Michelangelo and You: How a Strong Relationship Shapes You

Michelangelo sculpted statues by bringing out the best in the marble. Strong relationships do the same for us.How many of the benefits of a healthy relationship do you know about?

Look at what a healthy, loving relationship can help you do:

  • Live longer
  • Heal faster
  • Feel less pain
  • Reduce your stress level
  • Avoid unhealthy habits like smoking and drinking
  • Maintain healthy habits like exercising and eating right

And did you know that people in good relationships also experience—

  • A sense of stability
  • Enough security to try new things even if they fail (one of the benefits described here)
  • Opportunity to care for someone beside yourself
  • Companionship and social support

And There’s More: The Michelangelo Phenomenon

When our loving partner sees us more positively than we see ourselves, we start to see ourselves as they do. It’s sometimes called the Michelangelo Phenomenon. Michelangelo, the famous painter and sculptor used to say that when he carved a statue, he was simply releasing the beautiful form that was already present in the marble.

In the same way, there may be a beautiful person inside you—just waiting for the right relationship to draw it out. Have you ever heard a woman say, “He brings out the best in me”? That’s the Michelangelo Phenomenon in action.

Picture how this works:

  • He laughs at her jokes; she starts to believe she’s funny, and relaxes in groups, becoming funnier.
  • She admires his strength; he believes he is strong and works out harder to make it true.
  • She is sensitive about her figure; he loves it, so she learns to like her figure, too.
  • She appreciates his consideration; he takes more time to listen and care about what she says.

Healthy, loving relationships help us see positive things about ourselves and strive to make them more true than they already are.

Michelangelo’s Flip Side

Unfortunately, the opposite also happens. An unhealthy, unloving relationship can sculpt us into less-than-ideal versions of ourselves.

Having a critical partner can reduce our self-esteem, and make us more like the worst version of ourselves.

That’s why it’s never good to settle for just any partner who comes along. Anyone who isn’t going to help you be your best you is not worth putting up with.

Make sure your partner is more Michelangelo than Wreck-It Ralph. Look for someone who respects you, treats you kindly, and helps you aspire to be your best.

And when you’re tempted to settle for just about anybody, remember the words of Michelangelo:

“The greater danger for most of us lies not in setting our aim too high and falling short; but in setting our aim too low, and achieving our mark.” – Michelangelo

Michelangelo said, "The greater danger lies not in setting our aim too high and falling short, but in setting our aim too low and achieving our mark."

For ideas about developing healthy relationships, check out some of these other posts:

Longing for Love: How to Fill Your Heart without Regrets

5 Great Reasons to be Hard to Get

What’s Wrong with Hooking Up?

Starting Over: A Better Relationship This Year

What are You Waiting For?