The Myth of Living Your Full-Potential Self
Are you good enough to be ordinary?
Everyone’s at it. Trying to get there. Living the promised land of the full-potential self!
I won’t deny, I am also. Conditioned by the world and time I’ve grown up in, how could I not be part of the collective trance?
Yes, you heard right. I call it a trance.
After listening to countless teachers and gurus promising to unlock your potential and live your life’s essence, I can’t help but think: how is this going to work for all 8 billion of us?
Or is the full-potential only possible for some select few? And if that’s the case, how do we know that we are part of those select few? What if it’s not meant for us and here we are wasting our time dreaming about it?
Ok, let’s give it a fair go.
First of all, we have to define full-potential.
I believe it must mean different things for different folks. Yet, I do assume, from my fair amount of sharing our vision boards and dream futures with others, that it includes mainly these things:
- Doing what I love for a living
- Probably being famous in some way…oh hang on, the new word is ‘influencer’.
- Being abundant (which means being ridiculously rich)
- Traveling the world
- Being happy
So let’s have a closer look at those points, shall we? And see how realistic they are.
- Doing what I love. — Gosh of course! I mean who doesn’t want that? But then, what happens to all the stuff that needs to get done in order for the world to keep rolling? Like being a kitchen hand at a restaurant and doing stacks of dishes every day. Or cleaning the toilet in public spaces? Or being a nurse? Or being a farmer in a 3rd world country, getting paid almost nothing, so we can eat and be potentially full of ourselves? Folks, AI is not at that stage yet to do all this for us.
- Being famous — We all have lived through our share of stuff and have come out the other end with some significant insight and wisdom. Absolutely share it! I mean that’s what it’s for, right? But honestly, are you not a little bit sick of having everyone tell you what to do? Of always looking up to the next image on the screen to give you guidance on how to get there? Maybe the reason we want to be up there on the screen next to all the others is that we are sick of feeling the resentment that comes from feeling invisible. And that’s what we are right, all those of us who are not famous?
- Being abundant — Yes, I do believe in an abundant universe. I do believe that there is enough for everyone if we did it right. But honestly, when I hear the word ‘being abundant’, I don’t hear: I’m full of joy and grateful for what I already have, but I hear: I want more. I want so much that I will never have to feel lack again, I will never have to feel my fear of survival. And once I have my house, my land, my car and am able to fulfill all my desires, then I can be the person that I was meant to be. Interesting, hey?
- Traveling the world — Look at me in the Seychelles, look at me in Africa, look at me at the temple in god knows where. I’m having a happy life because I’m traveling so much. Ok, I will not go into environmental pollution and the fact that if all 8 billion of us were to travel like this, we would not survive another ten years as a planet. No, I will say here: I love traveling myself and I have traveled a lot. And I’m done with it. My full-potential self wants to feel the stability of a home. I really don’t see anything inspiring anymore in going around the world and living out of a suitcase. And I hate planes. It’s so taxing on my body. Maybe I’m getting old but honestly, it feels much harder to travel than what it used to 5 years ago.
- Being happy — All of humanity wants to be happy. That’s normal. But when we put it up on the Full-Potential Self pedestal, what we are truly saying is this: I don’t want to ever have to deal with all my worries, fears and anxieties! I don’t want to feel the way I do normally. I want to transcend the normal human experience.
Ok, wanna know what I think is underneath the Full-Potential-Self hype?
It’s our feeling of not being good enough.
What if your full-potential self was to be happy with what you have and where you are at right now? I mean truly happy. What if it didn’t involve teaching, writing that book and having your face pop on FB or Instagram every second?
What if your full-potential self was to be ordinary and invisible?
What if the new happy was to be satisfied and at peace?
Is it possible to fulfill our desires of being seen just by having meaningful relationships and serving the community around us? You will probably read this article and say, yeah yeah yeah, but I still want my share of the cookie. Me too, actually, I hear ya.
But I would really invite you to stop and contemplate for a second. Where does my desire for my Full-Potential-Self come from? What needs do I hope to meet by living up to it?
And then the next question is: does this desire add to my quality of life? Does it add to the depth of my intimate relationships?
Does it add to me feeling good about myself just as I am?
does it give me anxiety that I am not there yet? Does it make me feel that I am not good enough if I don’t reach that goal?
Please don’t feel like I have a judgment on it or where everyone’s at. It’s simply my own musings as I’m curiously inquiring into what ‘full-potential-self’ means for me.
There was a time in my life where I was just happy. I felt and saw the divine in everything. There was nothing to show for it in my external environment though. In fact, in the eyes of society, I might have been considered a loser. But I was happy. I mean, truly happy, I wasn’t just convincing myself. And I know I was happy because I didn’t need to be anything other than what I was. There was no comparison with others. Or with my future self for that matter. (it did help that I was hardly on Social Media also)
And then there snuck in a little voice in my head: this happiness of yours is not enough if you can’t show it to the world. If the world doesn’t recognize it. If you can’t share it with others. If you don’t make money with it. etc. etc.
Since then I’ve been curiously running after this elusive full-potential-self beating myself up along the way for not being there and especially for not being as happy as I used to be.
Such a twisted thing!
Running after my dreams makes me unhappy but the fear of letting go of my dreams and simply being ordinary makes it impossible for me to let go. So I’m caught in a schizophrenic tight-spot.
Breathe in. Breathe out.
Ahhhh. Thank god we are not our thoughts.
When I just admit this need to be special to myself and return to feeling humble, there comes a softness into my heart, a tender whisper of wisdom.
Your Full-Potential-Self is Love and always will be Love.
Love doesn’t judge. Love doesn’t say this is better than that. You need to get more full-potential-ed. Love doesn’t love more because someone is special. In fact, in the eyes of the heart, there is really no difference between a ‘famous one’ or someone on the street.
Love just loves.
But it takes tremendous spiritual maturity to let go into Love, as my meditation teacher says. So I guess, it’s about fully loving where we are at, too, whether that’s still running after our dreams or not. And learning how to be honest with ourselves along the way. Figuring out what love actually means to us personally.
So, my dear fellow travelers on this crazy journey of life, I wish you fun on your path, satisfaction, ease, and joy. I wish you to remember your core-worthiness, no matter what. And I wish us to remind each other of that, whenever we meet.
May your desires bring you ever closer to more simplicity, more peace and more LOVE.