“Go and love someone exactly as they are. And then watch how quickly they transform into the greatest, truest version of themselves. When one feels seen and appreciated in their own essence, one is instantly empowered.” ~ Wes Angelozzi
When we think of the term “objectification” the most common idea that usually comes to mind is in terms of a sexual object. We hear countless stories of men who look at objects of their affection as a “piece of meat,” or women who collect lovers as if they are souvenirs from the places they have traveled to.
However, there are many other more common and less overt ways to objectify someone. In fact, it often is done by us or done to us on such a subtle level that we may not be able to identify it at first.
Just because we cannot pinpoint it happening, does not mean it is not having an effect on our relationships with others. In fact, the subtle ways in which we do it and have it done to us, once acknowledged and healed, can prove to have huge impacts on our inter-personal relationships and our overall life experience.
Identifying objectification, if or where it has played a role in our relationships, may just be that missing link that answers the question, “why is it that I just can’t reach this person?” Or “why is it that they don’t seem to ever receive what I am saying well?” Or also, “why is it that it seems like I can never really be fully myself around him/her?”
The Sneaky Way Objectification Plays a Part in our Relationships
“They say love is blind. I disagree. Infatuation is blind, love is all-seeing, and accepting. Love is seeing all the flaws and blemishes and accepting them. Love is accepting all the bad habits and mannerisms, and working around them. Love is recognizing all the fears and insecurities, and knowing your role is to comfort. Love is working through all the challenges and painful times. Infatuation is fragile and will shatter when life is not perfect. Love is strong and it strengthens because it is real.”
In it’s most simple explanation, to objectify is to treat or see someone as an object. As stated above, when we think of this term in relationship to sex or sexual conquests it is easy to see how one could view a person in a way that dismisses their true essence, but rather sees them as a number to add to their list or a “type” to brag about as a conquest.
However, objectification happens in so many other forms. If we can think of anytime we have reduced a person to a label or a role, then we can see how objectification shows up in forms other than just sexually.
Parents do it all the time when they refuse to see or listen to their children’s opinion because, “he’s just a kid he doesn’t know what he’s talking about.” People in marriages also can be heard saying things such as, “but you’re my wife/husband now! You can’t do that.” Even among friends we hear people say things such as, “Me and my gays will be attending your event!”
While all of these are fairly common statements to hear, you may not have realized how saying these types of things is the evidence that you may be objectifying people in your life. While they may not have the language or self-awareness to quite see what is happening to them, rest assured, when someone feels objectified they can feel it.
The feeling of someone not seeing you for who you really are but instead as the role you play in their life or the label they have attached to you, is the feeling of not truly being seen by someone. You most likely have heard this phrase in self-help books or from personal development teachers, “do you feel seen by others?”
Kids who do not truly feel seen by their parents will find ways to assert their independence, and most likely in ways that is alarming to their parents. Employees, friends or spouses who do not feel seen will often begin to harbor resentment as they increasingly feel pressured to live up to a role based in ideas vs. being truly recognized and appreciated for their unique talents and soul essence.
So how do we go about making sure we are truly being heard and seen from a sincere place by others in our lives? Also, how do we make sure that we are not doing this to our loved ones and causing friction in our relationships?
How to Heal the Tendency to Objectify Others
“If you are in the habit of creating suffering for yourself, then you are probably in the habit of creating suffering for others too.” ~ Eckhart Tolle
As with most things on a self-awareness journey the easiest way to heal or transform a pattern is to go within and self-inquire. As we heal and transcend patterns within our own psyche, the natural by-product is for it to be healed in our external reality.
In terms of objectification, we automatically heal our tendency to do it to others when we stop doing it to ourselves. Every time we beat ourselves up because “a mom/dad shouldn’t act that way,” or “a spiritual person wouldn’t have a thought like that,” or even, ” I’m someone’s wife/husband I shouldn’t portray myself like this,” we are objectifying ourselves.
“If you are content with being nobody in particular, content not to stand out, you align yourself with the power of the universe. What looks like weakness to the ego is in fact the only true strength. This spiritual truth is diametrically opposed to the values of our contemporary culture and the way it conditions people to behave.” ~ Eckhart Tolle
The quickest way in to self-awareness is to confront any definition of who we “should” be based on a label or a stereotype and experience ourselves for who and what we actually are.. which is simply presence.
Only the present moment exists, which means anything we have attached ourselves to with judgment is to deny the truth of who we are, which can only exist in this present moment.
Eckhart Tolle, explains it perfectly in the above quote where he explains that true power is in being “nobody” at all. Ironically the minute we give ourselves complete permission to just be… alive in this moment, we organically begin to give others in our lives permission to do the same.
The result is peaceful relationships where both parties feel seen, truly seen from an authentic place, heard from an open heart and truly loved from an immeasurable level of acceptance and unconditional love.
Osho Quote Pic- Made by Nikki Sapp
“I see you, do you see me?” pic made by Nikki Sapp