Like so many of us, I used to wonder what was so wrong with me.
I was convinced there must be something wrong with me!
What I eventually came to realize was that he didn’t change at all; it was that I had created an image of him that he simply couldn’t live up to.
Of course it wasn’t only him. No, the truth was that I knew nothing about being real either.
The only way I believed it was possible to be loved was to become what someone else wanted me to be. I had to crack their code, figure out what it was they wanted from me and then become exactly that.
I knew of no other way to be in a relationship.
I was an image, too.
And so it was only natural that our relationship was an image; that he – and what he could offer me - was an image.
It became my secret project. As long as I saw his potential, as long as he gave me some hope of what was possible, I hung onto that hope, believing that at some point it would have to work.
Until it didn’t.
No wonder the heartbreak was so great. I was mourning not only the loss of a relationship, of what I thought was love, but the loss of a dream, of that perfect image, that perfect relationship, I had created in my own mind.
I was always absolutely certain he was everything he had the potential to be, everything I had him made out to be, if only he’d been able to live up to it.
I never saw him for who he was right there in front of me; instead I saw who I knew he could be if only he wanted to be, if only he could see it too.
It wasn’t only heartbreak; it was pure failure. To me it meant that I wasn’t enough to make him want to be that man I knew he could be; the man I needed him to be.
No wonder I was left so confused. The real person he revealed himself to be in the end had been so buried under the image I’d made of him, there was no hope of recognition.
Since I had no idea of what it meant to be real, to be true to myself, there was no way I could allow him to do the same.
When you’ve lived your entire life struggling to be an image of what someone else wants you to be, nothing is ever as it seems. You learn to substitute the source, but the result is always the same. Never what actually is, but always what you believe it has the potential to be.
We lose ourselves in that image, in those plans, in those dreams that are all about trying to find ourselves, even if we don’t see that until it’s too late.
It doesn’t have to be this way.
If it’s real, if you’re real, you’ll eventually see truths that support the ephemeral words. Real life behaviors and actions that reveal who someone really is, not merely what you want or need them to be.
Have the courage to give up the image in exchange for the only kind of love ever worth having; the real kind. That’s something that no image can ever live up to, no matter how amazing the illusion may be.
How about you - have you ever made the mistake of falling in love with someone's potential, instead of seeing the relationship for what it really was? Share your story with us here in the comments!