fall into idealization.

Oliver Thansan
Oliver Thansan
25 August 2023 Friday 23:06
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Why do we tend to idealize others and how to avoid doing so?

People easily fall into idealization. Either from an ex-partner, despite the fact that the relationship was toxic; a parent, ignoring many of their negative behaviors; or a friend, who perhaps was not so good in the field of friendship. Although these could be more obvious cases of unfavorable character, the reality is that perfect people do not exist. However, sometimes there is a tendency to idealize others, exaggerating their qualities, achievements or abilities, instead of seeing them as they are. With virtues and also defects.

Idealization occurs when a person considers another as an example of perfection, that is, exaggerating what are their positive characteristics and ignoring the negative ones. This is a trend that often happens in the early stages of a romantic relationship. The result that is obtained is an unreal conception of said person.

The problem with idealizing a person is that this image that is far from reality eventually ends up disappearing. And a feeling of disappointment and even betrayal is experienced when encountering something different from what was believed, despite being the one who created that fantasy.

This generally occurs for two main reasons: low self-esteem and perfectionism. On the one hand, people with low self-esteem tend to realize the qualities and positive aspects of others, while underestimating their own, creating a very marked imbalance. The other person is the referent and what they aspire to, in the face of their own inferiority. Although the reality is very different.

On the other hand, there are perfectionists, more likely to tend to extremes, that is, contemplating things as very good or very bad, with no intermediate points. However, it is possible that you have to see a third condition related to conflicts and desires not overcome during the childhood stage.

One of the first steps to avoid idealizing a person has to do with identifying that pattern in one's own behavior. Past experiences in which one has felt frustrated, deceived or betrayed when discovering that a person was not as they seemed should serve as learning. Since it is possible that, in those cases, everything has been the result of an idealization.

Pay attention to the vision and opinions of other people. Sometimes it is difficult to put aside the image that has been built about a person, but considering other points of view of the environment will help to open your eyes.

Another very important key to avoid idealizing someone is to adopt a more flexible way of thinking. It is normal to make mistakes, to be wrong sometimes and to let someone else down without meaning to. Nobody is perfect and flaws are normal.