One of the most beloved stories of Hollywood cinema, in various variations, describes a situation where a callous father forces his creative, freedom-loving son to settle down and become a lawyer – that is, to push his desires further and satisfy his father s claims. American idealism draws its own natural happy ending, in which the son proves to everyone what a fine fellow he is, that he bravely followed his heart and achieved happiness, and did not fall for his father s direction. And such a contrasting confrontation of personal will against someone else s clearly reflects the conflict in the minds of most people, where their own insides hysterically bend under the pressure of external ideals.

If the will of ideals wins, a person languishes from meaninglessness and longing for the unrealizable – something important, but long forgotten in his gray everyday life. If the gut wins, the person faces the threat of being a lonely black sheep, kicked out of the social “matrix” for his otherness.

To fully accept such a challenge and feel deprived of public support for a formed personality, by virtue of its nature, is like death. Therefore, there remains a golden mean, where a person, at least, understands the social “language” and forms qualities useful for society.

In this sense, it would be possible to be one hundred percent yourself only in some kind of magical vacuum, where all desires are realized by a wave of thought without any annoying obstacles. And in our “angular” world we have to live with an eye on the conditions and really available opportunities. Otherwise, the world “punishes”. That is, we ourselves, acting carelessly, punish ourselves, running into these very “conditions”. I m not talking about physical reality with its clearly solid objects, but about that fuzzy world where the personality resides – the world of ideas.

The ideas that a healthy person operates with are realistic – they express what is happening. If the personality does not satisfy the ideas about what is happening, it plunges into a personal psychic cinema, where he draws himself a performance of his own Napoleonic scale. The deeper this immersion, the weaker the contact with the “real”. The weaker the contact with the real, the more intense the internal conflict between the desired and the actual.

I m not talking here about some mentally ill asocial personalities. It s about all of us. Everyone, to varying degrees, rushes between love for real life and falling in love with what they want. In essence, this is the difference between love and being in love.

Idealization in a relationship

Idealization in a relationshipTo put it simply, love is when you like what is. And falling in love is when something that is not like it, but somewhere “out there”, on the backs of the mind, an “ideal” goal appears, designed to change what is, bending it to its ideal standards. In this sense, falling in love is the opposite of love – it does not accept the present, but denies it for the sake of a goal.

Therefore, lovers are always waiting for something: changes, special attention and care, so that their rosy ideals are satisfied. That is, a lover does not love a real person at all. Blinded by anticipation, he does not even notice who is in front of him, whimsically toils and waits for the chosen one to fulfill his dream – to become the “right” loved one in accordance with the ideal format.

The feelings and desires of the object of love are not taken into account – they are just absurd obstacles on the way to the goal. Falling in love does not allow objections to its ideal. And when a real person begins to hinder the realization of the expectations imposed on him, resentments and accusations of the poor quality of reciprocal feelings fall in his direction.

And it is surprising to the lover that the beloved does not understand that “everything is so simple, and you just need to meet“ love ”- so important and“ bright ”that it is not even possible to admit its falsity. In fact, the “bright” feelings of a lover are a capricious, childishly naive anticipation of the realization of their most coveted fantasies.

Therefore, in other respects, such a paradoxical situation occurs when a partner who is really loving is perceived as cold and callous, but a lover with his variegated emotions in fact does not even notice a real person, and, rather, on the contrary, does not love, that is why he remakes with intoxicated captiousness …

As always, I deliberately exaggerate and exaggerate in order to emphasize the implicit.


BlindnessFalling in love acts similarly to a drug – it allows you to cover up the inner emptiness – the fear of life without ideal supports, and causes severe withdrawal when the “drug” leaves the zone of access. But the lover refuses to acknowledge the reality until the very end, because his hopes are so grandiose, and his feelings are so “holy” … Until reality pushes them through and through, bringing down merciless facts on fabulous dreams.

However, the collapse of unrealistic hopes does not allow everyone to draw constructive conclusions. The unlucky lover begins to think that the whole point is in the injustice of life, which has coldly deprived the dream of relying on. Or an inferiority complex enters into force, and then a person bends over from a feeling of his unworthiness, they say, he simply did not deserve happiness due to his innate mental defect.

Almost no one succeeds in taking and dealing with their idealism. This mechanism seems to be deeply rooted in the psyche of literally everyone. And the degree of realism, where a person does not chase rainbow chimeras, but looks closely at life, even among the most adequate people is very relative.

And love … There is nothing transcendent in it. This is a real pleasure, without any embellishments and painful expectations. No pathos and pathos.

But ask the layman about the difference between love and being in love, and in response they will say that love is one for life, inexorable and eternal, and there are many in love. That is, they say, as a rule, everything is about the same blind idealization, but raised to a superlative degree.

But we can also love what we have very conditionally. On, a number of articles are devoted to the topic of mental projections. Let me remind you briefly that life as we know it is a set of subjective understandings. Therefore, love happens to a person when her picture of the world resonates in accordance with what is happening. A person is able to love when, with all his aspirations, he calms down and quietly allows everything to be as it is.

Love is acceptance of what is happening. Falling in love is compensation for dissatisfaction with what is happening. Love agrees, love demands.

Idealization in business

Up! Roughly the same mechanisms, at times, act no less dramatically in all spheres of life. In this sense, two types of social activity can be distinguished. The first is motivated by the improvement of the current situation. The second is the joy of the very process of activity. For example, one artist is an idealist and paints to achieve perfection. The second works by vocation, and draws, because drawing is high for him.

And if the “future artist” is still dreaming of devoting himself to creativity, postponing the initiation again and again indefinitely, we can safely state the initial degree of “falling in love” – that is, idealism that requires achieving beautiful goals without taking into account the real inclination to achieve them.

Wanting to become strong, learn useful skills, move, win, bet on the future and do nothing for years … Sound familiar? To varying degrees, such a pseudo-love for their undertakings is familiar to everyone.

An artist by vocation does not dream of anything like that. He just draws because he loves to draw. And that s all. He does not need any rosy fantasies about future glory and laurels for this. In reality, of course, everything is multifacetedly intertwined, and the joy of the process can easily be mixed with idealistic goals.

Similar “motives” can be traced in the religiosity of the East and West. Eastern teachings encourage you to pay attention to the processes, without being distracted by the mind by hallucinations of future goals. Western religiosity is closer to blind moralization – a pointer to ideals that are supposed to be aligned. And if it doesn t work out, you are supposed to repent of your sinfulness.

Dissatisfaction with oneself is the “fuel” of the neurotic in the pursuit of phantom happiness. The advantageous side of the approach is the sweet taste of hope, and some kind of activity fueled by this hope. And there is a whole arsenal of negative sides. Failure to conform to ideals results in self-flagellation, hope turns into hopelessness and disappointment, and the picture of a wonderful future turns to dust every now and then.

Therefore, it is not so important what to do, as long as the process itself is satisfying. And if an occupation is frankly unpleasant and is used as a forced means to an end, no peace of mind can be seen.

“The Shawshank Redemption”

Escape from the ShawshenkoDissatisfaction with what is happening and striving for future goals can spur to movement. But such a movement is inevitably filled with resistance, the insides, due to suppressed desires, turn stale, and the hands drop. It seems that I want to go, but the path is painful and tortured.

The exceptions are goals, which, like acute falling in love, are idealized, charged with impenetrable hope. And in some situations, this approach is quite justified. Literary examples: The Count of Monte Cristo, The Shawshank Redemption. The main characters of these books, overcoming the hardships of imprisonment, lived for the sake of future freedom and wealth – a kind of crown of idealization.

Workaholics-careerists, perfectionists, all kinds of admirers of spiritual and worldly teachings, representatives of MLM business and other fanatical dreamers are addicted to a similar type of “fuel”.

Stable hope feeds their path to the future “light” and at the same time encourages them to start from realities, as if from yesterday s step, overgrown with meaninglessness. And now, if the path leads to a dead end, the fanatic feels as if he is stuck, as in prison, in his ordinary life, devalued by colorful ideals. A rollback into despair and depression is the threat of this stage.

Such, similar to the acute stage of falling in love, idealization in business is rather an exception. Most often they move to the “better” sluggishly, make a forced step forward, get tired quickly, try to get down to business again, and retreat with rejection. Then, they begin to humiliate themselves again for evading the “right” deeds, in order to take another forced step out of a sense of guilt.

And after all, no one gives guarantees of achieving the “ideal”, and most importantly – the predicted happiness from its acquisition. Therefore, chronic disappointments along this path are included by default.

IdealizationIdealization is an ambiguous matter. Like a deal with the evil one, it encourages “to sell the soul” in exchange for blissful anticipation. And in some cases, the deal seems to burn out when the idealist achieves outward success. But happiness from him lasts, as a rule, in the region of five minutes. Further, either disappointment, or new ideals.

The idealist believed that success would allow him to finally begin to live, enjoying the process of being. But it is not possible to guarantee oneself a love of life after reaching the next buoy. Therefore, it is easier, and maybe wiser, to pay attention to affairs and hobbies that bring joy in the present.

But what about a Shawshank prisoner? Passively resign or hammer the tunnel to freedom? Personally, I do not see an unequivocal answer to this question. In extreme situations, any clue, any meaning that gives support, can turn out to be a thread to salvation.

But sometimes it is worth loosening the grip of ideals, and suddenly it turns out that there is no confinement: “devastation is not in the closets, but in the heads”, but in life – “everything in its right place.” Otherwise, continuing the metaphor, one has to sympathize with the rich with suicidal tendencies.

All this, of course, is a very simplified description, from which many exceptions can be deduced if desired.

© Igor Satorin

Other articles on this topic:

  • How to love yourself
  • How to motivate yourself to do something
  • Fear of mistakes, fear of the future
  • Love and relationships: on the surface in depth

Anyone who has not seen the adaptation of The Shawshank Redemption, I recommend it. The film is on the 1st place in the rating of “KinoPoisk”.

By the way about the leisurely contemplation of the East. Two years ago I went to visit friends living in Bangkok. I was surprised how leisurely and calm life the metropolis is. People are walking to work. And for all the time I saw only one irritated person – some European was talking on the phone, apparently with another European.

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