We once had a dear friend who told us the only thing standing between her and a burgeoning book deal was just the right man to push her to the laptop. "I just know if I had a boyfriend I'd finish this book," she said. Falling in Love with Love
Needless to say, we rolled our eyes and muttered "LAZY!" under our breath. You need a man? To fulfill a personal goal? As much as our independent nature shivers at the thought, a recent study out of the University of London proves she might (might) be onto something. "The Michelangelo Phenomenon" featured in the December issue of the journal Current Directions in Psychological Science, aims to prove that couples do indeed have the ability to sculpt their partners into their own idealized versions. Positive affirmations on goals where your significant other is most self-conscious about improving or excelling, might be just the right push to mold them (if you will) into becoming their own Alpha male or female. Success Puts Strain On Marriage According To Singer David Gray
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As with most things, however, one must actually pay attention to their honey and figure out where exactly it is they truly need the encouragement. A lazy, off-the-cuff "look how smart you are!" may not do the trick when they're working up the nerve to take the LSAT's or ask for that promotion at work. Likewise, don't tell your knock-out girlfriend how hot she looks when she's trying to appear branier and brush up on her vocabulary. Is He Smart Enough For You?
As the study says, via EurakaAlert.com:
The Michelangelo effect is not simply about supporting your partner, nor is it about promoting what you think your partner's ideal self should be. The Michelangelo studies show that close partners sculpt one another's traits and skills and promote, versus inhibit, one another's goal achievement. Just as the sculptor chisels, carves and polishes away flaws in the stone to reveal the ideal form, so do skillful partners support their loved ones' dreams, aspirations and the traits they hope to develop, such as completing medical school or becoming more fluent in a second language or more sociable. Supporting a partner's image of his ideal self, whether it is a vague yearning or a clearly articulated mental representation, helps the loved one reduce the discrepancy between the actual self and the ideal self."
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As with most of these flowery studies touting the miraculous benefits of a solid partnership, you must actually be a caring and empathetic person for this to work, of course. The researchers note that some are "better sculpters" then others, while we'd assume others are just downright awful; letting their loves just metaphorically disintegrate into piles of shapeless clay. Bad Relationships May Be Genetic
Which, if nothing else, may just be another thing to keep in mind when significant other shopping. Especially if you want to finish that book. 4 Things Happy Couples Know