“Potential” Part Deux: The Slippery Slope
This is a follow-up post to this week’s earlier post exploring: The Secret Pain of “Potential”. I realized it was important to address not only what this self-inflicted “potential” does to us, but what it does to our loved ones.
As we saw in the previous post, when we believe we have a “potential” to live up to, and we’re not there yet —
we abandon ourselves, right here and now. We shut ourselves down, we judge ourselves, we measure ourselves up. In our thought that we could be so much more, we believe we are not ENOUGH right now, just as we are.
Now imagine your child, or your partner, or your friend, or your parent, or sibling or whomever it may be – and take a moment to look at them, picture them in your mind and really look at them. Be very honest with yourself and see if there is any place that you are looking at that person in terms of their “potential”, instead of looking at them and appreciating them as they are NOW.
Maybe you want them to do some spiritual work, maybe you think they are capable of so much more than they are doing, maybe you think they should get healthier and take better care of themselves, maybe you think they shouldn’t be so negative, maybe you think they should work a little harder towards what you “know will make them happier”.
And what happens when you believe they’re not quite living up to their potential in these ways? How do you treat them?
The same way you treat yourself when you believe these things about yourself, that’s how.
I’ll tell you how I treat them when I am believing thoughts like these, because I’m not afraid to get honest with myself about what goes on in my mind anymore. I realize now that mind is not personal, it does what it does, it’s my work to recognize what it does and do some after-party clean-up. :) When I believe that someone I love is not living up to their potential in any of those ways that I described above: I become narrow in my mind, I shut down to that person, I become judgmental and controlling in my mind – even if not out loud, I am out there with the story of their potential in my mind, and nobody is here with me, OR with THEM! I feel sad and helpless, or maybe angry and frustrated, or scared, or even terrified, and I’m sure that they can FEEL that judgement and uneasiness in my presence, even if I don’t say a word. I am not HERE for them NOW. I am unavailable to myself, and to them – and all because I believe that some future potential of theirs, is more important than this moment.
When we believe this, we believe that a story of a future is more important than the real person that is standing in front of us now, needing our love and presence more than anything else. With our minds and our wordless judgement we tell them they are not ENOUGH as they are right now. Even if that’s not what we really think, even if we love them more than words can say, that’s what we’re saying energetically, when we believe these thoughts. And that doesn’t JUST hurt them, it hurts us.
Because we ARE love, and it hurts not to be that Love that we are. It hurts to shut down to the reality of the present, because LIFE IS REALITY. When we shut down to reality, we shut down to life.
Life and love are synonymous to me, they are the fabric of existence. Any part of it that we deny, is a part of ourselves that we deny, because we are ALL OF THIS.
We are all of this beauty… and all of this mess.
So the next time you’re thinking that you, or someone you love, is not living up to their potential, just pause for a moment, and ask yourself who you are abandoning in the name of this “potential”. If you are out there in your mind with “potential” (yours or someone else’s) – who is here with you? Who is here with them?
Nobody, that’s who.
Presence is the only thing that heals. The true presence of your whole-beautiful self. When you are that presence, you bring that presence out in the “other”. You make space for it, you allow it to rise, and you nurture peace and kindness in this world because of that space-making.
Potential is just another guise designed to steal you away from this fullness. This grace and beauty at the center of you. Whether it’s your own, or somebody else’s, the fact is that potential is a killer of Love.
By dropping potential, you drop into your Center, and from there a powerful action begins to unfold.
Love and peace become the force for change, instead of righteous indignation, or WILL.
I have come to see that unconditional love is the only thing that is effective.
And I will work for the rest of my life to remove any barriers that stand between me and that truth.
I will shine a light on the dark spots, until I can see them for the gifts that they are.
This is my life’s work.
Oh yes… THIS is my life’s work.