Being The Fixer: When You Can Fix Everyone Else’s Problems But Your Own
Olivia Pope dawned her signature swoop and lip quiver while Harrison gave her an over-emphasized tongue lashing. Once again she was trying to fix everyone else and neglecting the shambles of her own life.
I took a sip of my wine and sighed.
Being the fixer in real life is a tough job too. Requests for résumé editing, business advice, writing help, inspiration, mending broken hearts, and prayer fill my inbox on any particular day. And here I come, white cape in hand, to rescue my friends (or sometimes strangers) from their own snags and hang ups.
I enjoy it and I look forward to it. Mostly because it helps me keep my mind off my own broken pieces that are crying out for my attention. I hush my spirit that’s begging for rest, crying for healing, and pleading for peace because facing my own demons is suddenly too big and too much. And there are so many people that need me. I tell all the outcries to hush as I deep dive into someone else’s battle.
I can breathe a sigh of satisfaction when those that needed my help come through on the other side. I revel in the thanks and give God the praise. Another one is saved. Another mess is mended.
And with nothing left to distract me from my own internal outcries I sink deeper into the couch and that glass of wine.
My life’s just a little more scrambled than before. There’s that messy love that I need to clean up. A failed diet plan attempt crumbled in the corner. And the piles of regrets that need to be folded and tucked away. And here I sit. A little deeper. A little more intoxicated.
Maybe if I ignore it they’ll go away. But they never do, do they?
Why is it so easy to fix everyone else and never deal with self?
When others around are fighting their battles, the problems look like pebbles. And we are huge giants swatting them away. We can do this. I’ve been through enough to have a solution to most things, a shoulder that never buckles from too many tears, and an ear that never tires of listening. So I stand, pick up, straighten out, and cheer my friends on as we fight away the pebbles.
My own problems are pebbles too but I don’t feel like much of a giant. Instead I feel like an ant. And a pebble is no threat to a giant, but it can be crushing to an ant.
But you can only bury pebbles so deep. You can only sweep away messes so long before it starts to bulge in the carpet and the closet just won’t close anymore. Welcome to breakdowns.
If you are like me, a fixer, you must save yourself before there is nothing left to save. I’ve learned to recognize when my fixing or helping is really me escaping my reality and to politely decline the invitation to battle. You must value your sanity above all else.
Learn to say no. And then learn to say yes to yourself. Say yes to that walk. Say yes to that treadmill. Say yes to something healthy to eat and something good to read. Say yes to silence. Say yes to taking care of me.
As the fixer you play an important role in everyone’s life. Just don’t forget that when you are no good to yourself, you truly can’t be much good to anyone else.
Like Olivia, we may just have to step back one day and attack your mess head on. Become a giant in your own life. Not an ant.
You may be surprised and find out that you really are an amazing fixer because you took on the biggest project of all – yourself. And succeeded.
Dee Rene is the writer and creator of Laugh.Cry.Cuss. , a faith based blog that finds valuable lessons in pop culture and every day life. She is based in NYC. You can follow her or the blog or on twitter @deerene_lcc @laughcrycuss.