Sunday, December 13, 2020

Please, Don’t Fix Me

Last time, I talked about how I’m putting stuff I want out of my life on FB Marketplace.  I’ve had people over the past couple of years suggest to me that they would come over, clear out the stuff, and wouldn’t I feel so much better without the clutter?  Isn’t that just an easy thing to do, and then everything would be fixed?

To be honest, no.  This process of choosing an item, listing it, and selling it is giving me a great deal of pleasure.  As well as a few extra dollars for the savings account.  I enjoy the ability to give each item the time I need to make a decision, instead of having the stress of making hundreds of decisions in one day. 

Besides, why do I have to complete this project so quickly? 

I don’t have a spouse.  I don’t have children.  My cat just doesn’t care.  (Seriously, as long as she gets one spoonful of wet food with gravy, lap time, and scritches, she’s pretty happy.)

Nobody is depending on me to finish by a certain date, so it’s nice to have something that is completely on my terms, within my complete control, according to my plan.  So little in life is like that, and instead of stressed, I’m calmed by this process.  It’s been an adventure instead of a chore.

I mean, who doesn't want an antique rocking chair?
(Santa, lamp, and pan not included.)

Perhaps that’s why, when people ask me for marathon running advice, my response is simple:  own your training journey, because that’s what will take you through race day.  You need to do what makes sense for you, not what other people tell you to do.

I’m not running those 26.2 miles….you are, so you need to feel proud and determined and successful as you wait in the starting corrals.  That happens when you prepare on your own terms, taking the information you like and ignoring the information that doesn’t work for you. 

It’s such different advice than I’ve received through my journey in this world.  People like to fix problems, so when they hear about an issue, they often blurt out the solution that works for them, whether it’s why you’re stuck around a 5:30 marathon or have a cluttered house or are struggling with a relationship or unhappy at work or have a phone with 30% charge on it.  They so want to alleviate the anxiety in the air, and it worked for them, so why not everyone else?

Well, we’re all different.  All. Of Us. 7. Billion. Humans.  We are all going to have different dreams, different challenges, different belief systems, different ways of seeing a problem.  Your “simple” solution may not be the best for the person with ADD.  Or dyslexia.  And definitely not someone with OCD.

Instead of jumping to fix everyone else’s issues, why not just listen?  Why not just ask questions to help clarify?  Why not help the person find what works for them instead of telling them what they should do?  And if they say, “I’m okay, thank you,” let it go.

While the solution may seem completely obvious to you, there’s power in the process of problem solving.  When you give someone the space to own their solution, you give them the confidence to grow and learn and be even better than they ever imagined.  It’s an uncomfortable space, letting someone sit with their issue that appears easily solvable, but usually, the end result is beyond your expectations.

Instead of asking someone to conform to you, you’re empowering them to be exceptional.

So please don’t fix me.  I’m on my own path to healing, thank you very much, and as I grow from this process, great things will happen.  Well, at least a few hundred dollars from FB Marketplace sales….


Lisa's Notebook said...

Let it go. YESSSSS! It's so irritating to be told what to do when all you really want sometimes is to brain dump and be listened to, not fixed!

Erin Westphal said...

Thank you! As a chemistry/math tutor, I’m really trying to teach problem solving, not how to finish homework as quickly as possible. There is so much value in learning how to be challenged and work through it.

People don’t like the discomfort of struggle, but to be honest, I appreciate anyone who lets me brain dump and figure out a solution that works for me.

Lyn said...

so much this!

there is honestly nothing more satisfying than choosing how we rid of the things that no longer fulfill us. over the last couple of years my kiddos and I have made "grab bags" with clothes and shoes of different sizes and passed them out to the homeless in the city. it means so much more to us doing it that way than donating it some place most would not be able to afford. it just seems unfair that a lot of times it's a choice between food and other items of survival.

this is our way of doing our part.