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How to NOT be a fixer

About a month ago, I ran into a friend on the Wabash and we talked during our bike ride about what was going on in our lives. COVID-19, working from home, parenting soon-to-be 9th graders…and then she totally called me out.

I’m a fixer.

“Isn’t exhausting being a fixer?” she asked.

Yes. She nailed it. I felt tears well up, but they weren’t upsetting tears. It was a label that was entirely true and it was almost a relief to finally put to a name to the way that I am. So I have to think about how to NOT be a fixer.

Because I need to fix myself.

I’ve spent the last month since she and I had this conversation figuring out how to “fix” myself. I’ve been exhausted. It’s hard to get out of bed. I’ve wanted to work out, but I haven’t done it because I’m tired or whatever other excuse I come up with. COVID-19 has sucked the life out of me because I’m a people person and haven’t been able to interact. I drink more, I eat shittier, and blah blah blah.

None of that is helping.

So I did what normal people did this morning. I did a Google search. 😂 I legitimately looked up “how to not be a fixer”. And what I found was an interesting read by Jamie Siebens called “How to Stop Being the Fixer in Relationships“.

“A fixer doesn’t just solve someone else’s problem, they actually become the solution.”

I need to remember that I can help and give advice, but ultimately it’s not my fault if others don’t take that advice or change their ways. I think what’s difficult about this concept is thinking about those who suffer from depression or other addictions. We can only be there so much. Can they blame me? Of course. But that doesn’t mean it’s my fault.

So how does one change this habit without it changing who they are? I was talking to my friend Lane about it this morning, and the first thing he said to me was, “I don’t want you to change because I like you how you are.”


How to NOT be a fixer: change a mindset, not who I am.

I don’t have to change who I am by any means. But I can change habits and such. So how do I keep “who I am” but change the habit of wanting to fix things? I think the answer is inside me. I need to remind myself that others’ actions and choices aren’t my necessarily my fault. I can only do so much.

Don’t fix…empower.

I can only empower others with suggestions and advice. I can’t fix people…just like I can’t expect others to fix me. I love the advice of others because it helps me make my own choices–which I alone am responsible for. So I need to think that way about others.

I feel like this is a turning point for me. I know that it’s not going to be easy…but it’s the right thing to do for me and for others.

“It starts with you.” How are you investing in your own self-care right now? How can you support the fixers in your life and empower them to invest in themselves, too?