I am a fixer. You know the Bible verse about removing the plank from your own eye? Yeah, I'd much rather remove the speck from someone else's eye any day.
I get extremely uncomfortable when someone around me is having a hard time emotionally. I want to “fix it”.
It’s true that I want them to feel better. I don't want them to struggle, be in pain, or suffer. But, what I secretly want is for them to get over it, so that I don’t feel uncomfortable around them. To remove the speck from their eye, so I feel better about the plank in my own. And this “fix it” gremlin is a sneaky fucker. It looks cuddly and sweet on the outside, but there's an immature punk kid on the inside.
I have been told that I am a loving, kind, compassionate person. My friends, family and loved ones have ascribed to me a long list of altruistic-sounding descriptions that are so watered down that they have no meaning. You've heard them. Nice, sweet, friendly, interesting, cool, fun, caring, and on and on.
Like this one.
In high school, there was that one cheerleader who I had a HUGE crush on. I know, so cliche, but it's true. She barely knew my name, simply because I was always to scared to talk to her. I got up the nerve to asked her to sign my yearbook. Guess what she wrote? “You always seemed like a sweet guy. Enjoy your summer.” What else can you write to someone you don’t know?
And so many people who know me better than she did only see the part of me that appears to be caring for the other person. Hence, all the lovely adjectives of my personality.
The hard truth is, I just got good at manipulating someone or a situation in a way that seemed like I had their best interest in mind. If I could make them feel better, then I would feel better. That ugly discomfort would go away for a short time.
Here’s the thing. I can’t fix anyone or anything in my life. I can listen to them, help them, support them, be there for them, and hold the space for them, but I can’t fix them. Period. It's EXTREMELY uncomfortable, but my discomfort is not their problem. It's mine. And I own that.
It's powerful to just feel the discomfort, and to be okay with it.
In the end, the only person who can bring about transformation in my life is me. And the challenge for me is to learn to be an emotional grown up and just let the situation be uncomfortable. It’s so refreshing. It’s refreshing to finally learn to be a grown up. Better now than later, and I'm still learning, and learning, and learning.