Potential vs Reality- Why You Should Pay Attention To the Reality and Not His Potential To Be Successful in Love
You can envision his potential, whether it is spiritual, emotional, or career- related. Has this potential ever entranced you? Has it inspired you to fall in love with his future self?
Occasionally we enter into relationships based on someone’s potential. Sometimes that gamble pays off. Other times, reality eventually comes crashing down. For example, you might meet someone with great spiritual potential. He may have psychic abilities that are just budding. You can easily envision that flower fully bloomed and glorious. So you enter into that relationship only to find that, a year later, the spiritual bud has not bloomed; it still remains a potential.
The root of the word potential itself is powerful: potent.
As a caring, loving, empathetic caretaker, it is easy to love a man with vast potential. It can be a heady aphrodisiac to see how incredible he might become—especially if you can help him get there. He might really need you.
It is addictive to be needed. It seems to give your life much more meaning.
Unfortunately, this is a dangerous practice and a self-defeating behavior. It falsely feeds your self-concept to be important, to be necessary for someone to reach their potential. You need to focus on yourself, bettering your own life, not caretaking a fixer-upper boyfriend.
To spot a fixer-upper man and avoid dating him is one of the best things you can do for your dating life. Instead of taking the focus off of you and putting it on Mr. Potential, you can cultivate your best self. Then you can date men who have also cultivated their best selves. Won’t that be nice? A lovely, self-actualized man who is living his potential as your date. Aim for that. Settle for nothing less.
Understanding what you’ve actually got instead of what you could have requires discernment. Consider this table:
Discerning Potential From Reality
aspires to be an activist
big unemployed dreams
overly appreciative of other women
great dad material
playful but irresponsible
thoughtful and calm
stoned and not present
handsome Adonis type
Developing discernment takes confidence in yourself and a commitment to listen to your intuition. Self-observation also helps. Notice how you react and feel around certain people. The flutter in your chest plus a slight sense of being off balance you felt with the boyfriend who ended up being unsupportive and using drugs may be the signal to watch for next time. Use your knowledge of your emotional and physical sensations to your advantage. Choose to discern the reality of situations.
Can he become the man of your dreams? Potential made into reality requires two key ingredients: drive and willingness to grow.
Drive is the intention and focus to make intentions and action happen—the effort. It takes drive to move from potential (no mat- ter how great) to reality. Discerning who has that drive and doesn’t can help you in myriad ways.
In your dates, you can spot this in their relatively graceful acceptance of constructive suggestions (usually not given by you, especially in the early stages of a relationship) coupled with steps taken to make changes as needed.
For example, if your date tells a story about how at work a colleague gave him some constructive criticism to make sure to always call customers back by the next day and he accepted it and put the suggestion into practice, that would be a sign that he has the drive to reach his potential.
On the other hand, if he tells a story how once when his boss gave him suggestions for improvement, he spent the next week calling in sick to use up his leave time before quitting, not only did he not show graceful acceptance of constructive suggestions, he also acted in a passive- aggressive way. Not good.
When a man has drive, it is apparent pretty quickly. Does he seem confident in his ability to make things happen and shape his reality? A guy shows his confidence in tons of little ways: the way he guides you through a crowd with a gentle touch, the way he takes action when it is needed. For example, suppose he decides his car is due to be replaced. He researches cars. Decides his price range. Figures out which one or two he wants. Goes to the dealership and makes it happen. Little hemming and hawing occurs, just action preceded by appropriate thought and consideration. That is the type of guy you want to date.
You also need to feel confident in your ability to shape your real- ity. You have a much better chance of attracting a partner with this quality if you are striving to exemplify it as well!
Willingness to Grow
A fluid and evolving view of the universe lets us accept and embrace change in our lives and ourselves. This fluid view can make the difference between potential and reality. The guy who is willing to grow wants to realize his full potential. He will work to make that happen. Discerning whether a man has this quality will help you decide whether he is someone you can grow with. How does your guy deal with change? Does he seem to roll with it well? On a date, notice how flexible your guy acts. Does he go with the flow as plans change? Does he talk about his personal growth process? The way he worked through issues with his parents or the growth that came out of a past relationship?
An impetus and openness to growth is a valuable trait in a partner. If he can feel safe when things need to change, then he can roll with life’s ebbs and flows and be there for you when you need to change. He won’t fear your change, growth, or evolution; he will embrace it. What a major benefit in a relationship if both people feel safe with change. Life will be less fearful and more peaceful.
With your date, find out by asking and observing:
Does he feel safe when things need to change? Is his reality rocked? How much? It is human to fear the unknown a little bit, but how does your date (and potential long-term partner) manage that uncertainty? Is he willing to grow and change to better himself and enhance his spiritual development?
Over time, hints will show up to inform you whether your dates are proficient in this skill. Some hints will come in stories of his life that he tells. How has he grown over the years? Does he tell stories of a quiet, shy, isolated youth who faced up to those self-conscious moments and become a great friend to many? Other hints will show up in life together, when plans change, or when major family events happen. Does he deal with his emotions and open himself to change?
Potential in Your Past
Have you dated or married someone based on their potential? Who? Ask yourself these questions about each experience:
1. What attracted you to him?
2. What reality were you hoping the two of you would arrive at when this potential was realized?
3. Did that happen?
Now look at your answers.
If dating a man with potential hasn’t worked out for you and you’d like to avoid it in the future, how might you do that? During the dating process, ask yourself if you are looking at your date’s potential or if he has manifested its reality. For example, if he talks about spirituality and nature with you does he actually meditate or belong to a journey group? Does he walk his spiritual talk? Are his words backed up by his actions? Use your discernment and see the reality of the situation and the person.
These two ingredients, drive and willingness to grow, cook up a conscious and motivated man, one who will put effort into a relationship, just like he does for himself and his life. He will also develop and expand as a person, allowing you to comfortably do the same. This guy might challenge you. He may gently call you on things sometimes. Make sure he always does this with love. Brusque guys are not usually the best partners for sensitive women. Know yourself and what is optimum for you in a partner. Ideally, a balance is best.
As spiritual women on a conscious path, you can choose a partner who is in reality a beautiful, enhancing match. When you encounter glorious potential, latent under the surface, you can honor it and respect its attractiveness, but choose a reality that is best for you.
Excerpt from The Spiritual Girl's Guide to Dating: Your Enlightened Path to Love, Sex, and Soul Mates by Amy Leigh Mercree and published with permission.
About the author
Amy Leigh Mercree is an author, media personality, and expert dating, relationship, & wellness coach and medical intuitive. She teaches workshops around the country. Mercree speaks internationally focusing on kindness, joy, and wellness.
Mrs. Mercree’s book The Spiritual Girl’s Guide to Dating: Your Enlightened Path to Love, Sex, and Soul Mates is THE empowered dater’s toolkit. Mercree is fast becoming one of the most quoted women on the web.
To know more about Amy, visit her website www.amyleighmercree.com.