You Can’t Fix What You Didn’t Break
Okay, so I don’t mean this for everything in your life! If you bring your car into an auto shop, they’re (hopefully) not going to tell you they can’t fix it because you broke it. Or if you broke your tooth... your dentist will hopefully not tell you they can’t fix it because they weren’t the one to break it. What I do mean are things such as other people’s relationships or even a relationship you used to be in. Something that I have learned from therapy is I used to feel the need to fix my friends or family's fights. I couldn’t tell you why I felt this way, but I somehow became the middle man in people’s fights. I felt it was my job to fix it.
There can be many reasons why I may feel this way, but for me it’s because I used to think I was the one who broke it. I used to have this core thought that I ruined things and I was the problem. The problem with this was, this thought was built off of a false reality. It felt so true though because I told myself this thought so many times... thanks to my depression and probably anxiety. This discovery has actually been a huge part of my recent therapy. My therapist and I actually just discovered this the other day.
This discovery has allowed me to step back from problems that don’t involve me. Even if it is between two people that I love. I used to try to be the mediator to change both sides feelings, but at the end of the day that was never my job to begin with. However, I thought it was my job because I felt a sense of guilt thinking it was my fault. Even if the fight had nothing to do with me. I had just always felt like a broken piece and I carried that to all parts of my life. The only thing I can do now in these types of situations are to share how the argument makes me feel, but I cannot try to change their feelings towards each other. I am only in control of my feelings towards situations. I’m not in control of others. I can now step back and focus my energy on my own relationships with people. Maybe even with those involved in the fight I was trying to fix. I can work on our relationship, instead of their relationships with others. I can work on building my own relationships instead of worrying about others breaking their own.
That doesn’t mean that this sense of wanting to fix relationships is going away easily because it’s such a habit of mine. It’s hard to break. I’ve actually caught myself trying to fix an old friendship after learning this about myself. I felt silly afterwards. After they didn’t even reply. I felt stupid. I also felt angry. I started to ask myself why I was even trying to fix this old friendship. I started to ask if it was even my place to fix. Was I the one who broke it? I began to analyze the old friendship and realized I was the one who was always giving and trying because I felt that I was the one who broke it. Well turns out, I wasn’t. I had done all I could, but I couldn’t do much more especially if that person didn’t give any effort. The old me would keep trying because I would believe it was my fault, but it’s not.
Sure, it makes me feel hopeless knowing there is nothing else I could really do to. However, I feel a sense of freedom realizing it’s not my problem to fix anymore. I can’t force something that I never broke. I realized I have been wasting too much time trying when the other end couldn’t care less. That doesn’t mean I’m not worth it. It just means I was never the one who needed to make the next step to “fix” it. And that’s okay! You know why? Now I can start giving my full energy to the people who would never make me feel like the broken piece.