The Michelangelo phenomenon (DW#977)

The Italian Renaissance sculptor Michelangelo is famous for recognizing and bringing out the potential hidden in a block of marble as the famous statue of David. He described sculpting as a process whereby the artist released a hidden figure from the block of stone in which it slumbered.

Inspired by Michelangelo, psychologists have observed what is known as the Michelangelo phenomenon in relationships.

The Michelangelo effect deals with the ways in which intimate relationships influence and "sculpt" each other. When a partner sees potential in the other and behaves towards them in ways that promote this ideal, it influences the other to live up to their ideal self.

Put very simply, this implies that if we our attitude towards our loved ones is that they already posses some great qualities, they are more likely to live up to these ideals. Importantly, evidence suggests that the Michelangelo phenomenon is conducive to both personal well-being and the well-being of relationships

One more reason why fondness and admiration in relationships is such a key aspect of strong bonds.

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