In 2016 I wrote a post, called, Too Many People Fixers, which at the time was very well received. I have now updated the article with some new information and links. I hope you find it helpful.
You know that saying, “Too many cooks in the kitchen will spoil the broth?” Well, I would like to propose an updated cousin to that saying. “Too many fixers in the world spoil people’s essence.”
The following is an excerpt from an anonymous post made by a friend of mine upon hearing that someone very close to them had received a diagnosis of Cancer.
“They often said I could fix anything.
I have always been that defiant person, determined to do what others say can’t be done.”
*(I have not credited this excerpt to provide the author and their family privacy. Also, I am only using this passage as an example, not as a suggestion that this particular person is in any way a negative support for their family.)
I read the entire post and felt great empathy for the individual who had been diagnosed with Cancer and also all of the people close to them. What struck me though was the lack of feelings mentioned in the post. This situation was a painful, life changing, sad, gut-wrenching, and emotional life event. Where and how were these people feeling and coping with these emotions? Instead, there was only mention of the regret that the situation couldn’t be, fixed. I offered my comments on the post as such:
“I believe we need less, people fixers, and more warms hugs, laughs, people who will allow us to cry just because, and be there with us, whenever, no matter what. :-)”
Fortunately, I received a favourable and grateful reply from the author.
But here’s the point I want to make. Remember the last time you were upset, depressed or had a problem to figure out? Do you recall how much you would have appreciated someone to listen, sit with you in acceptance if you cried, perhaps offer a few kind words of empathy or support and maybe even a hug? What kind of response did you get? Opinions, proposed answers, solutions, suggested, fixes, and a lot of ideas?
All of those things have worth, but they don’t address a fundamental and innate part of us. I’m referring to the part that makes us human. We are an evolved species with a highly developed and interconnected intellectual and emotional response that requires attending to and even nurturing for optional health and happiness.
Many scholars and researchers over the history of man have professed to the validity of our need to replenish our connection with a power greater than ourselves for a sense of well-being and understanding in life. This belief can often be questioned during times of trial and trouble and needs to be soothed and confirmed for healing to occur. If we focus only on concrete solutions or “fixes” to our stresses and problems we’re not allowing ourselves to sit with ourselves and whatever beliefs that we have and reconcile the contradiction. This reconciliation with our belief system is an important part of our continued sense of self and our understanding of life.
Fixers cannot “fix” any of the above about us or life. Fixers want to change things, usually everything, including how you feel. No matter how bad the problem you’re facing is, you as a complete being don’t need to be, fixed or changed. You are perfect as you are and it has been scientifically proven that accepting your emotions, where you are, and working through them at your natural pace is the best thing for psychological well being.
Besides, nobody other than you can ever change how you feel. Fixers can only fix things that are within their realm, reality, or physical world, not other peoples. They cannot and will never know what it’s like to walk in your shoes, let alone be able to do so.
Often or usually, fixers become fixers, in a desperate attempt to control things, the world around them, and those close to them. It’s a sign of insecurity or fear that drives people to be, fixers. Strangely though, in most cases, of course, fixers, themselves don’t or can’t see that they should change their behaviour.
Fixing, in extreme cases, can become controlling, and controlling behaviour is never beneficial.
Research has proven that people have a greater degree of satisfaction and happiness in life if they practice mindfulness, But controlling behaviour, perspectives, and attitudes like that of fixing action have no room for living this way. Staying present, staying grounded, and staying connected to your inner self, which is all part of mindfulness, is contrary to controlling and fixing.
I am a Mother of two daughters, and I would take a bullet for either one of them without hesitation. I have cried myself to sleep over some of their struggles. Indeed, I have and undoubtedly always will want to, fix, everything in the world to make their lives as happy and trouble free as possible. However, I accept that I can’t. I don’t care if I have to struggle and stop myself from trying to fix everything for them because I know how much more important it is that I am other things. Things like a good Mother, a shoulder to cry on, a confidante, as best a role model as I can be, a friend when they need one, a teacher and a forgiver to name a few.
There’s another reason that I know the importance of what I’ve just described. Besides basic psychology, I know, because these things are either something that I have needed and still do from my closest relationships.
Now, go and fix something. Just kidding!