Dedication: This piece is dedicated to all the fixers in progress keep doing the work it will pay off
How I am a fixer in progress and why I don’t feel bad about it and why you shouldn’t either
I believe part of me will always be to some extent a fixer. I am not for other people as much anymore. I am finally fixing myself and I am not feeling bad about it. It has taken some time to finally get to this point of fixing myself and realizing not only do I deserve it, but it was and is still necessary. So how and why did I become a fixer in the first place? It all stems from my mom becoming disabled and her becoming dependent on other people for things when she was typically the one that was being depended on. Especially because she was a single mom for so long. So, when she became disabled and dealt with chronic pain for years, as her daughter seeing that was hard. The one person or problem I couldn’t fix or help in any way was my mom. In turn, I created a whole small group in my community in order to fill that void of not being able to help the one person I wanted to most. I gave my life to this work for ten years and I loved it at first because it was new and exciting. Even though I loved it toward the end of our run that fire I had for it had gone out completely. I needed to stop fixing people and problems in order to fix myself for the first time in my life. I did what anyone would do, I started an entirely new career in 2015, I became a writer. I fell in love with it, and I have been writing ever since. That was the professional way I used my fixer skills. In my personal life how I put this into practice is learning to set boundaries with people and saying no when I actually mean no. When in the past I would people please and say yes when I should have said no. I started breaking some old codependency patterns and not going to one person for comfort and advice. I have realized I can go to more than one person for that. I started realizing that being a fixer in my nonprofessional life was doing more harm than good for me. The people I was helping gave them the opportunity to keep asking for help from me and it was both draining for me, but also helped fill the void of not being able to help my mom. I think for us fixers in society especially women, we take on the fixer roles all too often in our relationships with our kids’ partners, etc. when we really need to figure out where this problem comes from for us individually and really start to work on it and not feel bad about putting ourselves first. As fixers, we often tend to not put ourselves first. Will it be hard work to put ourselves first? Absolutely, and will it be a work in progress for the rest of our lives? Yes, but at the end of the day when the real work starts you will realize there is nothing to feel guilty about putting yourself first. I am so sorry you were made to feel like you had to fix other people before yourselves, but you always need to put yourself first. Please remember that, no matter how hard it may be.
Photo credit: Image provided by the storyteller.