I am a fixer. Ask anyone who knows me and they will agree with you. Any personality test I’ve taken indicates that one of my strengths is finding solutions to problems and working through tough situations. Even my astrological sign (Virgos rule!) reveals traits like logical thinker and being helpful that play into the fixer part of my personality. Being a fixer has its perks: I’m always trying to figure out easier ways to get things accomplished, I am the perpetual therapist for most of my friends (as they are for me) and I am a track changes addict (ok, maybe that’s cause I’m a words junkie). The problem with being a fixer: You can’t fix everything or everyone.
Time and time again, I’ll try to help people, to offer sound advice, even sometimes demand people act differently. This has led to several arguments where everyone is crying, screaming and raising their blood pressures. When I head down the fixer path, I never intent for these heated debates to occur. I worry about the people I care about and genuinely want to help.
If you’re reading this, then you probably need to hear (read) this. Are you ready? Make sure you’re sitting down….
You cannot help people who do not want to help themselves. You cannot care about priorities that they don’t care about. Most importantly, you cannot (and will not) change people. They have to do that on their own.
Things you can do when you have the urge to fix people:
– Listen first before you give any advice. You might be missing some key facts.
– Remind them gently that only they can take action in their life.
– Write a letter to said person you are trying to fix. You don’t have to send it but at least you get all of your thoughts and feelings down in one place. It could be useful one day too.
– Think about ways to continue to improve yourself (aka the only person you can control) and dive in!
The ability to care less about people is extremely hard for me. My people are the reason all is right within my world. Slowly after much heartache and angst, I’m learning every individual is in charge of their own destiny and I can’t change their direction, even if I throw an actual roadblock in their way. It’s hard when someone’s actions cause pain and even harm to others. You can’t choose how people reaction to that but rather can only control your own reaction. I’m working on that.
I will always care about certain people in my life. But I am learning to detach a little more and work on fixing myself rather than others.
Any other people fixers out there? How’s that working out for you?