I hear it again and again from my clients. And in the meetup group I run for sensitive, empathic people. It’s hard to let go of the desire to fix what’s wrong. It seems that for sensitive people, there’s truly is an innate sense of responsibility that drives us not only to help people, but to try to fix what’s wrong as well.
There’s nothing wrong with helping. There’s nothing wrong with showing compassion and empathy for others. Sometimes, there’s nothing wrong with fixing. What gets us into a pickle is when we believe it’s our responsibility to fix other people’s problems.
It might feel natural to want to fix things. And that’s okay. So often, however, we want to fix things because we feel uncomfortable when others are uncomfortable.
Because we easily pick up on what others are feeling, it’s only natural that we would want to stop what hurts.
This, however, is not always possible. Nor is it warranted. Just because we have an innate sense of responsibility, it doesn’t mean we need to take responsibility in all situations.
So, what do we do when we are confronted with the discomfort and disappointment of others?
As hard as it might feel, it’s truly about surrendering to the moment, and accepting whatever is happening. It’s about relaxing into the discomfort of not-knowing. It’s in this allowing that we are able to respond most effectively. It’s in this acceptance that we sometimes realize that our love and compassion is all that’s needed.
Recently my daughter became quite ill from anesthesia she received for a minor surgery. She couldn’t even hold down water. She eventually became so severely dehydrated that we took her to the ER.
As a mother, I wanted to fix things. I wanted to tell her exactly what to do to feel better. I wanted to find the answers that would solve her problem. But, no matter what I tried, I couldn’t help her. She just kept throwing up. And so, I relaxed. I relaxed into the not-knowing. I relaxed into the extreme discomfort. I relaxed into letting go of how I thought things should be.
And it was in that relaxation that I found the strength to truly be there for her as she struggled through her pain. It was all I could do. All I was meant to do. All that was needed. Once we got to the ER, I took care of necessary details, and then I stepped back and allowed the nurses and doctors to help her. I also allowed the disappointment that even this help didn’t prove to immediately heal her.
Thankfully, my daughter did recover, the effects from the anesthesia finally dissipated, and she’s back on her feet. The ER fluids were likely a life-safer. But in the end, it was a daily waiting game until she finally healed.
Here are Some Steps to Let Go of Trying to Fix Things:
Relax – This will allow you the clarity you need. Clarity will allow you to see if your help is actually needed, or warranted. In order to relax, try a combination of deep breathing, EFT Tapping, meditation, soothing music, Tulsi tea, yoga, aromatherapy, or any other technique that helps you.
Get Comfortable with Discomfort — Let go of resisting someone else’s pain. Instead, step into the role of compassionate witness. Compassionate witnessing allows you to honor and validate someone’s pain. This witnessing, without fixing, can be profoundly helpful.
Respond – As necessary. Fixing and helping are not the same thing. You can help someone without fixing their problems. You can be there for a person, to truly help them during their time of need. Often, that’s the best help there is. And, in some situations, sometimes saying “NO, I can’t help right now” might be the most helpful response of all.
With practice we can learn to create balance. We can learn to ask for help as we need it. We can let go of believing we’re responsible for fixing what cannot be fixed.
Sometimes, we just have to surrender, and wait it out.
Need help letting go of feeling so responsible? Contact me.