What is it that has us feel that we need to be the ‘fixer’ for others? What makes it so hard for us to just let others have their own experience, even if it looks like they may fall apart? For many of us as children, we were the fixer in our family. When things were chaotic, dysfunctional, uncertain or unsafe, we learned to step in and take some type of control to restore a sense of safety. We may have found that our suggestions were enough, or at the other extreme, we may have had to step in and take over to stabilize a situation.  We may have done this with our parents or siblings and continue to find ourselves doing it with our spouses, colleagues, and children.

Fixing others can drain our energy and create unwanted drama and stress in our lives. When we make other people’s business our business we ignore what is most important to us. It’s like our ego tells us that if we can fix others, we will get what we need from them and then we will feel better. It sounds like ‘if only they would do/say/be what I want and need, then I would feel good again. Then I could see myself as the good parent, spouse, employee, friend again’. At some level we connect getting what we need and wanting to them being ‘unbroken’ and fully capable. Some of use learned this through our early experiences with our parents who for the most part loved us, yet may not have known how to help us get our wants and needs met in healthy ways. In response, the ego came up with strategies to help us make sense of the situation with a new ‘story’ to replace what our mind was unable to handle when we were young. Our ego story can drive us to be a pleaser, helper, teacher, know it all, or a nag. All of those reactions consider that the other person/situation needs to be fixed or isn’t capable to give you what you need. If you fix them, you can get what you need. This is the ego’s strategy to protect you from what it thinks you can’t handle.

Unfortunately, the ego still sees us as the 4-year old that it had to protect instead of the capable adult that we are now. It continues to tell you the old story about each situation and person in your life. We get to step in now as the wise adult that our inner child didn’t have when we were young to re-focus our attention on ourselves. What do we need that we can give to ourselves? What can we ask for or say no to that would help us get what WE need instead of looking to fix others? If asked, we can always offer our insight and guidance to them, but mostly we need to focus on ourselves. When we do what is most loving for us, it is ALWAYS the most loving for everyone else involved – even if it doesn’t look like it right away. Honoring what is most authentic and integrous for you is your job. When you focus here instead, there is no need to fix anyone anymore. You become the source of what you need and it’s OK to just let others make their own choices and have their own experiences. You can trust you to honor what is best for you, and from there, you can honor what others feel is best for them.

How can you shift from fixing others to supporting yourself today?