How To Stop Idealising People


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If you’re a dreamer, chances are you idealize people. It’s wired in our natures. We live in a world of imagination and fantasy, and we can’t help but superimpose our glorious visions of perfection upon those around us.

This can sometimes cloud our judgment to an unhealthy extent. It’s a good thing to see the silver lining threaded through the soul of every human being, but we have to understand that not everyone is a marble statue of wonder. Often, upon closer inspection, we find cracks feathering through the structure of our idols, and the weathering of age upon their visages.

But disillusionment is not the only ramification of idealizing people. Idealizing is a veneer of pretty glitter. It distorts your vision. You see a goddess instead of a woman. You see a superhero rather than a man. And by doing so, you prevent yourself from truly getting to know other human beings.

I recall idealizing a boy in primary school to such an extent that I could not even speak to him, for fear of shattering the illusion. I had also blown out of proportion his good qualities, and made myself feel astronomically inferior. I regret that. Maybe I could have got to know a really friendly guy, but my fantasy-loving brain got carried away, and left me with only an fragmented illusion.

So, what can you do to fix this?

It’s hard to rewire our thoughts, especially since we live in a society where celebrity worship is, well, celebrated. People faint upon meeting their favourite actresses or getting their book signed from a famous author. This societal glorification, a large-scale projection of idealization, almost seems to tell us that human worship is okay.

Sure, you can love people for their public image and their work. But what you have to realise is that everyone is human. I mean it. Human. Raw. Sometimes ugly, sometimes beautiful.

The only way to stop idealizing the people you currently worship is to talk to them and get to know them. However, if the wall of illusion is already built, and you can’t stand tearing it down, you can prevent it happening in the future by changing your mindset.


By keeping in touch with your inner humanity. Now, this doesn’t mean feeling compassion for the creatures of this world – you have enough of that. It means seeing humans for what they truly are. They are not deities. They are just like you. No, seriously. Think about it. They are just like you. Sure, give or take some differences in terms of talent, money and looks, but, in the end, they’re human. We all cry. We all eat. We all hate. We all love. We are united by our common humanity. We all have horrible I-want-to-die days and blissful life-might-be-okay-after-all days. Yes. Everyone. That cute girl that sits behind you in class. Your favourite pop star. The president.

All I’m saying is, dear dreamers, that we’ve got to be careful and not create a land of jewel-soul beings of unparalleled perfection in which we’re the only sand-bag rag doll. It’s no good for forming true relationships, and no good for you, either, because you’ll just get up feeling terribly inferior.

And, hey, if you’re really struggling with pulling away the veil of moonbeams, just imagine the object of your idealization sitting on the toilet and pooping. And maybe not even with grace. Just the way you do it, slouched down on the toilet seat, playing on your phone. It’s a bit unsightly, but it works. That’s a sure fire way to drag the cloud down to earth.

But in all other respects of your life…

Keep dreaming.


10 thoughts on “How To Stop Idealising People

  1. Hi
    Sorry for bothering you with this but i really need some help.
    How do you do to meet new people? To make friends? 
    School has just started few days ago and there is a new guy in my class that seems to be nice… in an INFP way. But i can’t talk to him. I cant do small talk and im not interested in it and so does he. I’m afraid that i wilI spend the whole year without talking to him because of my shyness and social anxiety. I really want to know him. I dont want you to get the wrong idea, i am defenitely not thinking of him in a romantic way. I just cant believe that there is an infp in my class! After all this time finally there’s a chance for me to have an INFP friend! Yay It sounds too good to be true, and maybe i will get to know him and find that we have not that much in common, but i cant let this opportunity pass. I’m not idealizing him — i think i already know too much of him to idealize —  but he looks really Infp and nice and good harted and we have so much in common and he is not the stereotypical boy and he hates math and is very good at language and he is very intelligent and maybe i’m not enough for him and i will never find an infp friend but i would be a fool if i let pass this opportunity. Someone’s got to make this dream happen.
    (/^o^)/ yay i have an infp in my class!
    So… How do you do to make friends…?  Sorry if this doesnt have a very clear answer but i really need help from people who understand. This is my last year in this school and my last chance to befriend him. 

  2. You are so right, this is something that, as an INFP, I totally do. I always saw my husband, son and father as perfect. It is just recently that I started looking past the fantasy of perfection to see that they are all just men, who are trying to do their best, but are imperfect. I think though, my biggest problem is that I do the opposite with everyone else in the world. I was raised to think that people are horrible and are out to “get you”. Because of this, I have spent my whole life really hating people. I just can’t get past the feeling that people are evil. Good lord, I have tried.

    • I know exactly what you mean. I was raised that way as well – probably because of the financial situation I grew up in, which fostered a fear of the world and a sense of my own fragility. And also impatient landlords. I try to see the goodness in people as much as I can these days, though I’m still very, very reserved, and sometimes push people away without giving them a proper chance. I think I judge people too quickly sometimes, or that my own fear clouds my view of others. I know. I hate that I hate people sometimes, even though I know at the root of the animosity is simply fear. I think I’ll always have a tiny child inside of me, no matter how old I am, alone and in the corner, talking to her own shadows.

      • Is that a picture of you at the top of this post? You speak of the tiny child inside you, and I have to share.. The other night I was laying in bed trying to think about healing my very broken inner child. I took her aside and tried to assure her that everything was okay now, to let all those things in the past go, that I would protect her. I really tried. I guess these things need long time work, or else just acceptance..I don’t know. We are so alike, so vulnerable, although I don’t comment on all your posts, just know I’m reading them, and they resonate with me. It’s nice to not be alone.

      • I wish I could reach out and give you a hug. I feel like I really resonate with you as well. It’s astonishing how I feel more connected with people I’ve never met than those in real life. Mans comforting your inner child sounds like such a touching, delicate exercise. I might try it myself. Oh, and no, that’s not a picture of me. I might show myself someday, but for the moment, I’m fearful of someone I know stumbling onto my blog and discovering the darkness beneath my chipper exterior. It’s cowardly, but I like the anonymity the blog affords. That way, I can truly be myself, and spill out all the thoughts and neuroses and hopes and dreams that have gathered beneath my skin.

      • I fully understand your desire to be anonymous. I just closed my Facebook page, for the 100th time. I get so sad when I see how many friends other people have, even if they are only acquaintances. Sometimes I feel so alone, that I just want to go in the back of the world (wherever that may be) and sink in. I am really considering starting my own blog, but I don’t know what to write about. You bring up such interesting subjects, I was wondering if I could borrow from you? Just to continue on the subjects you bring up at times. If not, I fully understand, but I wanted to ask before I just did it.

  3. This is awesome!
    I love how you don’t beat around the bush. I got some experience with that phanomenon. It is the worst. Idealizing someone can be hurtful and soo stressful. Especially if it turns into an obsession which always happens to me. Not in a creepy way though. More in an “I’m-worthless-he/she’s-so-much-better-than-me” way which includes constantly trying to get attention from that person etc. It got even worse when I confused idealizing someone with loving someone. I thought I was gay because I idealized a girl. I only realized it wasn’t love when I finally got the attention from her that I was longing for. It almost felt like a punch in the face. Realizing she’s only a human made her less interesting. The second person I idealized was also a girl. I admired her because of our similar background. We both had a difficult time growing up and I was so damn impressed by how she handled all that history.
    Now I’m idealizing my teacher. Which I find interesting considering I only remember idealizing females. He teaches my favorite subject and seems to be seeing something in me. I’d love to talk to him but I’m always afraid he might tell me off. While idealizing someone is never enjoyable (at least not for me), in this case I try to benefit from it. Idealizing him makes me wanna improve my grades in his class. 😉
    So I just wanted to say thanks for your article! The idea of imagening the person you idealize sitting on the toilet and pooping is great, although I can’t let my thoughts go there.
    Hope I soon find my inner humanity.

    • Gosh! I have done the same thing, idealising older students and teachers! I remember idealising this English teach once, and getting the best grades I had ever gotten, because I thought he was so amazing (and I was scared of him telling off, too!’)
      Don’t worry, even if you can’t imagine them sitting on the toilet, it’s still easy, once you get older, to get rid of those feelings, because you gain more confidence in yourself an in the kind of person you are, so that other people seem less like perfect, unassailable human beings.
      Something that helped me overcome this, which I only recently learned, was God, because In his eyes, you are perfect, just the way you are; it really helps to give you a air of confidence others don’t have, a child of God. Hope that helps, and and take care, darling!

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