The following column is the opinion and analysis of the writer, Katharina Buczek.
Falling in love with someone’s potential does not necessarily mean you want to change them. On the contrary, you may have just recognized the best, most genuine characteristics of someone– and imagined all of the soaring places these shiny parts of their persona could take you as a couple.
There is nothing wrong with seeing the potential in anyone. In fact, it shows that you are a believer who loves so hard that your feelings transcend the present to wonder about a possible future.
Yet, the hardest part about loving someone “with potential” is the risk. Just like the stock market, a possible high “reward” is balanced by the opposite– a possibility that your investment will crash and burn.
So, if you fell head over heels for someone and were wide-eyed about the amazing possibilities, you are undoubtedly one thing: courageous. Maybe you were young and seemingly had your “whole life ahead of you.” At that point, the potential is at its maximum, and the only road is up, right?
Even in adulthood, you may have stumbled upon a person stuck in a less-than-optimal situation. But you recognized their sincerity, heart, and drive– wishing they would reach their full potential, achieve their dreams, and conquer the demons that had been following them for too long.
This way of loving is full-throttle, exhilarating, and daring. It comes with highs and lows that virtually no other relationship can provide. You could have fallen for someone who had everything together, who already knew themselves deeply and had a lot of the answers.
But you didn’t– and the idea that you both could grow and bloom together while figuring out life was wonderful. Well, until it all came crashing down.
The unfortunate truth about potential is that it is an unattainable idea. As people learn and navigate life, reaching higher heights than ever before, potential only grows. So, actually achieving your greatest potential is impossible– like a ceiling that continually rises the taller we get.