I am a Fixer. My sister and I joke with each other that if people in our family would just do what we tell them to do everything would be great. She is better at hanging back and letting others make their own mistakes. I want to handle it, do something. For example, I didn’t like it AT ALL when one of my niece’s clients talked down to her. I wanted to be there the next week to tell the woman off. I didn’t, but I really wanted to. Half-joking, I asked my sister if I needed to show up and kick the woman’s ass.
Part of being the fixer is not wanting those who I love to have to endure pain, or drama, or hardship and by me jumping in I think I can keep that from happening.
I am learning, however, to only “fix” when asked for help; to only give opinions or guidance when asked for it. That is incredibly difficult for me. Those who know me well, know that not giving an opinion is a huge stride forward for me. HOWEVER, if you ask me, “what do you think?” I am going to tell you.
Even in my Wednesday night meetings when others are sharing their lives and the things that are occurring in them, I want to speak up and say, “dump the bastard” or “for Christ’s sake, be an independent woman.” But I don’t because that isn’t the reason for us being there. And who am I to try to fix someone’s life when all I can manage is to fix my own.
It’s difficult for me to see someone in pain and not try to console them. This is a relatively new thing for me in the past ten years. I think grief opens you up somewhat to others struggles. I find I am no better or no worse than others. I definitely know I am no worse.
What I have learned, when someone is expressing pain or sadness over an issue that I’m familiar with, is how to tell them how I handled my situation. Wednesday night a woman was crying over the loss of her mother in November and the guilty feelings she had. I explained I had guilt as well, but I worked it, I came through it and I made my peace with it. Guilt is just a wasted emotion…it does no-one any good. Instead of saying to her, “well if it were me I would do this, this, and this.” Instead I said, “after my mother died….” She told me later that it helped. I felt very good knowing that through pain that I had and pain that she has, I could help ease her troubled heart.
I heard a great explanation once and thought it truly was me:
Be the buffalo.
Wilma Mankiller, the first female principal chief of the Cherokee nation, once told how the cow runs away from the storm while the buffalo charges directly toward it—and gets through it quicker. Whenever I’m confronted with a tough challenge, I do not prolong the torment. I become the buffalo.
I also have a little trick when I’m feeling sorry for myself or bored with my life, I look for a good deed to do. But I keep in mind one thing..does the person actually need my good deed.
Faith makes you fearless. True faith in whatever it is….it makes you fearless. Because as Eleanor Roosevelt said, “”No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”
I’m still fundamentally me. But I’ve toned down the fixer, the stubbornness, the opinions, and the feeling of always having to be right. It is such a load off of my shoulders and for that I am very pleased.