Remind yourself of a situation where you had a difficult time of staying where you are or letting go. This could be a person or a place. It could be a job where things are okay but you’re not particularly happy, it could be a relationship that doesn’t completely feel right, it could be a friendship that’s being held on by a thread.
This grey area of “things are okay but not quite where I want them to be” is one of the most anxiety-inducing situations we may face. It feels right some days, it doesn’t feel right other days. It feels hopeful one day, but feels awful the next day. You’ve spent your days and months trying to “fix” the situation in whatever capacity that is in your control, but the results seem far from feeling like they should.
To believe in the potential of people, or even situations, is a very noble idea. We want something so badly that our vision is clouded with “what could have been,” instead of “what it is.” And sometimes this leads to a dangerous path.
What is so dangerous about “potential” though? Isn’t it a good thing to believe that things can change? I wish the answer to this question was simply black or white which is what makes it so hard to let go of something you desperately wish to hold on to.
At some point, you need to stop waiting for “potential” to change your life and start noticing patterns. The truth of any situation is that you cannot control the other person’s actions. What you have done in your power, to address a problem, to bend over backwards, to be involved in a solution, is futile when the other person doesn’t do their part. And to recognize this, takes courage.
What leaves us stuck in situations that are unchanged is the belief that people will become who we envisioned they could be. But to look at the other side is heartbreaking – what if they don’t? And unfortunately, that’s not in our control.
We stay stuck because we believe “what if we can’t find better?” Or “what if it changes?” At that point you have to open your eyes and look at the patterns you’ve been shown.
Potential is sneaky. A little bit like nostalgia. It makes us believe that there’s hope because we are so afraid to let go of a part of our life that’s given us good, and we’re not ready for it. So we continue to hold on, causing more damage than the acceptance of letting go.
Being a fixer is a battle. You give it your all until you’re depleted of energy for people who won’t see what they’re losing. You exhaust yourself, your options, your worth, for things that continue to remain unchanged. In that moment of exhaustion, find the courage to ask yourself “is this doing any good?” And if that answer is no, stop believing in potential. Remind yourself that you did what you could. And surrender.