Maybe there is a part of you that wants to find the good in people and be the one to pull it out. Maybe you are a rescuer, a healer. You see the potential in dark places and the good intentions behind bad decisions. In your eyes, people are puzzles just waiting for someone who has the patience to put them together. Maybe there’s a fixer in you that cannot leave a project untouched.
I get it because I’ve always been a comforter. I could never stand to have people around me who didn’t feel at ease. This desire to heal led me into fixing and enabling. Fixing — because I would go into relationships and friendships with the idea that I could make the other person better. I’d see their flaws and shortcomings and think I could help them fix what was wrong. Enabling — because I thought that love made people change. So even as I enabled negative behavior by accepting it and partaking in it, I thought I was creating a bond that would somehow heal the person. Both habits hurt more than they help.
Our calling in relationships is not to fix one another. We are to offer love and acceptance right where we are and support one another in doing better. Fixing is dictating what’s wrong, why and how to fix it. Supporting is allowing loved ones to make their own choices and holding space for them to find compassion in us if things go wrong. Enabling is denying someone the gifts of honesty and accountability because we’re afraid that it will shake them up or make them uncomfortable. Supporting is speaking truth to them with love and without judgment, offering a sincere perspective from someone who cares for them.
Fixing is forcing them to see things our way when their way doesn’t work. Supporting is helping them find their own solutions. Enabling is doing whatever it takes to help them avoid discomfort. Supporting is nurturing them with kindness through the growing pains of change.
Fixing is judging what we see in them and refusing to see it in ourselves. Enabling is seeing something in them that makes us uncomfortable and trying to smooth it away, just like we do within ourselves. Both habits hurt more than they help.
We have to let people evolve at their own pace.
No one will change because of you. People grow, change, and evolve when driven by their own conviction. No matter how much they love you, they must be self-motivated. Don’t compromise yourself to be a savior. Have boundaries. Love from a distance when necessary. Some parts of our journeys must happen solo and without interference. People are going to do what they do until they have grown enough to do better.
Have you tried to fix your partner, children, friends or family members? Do you enable negative behavior just to keep the peace? It’s time to ask yourself, how is this working out for you, for them? Are these methods really helping?
GG Renee Hill is an author, speaker and advocate for self-discovery through writing. She creates books, courses and events for women who crave honest dialogue and inspiration for the joys and challenges they face every day. Blog // Twitter // Instagram.