Potential

I had a realization this morning: I have always loved my family most for what they could be.

I wonder why? Did I get glimpses & then it would just go completely off the rails & then the process keep repeating? I believe so, yes.

And so it seems maybe I have found my reason for my “potential-seeking” behavior. As if I can simply love someone into the best version of themselves if they aren’t willing or capable of doing it on their own. I mean, the romantic in me wants to believe that’s kind of what a soulmate is — someone who makes you a better you and vice versa — but it’s supposed to be because you complement each other, how who they are makes you feel about who you are.

It is not because one person likes who the other is and wants to be like them in those ways, not because one person loves the other “enough” to somehow make it okay to be themselves but only around each other, and, contrary to every sports & prayer healing motivation, wanting it bad enough won’t get it done. It will just leave you brokenhearted over and over again.

Is it possible to escape the cycle of potential?

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2 Responses to Potential

  1. Yes, it’s possible. Taking the blinders off is REALLY HARD. I spent three years with somebody because I felt sure he could be a better version of himself, and with my love, he would be. I got so damn frustrated because it seemed obvious that one of us didn’t love the other enough for those changes to happen. This was stupid. Women are not reform schools. Love isn’t that magical.

    I had to learn that the mythical best version of him didn’t really matter, because who he WAS was intolerable. And the thing to do is to assume that who they are today is who they’ll always be. When you love somebody for today’s incarnation, you’re done.

    Being a better person with your soul mate just means you’re a shinier and more joyful version of yourself. It doesn’t mean that you change entirely to be smarter and more responsible and more apt to pick up your socks.

    I can also tell you from personal experience that when your parents love you this way for your potential self, it’s pretty effing hard to break the cycle or to get over their disappointment that you’re you. But of course that disappointment has nothing to do with you, because the potential person isn’t real.

    • dyskinesia says:

      I agree with everything you said. I don’t pick intolerable people though; I pick good people who truly want of their own accord to find their own potential. Codependency plays mean and various roles in there too: They want you to do it for them, you want to facilitate it, they expect it from you, you expect of them — a lot of which describes my relationship & marriage of 15 years, with other layers too of course. And when it isn’t someone intolerable, when it is someone you are actually able to love, it’s insidious.

      That isn’t to say the blinders can’t still be taken off there (see end of marriage), but even after they have been, it’s still very difficult. The more distance I get from it, the more I can look back and see things for something closer to what they were, but somehow that pain doesn’t necessarily stop the same types of mistakes, or flaws in my own character. Which is to say I think I’ve done a good job finding people now who are not the same person I married, but maybe I’m not having as much success with myself. (more later, duty calls)

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