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