Potential Over Expectation: Assessing Our Relationships. ~ Jenn Kashiwa

One of the great things about yoga is there are no strict rules that govern the practice and philosophy; but if there is one overarching, strong suggestion it’s to be present.

We definitively practice not going to the fairytale of the future, riding on the magic carpet of the mind. So how do we handle the “potential” someone has when we first begin a new relationship of any sort?

Do we assess someone solely on who they are in the now? Or, do we count on their blossoming probability and become delinquent yogis?

Our notions of what’s possible comes from the spring of our highest hopes. It’s the idealistic dream for how we can connect with another human being and experience fantastic, all-encompassing love and understanding.

I have friends who were so convinced of someone’s potential they married it and then divorced when it never appeared. In fact, I have my own scrap pile of trashed potential in ex-employers, ex-friends and ex-lovers.

Yogi or not, we’ve all been there. We meet someone for the first time and they do (or don’t) have hints of possibility written all over them for loyalty, trust, support, and partnership. Yet slowly, over time, those probable qualities are damaged by subtle events: broken promises, unkindness, deceit, selfishness and betrayal. The truth of their capacity is finally revealed.

We mourn the loss of what we had hoped for and the premature dreams that will never be. We stay fixed on the “could have been” fairytale, drifting to the depths of despair.

From the culmination of these experiences our defense mechanisms become weathered; more careful, skeptical or wary of people. We want to somehow protect ourselves from suffering a mounting affliction of disappointment.

But if we’re really honest with ourselves, through svadhyaya (self-reflection), we recognize that somewhere along the way we developed a scheming samskara (imprint) in the form of an expectation for who these people would be. When what we projected onto them appears as something different from what we thought, it becomes a reckoning of reality.

The definition of disappointment is “to fail to fulfill the hopes or expectations of.” When that sensation surfaces it’s a sign the responsibility falls on us, not them.

People show us who they are every day and their capabilities are forever changing, as we are.

Reality and truth are only grounded in the now. There is no certainty beyond what is before us. We have to recognize potential as just that, a guesstimate with no guarantee.

The Bhagavad Gita 2:40 says, “On the path effort never goes to waste, and there is no failure. Even a little effort toward spiritual awareness will protect you from the greatest fear.”

We have nothing to fear if we believe in pure potential because anything is possible. But we have to be mindful it does not turn into an expectation. Doing so is hurtful to ourselves because it means we’re in denial of someone’s true nature.

The important thing is to hold our beliefs with vigilance, positive that in the immeasurable depth of the universe they will manifest at some point. Believe in it without attachment to when, where and how it may show up.

We must stay open to keeping a creative and flexible perspective. Our “perfect person” may not materialize in exactly the form we envision. Perhaps their traits are parceled out to others. Their pertinent kindness is delivered through a stranger. Maybe their incredible thoughtfulness comes from a neighbor or that steadfast compassion is in the yoga teacher.

Time reveals all truth. We have to let things become what they will and not let ourselves be married to what it might turn into or we could forever be waiting.


Jenn is a freelance writer, yogi, and pop-culture enthusiast. She writes about her lessons on learning to live more consciously, wholly, and lovingly on her website www.evolvingyogi.com. Connect with her on Twitter at: jennkash


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Ed: Sara Crolick & Brianna Bemel


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