The Toxic Trait of Seeing People For Their Potential Instead of Who They Have Always Been
So-and-so would be so much better if only they just did [insert random thing here].
I imagine that line made you cringe, right?
So why do we feel the need to judge people as unfinished projects instead of accepting them for who they are?
Sometimes the reality of the situation is that the person in question will never change, no matter how many “helpful suggestions” we throw their way. And that’s fine. Who are we to think we may change someone, or demand that they change themselves to keep us happy?
If they end up adjusting their behaviour, that’s on them — but not because we said so. Or because we decided that would be best for them.
Seeing someone as a work in progress is actually pretty insulting, if you think about it. That suggests they aren’t enough as they are already — because if they were, we would accept them.
But we don’t.
How about finding someone who fits our criteria in the first place, rather than trying to fix someone who clearly doesn’t match our standards?
Or perhaps not, because most of the time the harsh lesson we need to learn is that we can’t rely on someone else to make to us happy.
We can wait until they get a new job, or they lose weight, or their family accepts us, or they finally get over their ex, or for the right moon phase. Or whatever. None of that matters in reality.
We have to find peace all on our own and not wait until the external situation changes for us to feel better.
If it does, great. They can add to our personal happiness, yes, but they can’t be the one responsible for our feelings. That’s far too much pressure to put on another human being.
They are not our parent and we are not children anymore.
Maybe that’s it. We instinctively understand that we’re looking for validation in all the wrong places, so we try to control the situation so it doesn’t hurt as much when we don’t find it.
All we know is — we’re working on it.