Yesterday I explained about how when we tell ourselves ‘stories’ about why we are with someone, why we think we feel so much for them and why we can’t let go of the relationship, these are ‘hooks’. They often inexplicably draw you to the person and common examples of them are money, status, pain and problems, regret, appearance, disinterest and rejection and sex and passion to name but a few.
“Hooks will become your ‘blind spots’ because they affect your ability to see the person in their entirety because you instead, allow these hooks to carry so much weight that they distort your perception of the relationship, them and even you….We latch or ‘hook’ ourselves onto something and then based on being attracted to it, we correlate it to the rest of the person and assume that they will possess other qualities and characteristics that someone we believe is ‘right’ for us will possess.”
While I will be doing a separate post to further discuss ‘unhooking’ yourself, it’s important to understand how you use potential to get hooked.
Over the years I’ve warned many women in particular, of the perils of betting on potential.
This is where you bet on the potential of what you think someone could be based on behaviour that they may have briefly exhibited at the beginning of the relationship or you bet on the potential of characteristics and qualities that you assume they have. You’re either stuck in the past wondering why they can’t go back to being what they were or stuck in the future, willing, waiting, and hoping for them to come good on realising your vision. If you’re a Florence Nightingale, partial to fixing, healing, and helping for instance, you’re the type of person that will see potential in pain and problems.
Realising a potential that you have envisioned for the relationship, even if there is evidence that suggests that you should abort the mission, is what hangs you off the ‘hooks’.
The more overactive your imagination and the less inclined you are to be actions focused and match them with words, is the more potential you will see in people and your relationships. If you don’t reconcile reality with your vision, it’s a bit like having a relationship with your ‘hooks’ or your imagination.
How does potential become so inflated?
When you are not aware of the importance of shared values and seeing the person as a whole instead of just the ‘good bits’, you will be inclined to do the following:
When you meet people that possess a quality or characteristic that you find attractive, you will take it and assume that as a result, that they must possess other qualities and characteristics that you like or associate with it. This is all based on another assumption that if we find someone attractive then it must mean that they are a person who possesses attractive qualities and characteristics.
This is particularly dangerous when you give the fact that you feel sexually attracted to someone too much credit because you assume that you and your sexual organs are great judges of character, i.e I wouldn’t feel so attracted to them if they weren’t so right for me or we didn’t have a connection or a lot in common.
How you make the leap from one or a few qualities and characteristics to suddenly believing that they and the relationship have potential is something that I’ve recently taken to calling ‘picturing’:
This is where you take pieces of information that you hear or see (hooks), make assumptions about the person and correlate it to the rest of them, and as a result of this information and the resulting assumptions, adjust your picture of the potential of the relationship.
Often when you do picturing, you use the powers of your imagination to convince yourself that this person is great and/or that the relationship is worth your effort.
You know when you find yourself going from not that interested to suddenly seeing major potential and feeling invested? This happens when you experience the ‘hooks’ and you then start ‘picturing’ and then suddenly the relationship has potential.
HOOKS + PICTURING = POTENTIAL FOR THE RELATIONSHIP
One reader told me how she was totally not interested in a guy but then he told her this really sad story and next thing you know she was picturing herself being the woman that would love him and make him feel whole again.
Another reader told me that she wasn’t really that interested in her Returning Childhood Sweetheart, especially because even if he was a great lay all the way back then, he was very self-absorbed and arrogant and she wasn’t even attracted to him anymore. However when he talked about buying a place in a particular part of the country that she liked, his job, his status at work and within the community plus his dropped hints about being eager not to be single for long, in spite of no actual interest, she was now imagining herself at his side as his wife!
Another common example:
You discover that you have a shared love of drinking fine wine, listening to obscure music from the somewhere-or-other mountains, and outdoor pursuits. They’re really attractive too. You assume that with the shared interests and physical attraction that you have a lot in common and picture yourself doing all this stuff together, settling down and living happily every after. However you’re bewildered when the relationship flounders. They don’t want to settle down. They lack integrity and sometimes disrespect you. While you can agree on stuff that surrounds your interests, you can’t agree on how to live your lives emotionally or even together.
When you think about ending it, you think back to the ‘hooks’; the shared interests that you’ve never found someone else that shares, how great they look when their hair flops on the forehead, and the great sex. ‘But we have so much in common!’ You start picturing again and in your mind you can’t imagine anyone more right for you. But they’re still resisting being with you.
You both break up and you think you won’t ever love someone the way that you loved them. Every time you think about moving on, you keep going back to the ‘hooks’. You decide that what you have is too good to let go of so even though they haven’t changed, you go back.
Of course it’s not long before the cracks reappear. You’re still picturing though and you’re focused on the hooks and how they make the relationship so right and still seeing potential in them and the relationship. You remember what it felt like when you weren’t together and you keep coming back to the hooks.
The thing is, all this time when you’re doing the picturing, you’re taking isolated things and breathing life into the image that represents the potential of the relationship but you’re not actually seeing the whole picture despite doing all this picturing.
If you did, you’d see that you may have these ‘hooks’ but when it comes to the things that count like the shared values and mutual love, care, trust, and respect, you have very little or nothing to hang the relationship on.
Here’s the reality: You can never know the true potential of your relationship if what you derive the potential from is illusionary or based on things that in the grander scheme of stuff are not that important, and you can certainly can’t see potential in a relationship where you’re only looking at a partial, convenient view.