Quick disclaimer: if you’re someone who believes that you can make the world better by fixing people, you’re not going to like this one.
We all secretly love the idea of fixing things – mending broken objects, solving complex problems, and even mending relationships. It’s an innate human desire to repair what’s broken and heal what’s wounded. But when it comes to fixing people, we need to tread carefully. I’ve learned it the tough way.
Just don’t assume people need fixing. Let’s start with this. The fact that you think they need fixing is the first wrong thing about it. No matter how flawed, disoriented, depressed, or unhappy they are, unless they make it clear for you, don’t assume it. If they need it, they’ll ask for it. Think about it: how would you feel if someone approached you with the intention of fixing you? It implies that you’re broken, that there’s something inherently wrong with you. This assumption can be both hurtful and counterproductive. People aren’t projects; they’re complex beings with their own thoughts, emotions, and agency.
Instead of assuming people need fixing, how about trying to understand them. Listen to their stories, lend a compassionate ear, and provide support without an ulterior motive. Sometimes, all a person needs is someone who will stand by their side, acknowledging their struggles without trying to “fix” them. Your role isn’t to be a repair person; it’s to be a friend and a confidant. Moreover, trying to fix someone can inadvertently rob them of their autonomy and personal growth. When you swoop in with the intention of repairing their problems, you’re sending the message that they’re not capable of handling their own lives. This can stifle their potential to learn from their experiences and become more resilient individuals.
Remember, there’s a significant difference between helping and fixing. Helping involves offering assistance when it’s requested or clearly needed, while fixing implies that you know better. But do you? Even if you do, why do you jump in without waiting for an invitation? It’s like taking over the steering wheel without checking if they’re comfortable with it.
We all have our own paths to navigate, and sometimes, the best way to help is by simply being there – without trying to put all the pieces together.