The Beauty of Sublimation

Let's get to know about something that we all might be unknowingly applying .


The process of sublimation is aesthetically ethereal. It involves the diversion of the expression of an instinctual desire/emotion or impulse from its unacceptable form to one that is considered more socially or culturally acceptable. It has been regarded as a mature type of defense mechanism (and therefore civilization) in the field of Psychology. A lot of times the expression of our impulse or our instinctual desire to act in a particular way can be inappropriate with respect to the time and place. Therefore we hold back our primitive mode of reacting and act in a different way instead at that time.  Sublimation, however, gives us a way to vent out the held back reaction and express it in a more acceptable and appropriate way.

Both positive and negative emotions can be sublimated; the latter being done more frequently. An important characteristic of the desires or emotions which are sublimated might include their intensity and therefore need to be sublimated in order to release stress. The various positive emotions (or feelings) which are often sublimated include euphoria, hopefulness, delirium etc while the negative ones include gloom, despair, anger, loneliness etc. There are various ways in which these emotions or desires can be sublimated; these can be artistic, physical, spiritual etc. The physical manifestations of sublimation include various forms of exercises and workouts like running, weight training, cycling etc. The Spiritual manifestations of sublimation include meditation, praying, invocations etc. The artistic manifestation of sublimation includes activities like singing, sketching, painting, writing (poetry, books, songwriting etc.). Often there are various crossover manifestations of sublimations as well; these include dancing (physical-artistic), yoga (spiritual-physical) etc.

In today’s world, a large number of people have found a way to benefit from the process of sublimation not just in the conventional manner but also financially.  For instance, so many successful artists like writers, singers, songwriters etc. have found a way to capitalize on their own complicated feelings and impulses by writing books (fiction, autobiographies), songs etc; significant examples include best-selling author Paulo Coelho, multi platinum singer-songwriter Taylor Swift who is particularly famous for confessional style of songwriting. Another category of artists which have capitalized on this includes actors ;numerous actors have been known to enhance their performance by connecting and relating various scenes to similar situations in their own lives and have described the process as ‘liberating’. This has not only benefitted them artistically but has also added to their commercial value. Many sports stars have also used the process of sublimation for their aggressive urges to fight the ritualistic activities of formal competition, for example -Indian cricketer Virat Kohli.

Sublimation is an extremely important psychological phenomenon. The emotions and desires which are initially held back and restrained remain in the subconscious mind for some time and eventually get repressed , thus, finding their way to the unconscious mind due to being unattended. Repression of such desires and emotions can make things worse for us; overtime such multiple repressions into serious psychological conditions like anxiety, depression or some other disorder. It can cause heavy heartedness and in worse cases deep despair. This makes sublimation  extremely important as an outlet for pushed back and bottled up emotions ; thus providing  accommodation of the awkwardness of disruption of our mental picture of ‘how things should be’ and the resulting impulse. Such a process which lets us unwind and let go is highly beneficial and recommended because of its immense beauty.

Self composed