Let’s Talk

Fixing Others — Part 2

Q. Why else do we attempt to fix other people?

A. Let’s Talk! Fixing others is often our own need for importance leaking out. Sometimes when I hear advice being given without being asked, I shudder. The message communicated by the fixer may be a good one, even very thoughtful; but the feeling of being lectured to often cancels any truth that we might receive from the fixer. We need to not only respond to others with compassion, but also respect and validate that the hurting one probably does know what to do next. A positive response might be: “How do you see me helping you?” Or “How can I pray?” Or “May I share some thoughts I’m having?”

Somehow, we substitute giving advice as fixers instead of listening. It sadly comes across as false pride: “I know better than you” is the veiled message. When we deliver truth, we often think that it will solve the problem and bring comfort, but giving truth without compassion misses the mark. How many of us have even seen truth used as a weapon? Ouch.

Another reason fixers fix is to tell others how to be or how they should feel. But, we need to be sooooo careful not to tell others how they should feel, in any form. Coming from a good heart, you don’t want friends to hurt; but delivering shoulds is not beneficial.

This chatter about fixing others is about friends and family dialogue. Certainly if someone has asked for help from a professional, the professional gets to more proactively deliver all the intentional help needed; however, they too will approach helping with compassion and respect.

In summary – for our hurting friends or loved ones – before we hit the fixer button, we can ask how we might help. Ask to be invited in! I absolutely do love truths, especially God’s truths. They have liberated me in countless ways. But I like being invited in before I share what I believe is truth. That’s why I like answering your questions! I wouldn’t be comfortable just rattling off information and dispensing truth unless invited in. We are in this life-learning together, side by side.

For Deeper Reflection on the eternal source of comfort and peace:

2 Thessalonians 2:16–17 “Now may our Lord Jesus Christ Himself and God our Father, who has loved us and given us eternal comfort and good hope by grace, comfort and strengthen your hearts in every good work and word.”

2 Thessalonians 3:16 “Now may the Lord of peace Himself continually grant you peace in every circumstance. The Lord be with you all!”
Helen B. McIntosh has a doctorate in counseling psychology and is a national board certified professional counselor and certified in reality therapy. An educator for 19 years, Dr. McIntosh is an author, a highly demanded national speaker and inventor of the Peace Rug®, an international curriculum for conflict resolution.

Helen B. McIntosh has a doctorate in counseling psychology and is a national board certified professional counselor and certified in reality therapy. An educator for 19 years, Dr. McIntosh is an author, a highly demanded national speaker and inventor of the Peace Rug®, an international curriculum for conflict resolution.

You can contact me confidentially at DrHelen@braveandresilient.com.

 

Let’s Talk

Fixing Others — Part 1

Q. Why are we so quick to attempt to fix situations when what is needed is a kind and listening ear?

A. Let’s Talk! It is a good thing to be wired to want to help or fix our friends and family members who are facing difficulty. One reason we love to fix is because we love truth and want to share it. We can almost see the connecting of dots from a person’s need to our information. But the problem comes when we misuse that gift and get ahead of the timing of helping in other realms.

A wounded one needs to feel listened to and validated first, if possible. He or she may even know the fix and it honors the person to have an initial shot at solutions. It’s a form of respect to ask what they think needs to happen next. After that, I love the practice of asking if I may share input. This is my antidote to trying to be a fixer!

Why else do we rush in to fix? Ours is an everything-instant, rapid-paced world. Information flies by us, and we feel compelled to have answers . . . and quickly! Often verbal help comes in as fast as text messages, skipping the whole compassion phase of helping another. We are anxious for that hurting one to grasp help and truth that we forget to connect first. I think that’s what’s so hard about our technological world: we are electronically connecting but not on a heart level. A hit and run answer for issues of the heart isn’t pretty. Mechanical responses work well for GPS directions for cars, but not for someone wrestling with difficulty unless (unless someone asks for a quick answer).

So, what is a safe way to help? Show up. Show compassion. Show respect. Next week we’ll look at more reasons for fixing others and beneficial ways to truly help.

For Deeper Reflection

Think about asking God to show you what’s under your need to fix others and ask Him to help you make a change of pattern, if need be. Tell Him you are listening.

Romans 12:15-16 “Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. Be of the same mind toward one another; do not be haughty in mind, but associate with the lowly. Do not be wise in your own estimation.”

Helen B. McIntosh has a doctorate in counseling psychology and is a national board certified professional counselor and certified in reality therapy. An educator for 19 years, Dr. McIntosh is an author, a highly demanded national speaker and inventor of the Peace Rug®, an international curriculum for conflict resolution.

You can contact me confidentially at DrHelen@braveandresilient.com.