Tuesday, September 20, 2011

I Can Fix That! Why Fixing Everyone Else is a Bad Idea

The other day in church, a sheet was handed out to the congregation for feedback on the Sunday school program, and of course, for volunteer requests. I had already put in several years as a Sunday school volunteer a while back and couldn’t resist putting in my two cents on the feedback sheet. My daughter, with a look of sheer terror on her face, said, “No mom, no more volunteering!” Ouch. And I have to admit, as l looked down the list of options, I saw a lot I was interested in. Oh, the temptation. But my daughter set me straight, reminded me to think instead of react to my emotions.

Fixing things is a problem for me. Actually, I am the QUEEN of fixing. I’m a therapist for heaven’s sake. (That, for the record, is a poor excuse and a highly inaccurate portrayal of therapy.) But I do love to make things better. So, that often means I offer to help at the slightest sign someone might need assistance. "I can do that for you" is a sentence I am all too familiar with.

Maybe that doesn't sound so awful. In fact, it might even sound familiar. And why shouldn’t you lend a helping hand? Funny you should ask. Here are some things I try and remember when I am chomping at the bit and want to bellow out, “I can fix that!”

1. Time – Simply Put Together is about getting your life where you want it. If you are in the “fix it” mindset, you just don't have the time for yourself. The less time I spend fixing everyone else, the more time I have for myself, my goals, my needs. (Sadly, this is sometimes a reason why we tend to keep fixing others. It is easier to fix other people than to focus on ourselves. Gross, but true.)

2. Stress – We all are busy enough and taking on other people’s stuff is not good for our bodies. The more stress we have, the longer the stress response, the less time for recouping, something our bodies need.

3. Patterns – If we solve everyone’s dilemma all the time, we might just set up a pattern that people will assume we will take care of their messy junk whenever they need us to and then more and more we will be stuck with aforementioned messy junk. (This is the voice of experience speaking.)

4. Relationship Meltdown – Inevitably if we keep promising everything to everyone we will wear out. Remember that old term “burn out?” Then our relationships start to take a hit. We are too spent to do all the fixing everyone is used to, so people get confused and there is resentment floating around in the air, which then results in heated arguments over things like toothpaste and who took the garbage out.

These are some simple reminders for WHY we need to be careful about our need to fix things. Think about it. Watch yourself and see how often you take away time, focus and well deserved relaxation because you are busy being the “Fix It” person.

Check out this article, How to Fix the Fix It Mindset Once and For All

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