But What If They Changed?
The loss of what could be, rather than what IS
What we can mourn more than an actual person, is the loss of what we thought could be with them. I had a long distance boyfriend years ago. I loved him SO MUCH. We spent HOURS—literal hours—fantasizing about our future life. What we would do, how we would spend our afternoons, what evenings would be like with our kids, the cars we'd drive, the house we'd live in, the sex we'd have, the vacations we'd take, to who would check us in at the airport and how cute we would be with our travel gear. I spent SO MUCH TIME in this make believe world I had created with him, that I don't think I even saw my reality. And here was the reality in this specific case; he wouldn't be done medical school for YEARS to come, wouldn't marry me because of religious differences, we would never live together, never mind have children, or travel to all the destinations we talked about. The reality was, we also fought—a lot. DAILY. And we'd argue over the kids we didn't even have. The marriage we hadn't even consumated yet.
And when I lost this relationship... a part of me had felt like it died. Our dreams can be more precious to us than an actual person or place. Think of when someone gives up on their dreams, how devastated they are. OUR DREAMS KEEP US GOING WHEN IT IS OTHERWISE DARK. The brain is very powerful. And so is the spirit. Here's why—sometimes, when we think we love someone SO MUCH, and the reality of them isn't the greatest, we will fabricate a whole world of, "when he/she says this/does this/gets this/changes this, ALL WILL BE WELL." We wait for this magical day when all of a sudden dreams meet reality. The worlds finally meet and our hearts can rest.
My mom knew how much time I spent in la la land with this man. And she told me that having your dreams crushed can be more painful than actually losing the person. She was right. She was always right. If we cannot accept a situation we find ourselves in, or a person that we're with, IN THE MOMENT WE FIND OURSELVES IN WITH SAID PERSON OR EXPERIENCE. We are already doomed for disappointment and failure. You CANNOT rely on a person to change. A situation to change. Some things are what they are. They are who they are. Maybe you're waiting on your beautiful boyfriend to see how smart he really is, and go for that new job where he'd not only make more money, but be happier, and then you too, will be happier, and this doesn't happen—you are delaying your happiness in the moment and living in a FUTURE WORLD that does not exist. You are also not honoring who that person really is. And where they are.
While it is important to have a vision of what things could be or look like (how else would we achieve anything?), hinging our well being and happiness on these future places is where it is dangerous.
I wish I had just enjoyed my partner all those years ago. Instead of fighting with him about imaginary and fake things that weren't happening. I wish I had the wisdom to know that not everyone stays, and that is okay... even though it hurts.
Suffering happens when we cannot accept reality. And you can spend a life time in your head with fake people that do not actually exist. Potential is great only when it is YOUR potential to actually realize. Not others. As tough as this is to say, and even tougher to hear, no one owes you their growth at all.
Fall in love with who they really are. Not who you wish they'd be.