When we view something as an ideal, we value it and move toward it. An ideal is a goal without a deadline. It is a lighthouse that guides us in our choice of direction, not a destination we are trying to reach. Appreciating another person, as they are, is a way of viewing them as an ideal current version of themselves while recognizing they are moving in a developmental direction.
The act of idealizing a person is not meant to illusionally disregard that person’s struggles, missteps, or unskillful actions. It means to know those parts of that person deeply also and to view the entire package of a human being in a developmental progression through his or her own personal life and to appreciate and celebrate that person in process.
We can do this for ourselves and we can idealize other people as well. The experience of being deeply and accurately known and then being accepted and appreciated is fundamental to our well-being and our growth. Coming to understand ourselves clearly and recognizing the reasons behind our choices gives us an inner stability that arms us to meet the ups and downs of everyday life.
There will be, to be sure, people with whom we may not wish to interact. There will be people with value systems we cannot begin to feel comfortable with. Here I am talking about the unusual circumstances where we have the privilege of getting to know someone well, over a long period of time, and we become aware of the big picture of that person, with their quirks and foibles.