I have a tendency to want to fix things for other people. I hear about a problem and right away I’ll try to solve the issue. For me, it’s like an itch that bothers me until I think of a solution. This trait of mine has both positive and negative effects. It helps me be proactive and creative but I could also get stuck thinking about something that’s not my business. I find that it can also distract me from my own problems.
I grew up in a family of problem solvers so in a lot of ways this is a learned behavior for me. My parents would listen to me and my siblings‘ problems and then they would help us figure out how to solve them if possible. My parents also demonstrated this problem-solving attitude in their own lives.
My mom in particular was really fast at solving problems. Sometimes she would fix things for other people without giving them the opportunity to wrestle with their own problems before she fixed it. Yes, she was good at fixing problems but I wasn’t sure it was good for her or the person she would fix things for. My mom was often tired which may have been in part because she was trying to fix too many problems for her family. I often wonder if my mom would have slowed down and let us fix our own problems if she would have been less tired. I do understand why; fixing things herself was faster, easier, and she knew the job would get done the way she wanted it.
I learned a lot, especially from my mom. I learned the positive value of being proactive and the downside of taking things into your own hands. I think like a lot of things in life there’s a very delicate balance between being helpful but allowing somebody to grow and make their own mistakes. I get that people want to protect the people they love but I don’t think it’s helpful in the long term and sometimes it causes resentments on both sides of the equation.
I’m trying to be less proactive but still helpful to the people I care about. I want to support but not take over their problems. It’s so much easier to do nothing or everything; going in between those two extremes is the hard part. I think it takes practice on both ends, the person who needs the help and the person who is there to support them. I also think it takes practice to find that middle ground. It has taken me years to get to the point where I am now and I still have a lot of growing and changing to do. As always, I wish the best of luck to the readers of this blog. I hope you find this blog helpful and a good starting point to come up with your own solutions.