1. There is nothing to be ashamed of.
It is easy to feel shame over staying in a relationship or companionship for so long and not realizing that nothing was going to change. But there is nothing to feel ashamed about, because when you fall in love with potential, it means that you see the goodness in another human being. You see it where no one else does, and that is something to celebrate. Yes, you have to know when to walk away from that goodness, when to lay down that love, and that hope — when to see something for what it is. However, you never need to be embarrassed for the way you go to war for people.
2. Falling for potential is unhealthy.
At the end of the day, when you’re so empathetic and you’re so giving, you are going to attract a lot of human beings who want to warm themselves by the fire that is your heart. You are magnetic, you fix people, you see past their circumstances, and this kind of empathy can add a gentle layer of hopefulness over the issues in your relationships. I can make you blind to very apparent red flags, and it can be unhealthy to love this way because you aren’t living in a realistic relationship. You are looking at your relationship as something you’d like it to be, rather than something it actually is. It is a necessity in any relationship to be able to decipher between what is real and what is projected. You have to be able to discern reality from what you would like reality to be.
3. People will always show you who they are.
As an empath, it is easy to excuse behaviour. To paint over it, to tell yourself that no one is perfect. And while that is true, while no one is perfect, you should still be holding them accountable. Because the red flags are there. They exist. And they reveal themselves every single day, in the small and nameless ways the people you care for go about their days, in the way they show up, in the way they deal with conflict or treat a stranger, etc. People cannot hide their truth for long.
4. It isn’t your job to fix people if they don’t want to fix themselves.
A lot of empaths think that their love can fix those they are with. The accountability suddenly transfers from the other person, to you. You take on the responsibility of making them better, of safeguarding them, of giving them all the tools to grow.
But some people simply just don’t grow into the human beings you are hopeful to love. Some people don’t get better with time. You will know if someone is committed to doing the work. To transforming themselves, to doing the inner work. And if you truly are with someone like this, it’s a different story, because they believe in their potential too. They are working towards it every single day. Empaths often fall for those whom they believe are going to change, but who are doing nothing to get there. That is when this kind of hope becomes toxic.
5. Letting go is difficult, but necessary.
It’s hard to let go of all of that hope you have for those you’ve put on a pedestal. It becomes a balancing act between your disappointment and your belief in the person. You feel heavy and determined at the same time. You want to love a little harder, fix a little more, etc. You don’t want to stop caring. You don’t want to relinquish any of the little security you have in a relationship. It can be hard to move forward, to lay your love down as an empath, and to give up on someone — especially when you see so much within them.
But the truth is — change is only preemptively difficult. It’s easy to measure what you’re losing, and it’s hard to see what you might gain. In relationships, as an empath, it’s hard to “give up” on someone. It’s hard to think that you might be the person in their life who walked away from them when they needed you the most, when they needed you to help. But you have to. Only when you’re outside of the relationship will you see just how much you were giving to someone who wasn’t showing up for it.
6. Try to see things clearly.
If you’re grappling with the idea of letting go, just take a step back and give yourself permission to see things clearly.
Ask yourself: If you were to stop putting effort into this relationship, into this person, what would happen? If the answer is nothing, then you might not be with as perfect of a person as you think. You might be fighting for someone who isn’t fighting for you. And if you can remove yourself from your hope for long enough to really evaluate that, you will see that this person isn’t really deserving of being on the pedestal you’ve put them on. You’ll see that you do deserve more.
7. It’s important to love without attachment.
At the end of the day someone can be a good person but that simply doesn’t mean they are your person. And staying attached to a relationship that drains you, is toxic for you, is built on ideals rather than reality — that is a dependency. You have to stop giving this person all of your energy. You have to give yourself permission to be alone. To see things for what they are. To stop chasing after something that isn’t ever going to fulfill you. Attachment is not love. Don’t ever forget that.
8. Your person is going to be your person for life.
Your person is going to be your person for a really, really long time. So, ask yourself: if things right now were to stay exactly the same, if nothing were to change, if none of that potential were to come to fruition — would you be happy? Would you be fulfilled? Would you want to stay?
Usually in these situations, the answer is no, because you couldn’t possibly imagine living a life of confusion, and disappointment. You couldn’t possibly imagine living a life that is exhausting your heart in the way it is at the moment. Deep down, you know that you deserve more.
9. Create space for goodness to find you.
This one is simple. If you are holding so much space in your heart for someone who is not showing up to claim it, then you are keeping that space occupied and blocked from those in the world who do want to hold you there. You are spending all of your time and energy begging for someone to love you, when there are human beings who would want nothing more than to care for you, and nurture you, and inspire you effortlessly. Do not miss out on all of the beauty the world has to offer you because you were distracted. Open your eyes and you will see that there is so much out there for you, just waiting for you to be open to it.
10. You are worthy of being loved the way you love others.
If someone doesn’t show up for you, if someone makes you feel small or insecure, if someone makes you feel like you love too hard or give too much, if someone makes you quiet your heartbeat, if someone takes and takes and constantly asks you to pour out for them, if waiting for someone to change, to become a person you’ve always wanted them to be is exhausting your heart right now — you’ve fallen in love with potential. And you deserve more.
You deserve someone who genuinely sees in you what you see in them. You deserve someone who stays, who shows up, who isn’t wishy-washy with their feelings. You deserve someone who knows what they want. You deserve someone who is honest and genuine and who comes as they are. You deserve someone who never exhausts your heart in a bad way. You deserve someone who loves you the way you love them, who fights for you the way you fight for them. And even if you don’t believe that right now, even if it is hard to fathom, it’s out there for you. And you are worthy of it.