Can’t fix everything

Sometimes I think life would be easier if I didn’t have the personality of a “fixer.” I want everything to be right for those I love…and I want to do everything I can to make it right. Sometimes that’s an admirable stance to take, but sometimes it’s not helpful.

Sometimes people have to fail in order to truly understand the consequences of their actions. Sometimes they have to let others down and hit rock bottom before they can begin to heal and become the people they have the potential to be.

It’s easier to see that when I look at someone else’s family. It’s a lot more difficult when I look at my own.

It’s also easier to see when someone has made it through and you can look at their lives with the perspective of knowing how things are going to turn out. But when you’re in the middle of the process, it’s a lot harder.

“The school of hard knocks”…learning things the hard way…that’s a phrase often used. Some people seem to be able to learn from the hard knocks and experiences of others…but some have to suffer the hard knocks themselves.

There’s a really fine line between continuing to enable someone in their less-than-helpful behaviors and setting boundaries that may cause them to fall. You can know in your heart that setting those boundaries is the best thing you can do in the long run, but it can certainly be heartbreaking in the short run.

Unfortunately, there is much in literature that promotes the idea of being a fixer…of being the person who can set things right…who can change the “bad boy” (or “bad girl”) into someone more acceptable. They’re also sometimes the romanticized martyrs, who die in the process of trying to correct things.

Life doesn’t work that way. If I keep trying to fix someone’s life, all I’m doing is creating a puppet, and that’s not what I want to do either.

Each of us has to learn on our own. We can (and must) support each other in the process, but sometimes the most loving thing we can do for someone is to allow them to fall…without stepping in to rescue them from the consequences of their actions. That doesn’t mean walking away from them, but it does mean allowing them to learn how to live in the real world rather than the fantasized and romanticized perfect world they may prefer inhabiting.

And I have to trust…trust that there is a thread that keeps us connected, and that even if they walk away, at some point they will return…trust that there is someone else (God, the Divine, whatever phrase you want to use) who will continue to walk with them, no matter what.

being a parent




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