Idealizations: Claim Your Positive Attributes and Grow Your Self Esteem
The next time you find yourself appreciating someone, stop and notice the positive qualities you observe in them. Do you see your mother’s compassion, your father’s strength, Oprah’s generosity? Pay attention to this. Notice that when you find yourself really in admiration of someone, you are easily able to see and identify all the amazing qualities they embody. When you next find yourself idealizing someone, stop and really explore the specific qualities that are present.
Kindness, integrity, patience, self-reliant, poised, thoughtful, wise, loyal, loving… there are so many to choose from!
For example, I often marvel at my husband. I witness his ability to be present with the people he loves, to open his heart and to not be afraid of the raw emotion coming up inside of him. I think he is so brave to be that vulnerable and I find it so very beautiful. His vulnerability brings people closer to him.
When I witness him in this space and I idealize the beauty of his expression, I identify with it. By identifying with it I am bringing it forward within myself, knowing that I wouldn’t be able to even spot these qualities in him if they were not also present within me. Life is a mirror! Among my coaching friends we often say, “You See it, You Be It!” (Or, you spot it, you got it!).
Now, (and this next part is often missed!) when I admire, the opportunity is being presented to me to own these qualities within myself. To claim them as part of myself. To acknowledge that I too can open my heart and be present with others. That I too have the ability, capacity and the willingness to allow my emotions to surface and to just BE with them. I too can be present and vulnerable, thus creating connection with others.
This psychological phenomenon is called a projection. It’s a process by which we observe something in another and we disassociate ourselves from it because we are unwilling to recognize it in ourselves, let alone own it as part of us. It’s often a defense mechanism conjured up by our ego, and sometimes occurs when a conflict arises between your unconscious feelings and your conscious beliefs. In order to dissolve the conflict, one attributes these feelings to someone or something else. When we are finger pointing or assigning blame, the same type of thing is happening (but that is a whole different article).
Exploring projections in the positive, however – or what I call “idealizations” – are a way we can enter into self-acknowledgement and own our many gifts.
The benefits of owning your positive projections is a wonderful way to:
- Identify your own positive qualities
- Acknowledge that those qualities exist within you
- Through ownership of them, build (fortify) your self-esteem
- Grow your confidence by embracing these qualities as your gifts, talents and abilities.
The next time you find yourself in admiration and idealization with someone, slow down and make the inner inquiry. What is it that I love so much about this person? What are the positive qualities I recognize in them? Then, stop and realize that those same qualities exist inside of you. Acknowledge these idealizations and let the self- love flow. For a list of qualities and an actual process on Idealizations click HERE.