Stop try to “Fix” People
I am drawn to people that are struggling. I have this nurturing nature, where I want to swoop in and help someone. Save them from the misery that they are causing themselves. I try to save them from hitting rock bottom. Instead what I do is prevent them from the growth that naturally occurs when you are down and out. We all need this miracle in life. When you feel that things can’t get any worse because that’s when we start to become grateful for the little things. It’s when we start to grow as people. So next time you see someone struggling with mental health, financial or emotional issues, don’t be so keen to “save them”
Know that you can’t change someone that doesn’t want to be changed.
I have a dear friend who has Aspergers. This makes him socially awkward, and he struggles with social niceties. I know him so well, that I want to help him. I want him to go on dates and succeed, I want him to experience what happiness having a successful relationship would feel like. I have enough knowledge to really guide and help him. But you know what? It’s not my responsibility to help him with his issues. It is for him to do his own work, or to come and ask for guidance. It isn’t my place to offer well-intended advice.
Let them know that when they are ready to tackle their issues you are there for them, but until they want to help themselves, you can’t make a difference.
When I reconnected with my first love, he was battling depression. I still remember this intense feeling of, “I can make the difference here.” Maybe even, I can BE the difference. It made me feel protective and I wanted to care for him.
When it comes to romantic love, the last thing you need is “a project.” You are not their helper fixer or rescuer. Naturally, we want to help them, and give them the joy that we experience daily. We want to make their life easier and relieve them of their suffering.
You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make them drink. We tend to think that problems that affect us are ours to solve. Wrong. Yes, your husband’s depression affects you, but it isn’t your problem to solve. You can be a support, but it is for him to get the help, and do the hard work to overcome his depression.
This is classic co-dependent behavior. As long as everyone is happy and thriving around us then our life is good, even if we are drowning ourselves in our endeavor to help our loved one. Learn to accept what is out of control and put that energy into self-love and changing the things you can change.
It’s emaculating in a romantic relationship to try and fix things within him. It gives the impression that somehow we know better, and it takes on an air of superiority, and your partner feels emasculated.
I wish I had someone to give me this advice 10 years ago. Don’t get swallowed up by your partner’s problems. I wish I had put all the energy into creating a better life for myself. Poured it into my career, my own journey of self-discovery. For 10 years I lost a sense of my self because I so desperately wanted to help him.
When you are a born nurturer like I am, it is a gift. It’s a gift to know that you can make others feel safe and understood. There’s so much beauty that comes from a trait like this. However, we overextend ourselves emotionally. Does the following sound familiar?
- I just broke up with my girlfriend…let me fix you up with a good friend of mine.
- You’re broke…let me loan you money.
- You are on the spectrum…let me guide you to help navigate life and make it easier for you to understand.
- You’re depressed…let me spend every waking moment being upbeat and cheerful and making your life better.
Fixing other people can become self-destructive. You start to feel like their problems are yours and you feel the weight of the responsibility to save them. I’m not saying you shouldn’t help people, but a healthy relationship whether it be a friend, co-worker or partner will allow you to nourish your own needs first. Self-love, self-care and not getting engulfed by others problem is key.
Put the oxygen mask on yourself first so you can help others around you. When you are thriving you are in a better place to inspire them to thrive too. Most of all trust. Trust that even if you are not there to “fix” them, they will be just fine, and the world will continue to turn.