“ I saw an angel stuck in the marble and carved it until I set it free.”said Michelango Buonarroti.
According to him, ideal shapes are hidden inside the marble and the important thing is to see and release the ideal shapes, to get rid of the excess and useless pieces of stone. The Michelangelo Effect reflects Michelangelo’s approach to art through human relations; It means that people in close relationships can see inside each other, reveal the potential in their partners, and shape their ideal selves.
The concept we call the ideal self includes the dreams, desires, abilities, characteristics and personality traits that the individual wishes to have. When the ideal self, the way of self-perception of the individual with the aim of self-actualization, begins to agree with the self, which is his own existence, then we can talk about personal harmony and self-acceptance. At the point where the self and the ideal self differ and move away from each other, the individual may begin to feel dissatisfied and anxious. In the context of the Michelangelo effect, which supports the view that interpersonal relationships and experiences have an important place in shaping the self, people in close relationships reinforce each other’s positive features by establishing intense interactions, revealing aspects that they are not aware of. Therefore, the Michelangelo effect brings the ideal self closer to the self; It supports the individual’s sense of satisfaction with life and the process of self-acceptance. While this provides individual satisfaction, it also contributes to the increase in satisfaction from the relationship.
So, what kind of a process does this effect, which contributes to the increase in satisfaction from the relationship, go through? Let’s examine it.
The Michelangelo effect, which increases the happiness of individuals in a relationship, prepares a happy ending as a result of a three-stage process. These stages are; partner’s perceptual validation, partner’s behavioral validation, and progress towards the ideal self. The situation mentioned in the partner’s perceptual validation is the extent to which the partner realizes and correctly perceives his partner’s ideal self. For example, imagine you have a partner with a shy personality. Your partner is tense in social environments and does not feel comfortable in these environments. But your partner doesn’t like to be shy in his ideal and wants to be an assertive person. If you notice your partner’s desire and effort to be assertive, you have perceptual approval.
When your perceptions and behaviors start to align with your partner’s ideal, you begin to shape your partner’s ideal self, revealing behaviors that are consistent with their ideal self. At the end of this process, when your perceptions and behaviors are compatible with your partner’s ideal self, the partner’s behavioral approval process begins with verbal expressions and affirmations. If we go through the example, you notice that your partner is attempting to relate to people in a social environment, and you support him by holding his hand or directing your partner to a subject that he or she will feel more comfortable talking about, that is, you approve of his behavior. In this way, you can ensure that the behavior and personality traits of your partner’s ideal self emerge. With behavioral confirmation, as your partner begins to reveal his ideal self by sculpting his self, the self-movement towards the ideal self takes place, and the process of progress towards the ideal self, which is the last stage, begins.
The Michelangelo effect, which enables the partners to reach the ideal self, may occur consciously in the process or may develop through unconscious behaviors. This process supports the personal development of the partners bilaterally and contributes to the creation of the best version of you and your relationship.
exp. Ps. Damla KANKAYA
Psychology Student Tuğçe YILDIRIM
Akkoyun, F., & ERSEVER, H. Ö. (1989). Evaluation of the ideal self. Ankara University Journal of Faculty of Educational Sciences (JFES), 22(2), 675-686.
Taluy, N., & Sunal, AB (2012). The Michelangelo Phenomenon in Close Relationships: Partner Affirmation as Sculptor of the Ideal Self. Turkish Psychology Articles, 15(29), 57.