Updated: Oct 18
One of the assumptions of life coaching is that people don’t need fixing. They’re not broken. In shamanic terms, we view everyone as whole and complete. Once again, people aren’t broken nor do they need fixing. If you’re a people-fixer, these statements may baffle you!
Life coaches, social workers, and psychologists could fall into the category of being fixers IF they don’t view the person as being capable and able to solve their own problems. It’s vital to see people in this way. Otherwise, when one person in a relationship is doing all the fixing, you’re heading into deep trouble.
If you’re a compulsive people-fixer, it’s time to stop. This behavior isn’t helping anyone, including yourself. While your intentions may be good, it doesn’t serve you or the other people to start trying to fix them. And, if you want to know why, read on as I share five reasons why you shouldn’t be fixing people.
5 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Be Trying to Fix People
1. You See People as Broken
People are NOT broken. This includes you. Repeat this to yourself until it sinks in! Instead, people are undergoing a renewal every time a situation challenges them. When someone's life seems fragmented because of a painful experience they’re going through, you may think they’re broken. But, all they need is compassion. And, to show themselves self-love.
When you can see that people don’t need fixing, you can help them in a way that’s constructive for both of you. By encouraging a person who is struggling to approach their problems in a responsive and positive way, you’re giving them the tools to grow and develop.
2. Your Own Needs Are Fulfilled Every Time You Fix Someone
While most of us rush around trying to fix people because we really care and are being kind, there’s another side to the story. You may be looking for praise, approval, and love in all the wrong ways by sacrificing yourself for others. By fixing other people, you’re fulfilling your own need to be seen.
People fixers also get a thrill and a sense of control when they’re managing other people’s lives. They love solving other people’s problems and being seen as a rescuer. It’s all about balance and knowing when you’re helping someone handle their own issues compared to when you’re “rescuing” that person from a perceived problem.
Watch this video to find out if you have a rescuer personality.
3. You Are Addicted to Fixing People
The more approval and attention you get from those watching you fix your friends, family, or work colleagues, the more addicted you get to the praise. People-fixing is addictive and if you’re not aware of your need to constantly mend people and their ways, you’ll fall into a dangerous trap.
While stepping in to help those in need is commendable and acceptable – to a point - taking over and crossing the boundaries (yours and theirs) is unhealthy. If you find yourself doing any of the following, ask yourself if you’ve become addicted to fixing people:
Using all your free time to solve other people’s problems.
Putting all your savings into someone’s else bank account because (once again!) they find themselves in debt.
Putting the needs of others above your own self-care.
Canceling your appointments, taking time off work (yet again), or dropping your own hobbies to “save the day” for someone else.
When you’re addicted to fixing people, you’re getting your need for love and connection met in an unhealthy way. Think about this the next time you cancel your massage because your friend is, once again, crying over the fact her boyfriend has beaten her up.
By exploring addictive behaviors, you'll understand why you're addicted to fixing people.
4. You Believe Other People Need to Change
If you’re guilty of trying to fix others because you perceive they need to be changed, you need to re-evaluate your relationship with that person. We all own traits and behaviors that may irritate others. But, this doesn’t give you permission to try and change them. If someone irritates you, ask yourself what needs to change in YOU.
If you’re constantly attracting people into your life that trigger your anger, frustration, and irritation, you need to figure out what is going on with you. Why do you keep attracting these people? It’s not because they need fixing or changing. But, rather something within you needs to change so you can grow and transform.
5. You Feel It’s Your Responsibility to Mend Others
How many times do you find yourself saying, ‘It’s my responsibility to help them/change them/mend their ways”? You might not like to hear this but actually, no, it isn’t your responsibility. The only person you’re responsible for is yourself.
It’s tempting to believe you’re shielding someone from negative consequences by attempting to mend their ways. But, all you’re doing is taking away their accountability for making bad choices. And, limiting their own chances of learning from their mistakes and growing into a better person.
What Can You Do When Someone Needs Help?
Every now and then, you’ll come across someone who has asked for your help. You can see they’re struggling and you want to empower them to find a solution. Natural healers who understand that people aren’t broken and that healthy boundaries must be respected and honored at all times can do much to help someone in need.
So, what can you do to help someone who could do with a leg up? Consider the following ways:
Teach self-acceptance: Show the person who needs help that self-acceptance of their fragmented parts will help them grow and transform in a healthy way. By showing themselves love and compassion while facing a challenge, the person will find solutions in the right time and place.
Nurture yourself before you nurture others: When you’re showing yourself love and nurture, you’ll have the resources to nurture others in a meaningful way. This way, they can feel safe while finding their own solutions to difficult situations.
Empower them to use their own internal resources: By tapping into your internal resources, you’ll realize you’ve got everything you need to survive challenging times. Show others how to do this and empower them to use their own personal power.
Listen and don’t jump in with fix-it solutions: Sometimes, all another person wants is for you to actively listen and really hear what they’re saying. Giving someone else your full attention can be therapeutic for the person talking.
Offer to walk with them on their journey: By recognizing that each one of us is on our own journey, we’re accepting that each person needs to find their own way through problems. However, this doesn’t mean they have to do it alone and you can offer to walk beside them, giving your love and sharing your resources while they find the best solution for themselves.
Recommend professional help: If someone really is struggling, it's a good idea to suggest they seek out professional help. We’re not all equipped to deal with issues such as depression, drugs, abuse, or other deeper problems. Getting expert advice would be the best solution in this situation.
Giving your love, support, kindness, and generosity are all things you can do to help people when they’re in a pickle. But, if the other person isn’t playing out their part and taking full responsibility for finding the right solution, you’ll need to learn to say no. Otherwise, you’ll fall into the trap of being a people-fixer.
Trying to fix other people isn’t necessary unless you want to enable them to continue being unaccountable for their own behavior and actions. Being a people-fixer is also unhealthy if you’re doing it to make YOU feel good. When you try to fix people you’re taking away their only chance of growing and transforming into better people.
But, when someone in need reaches out and asks for your love and support, while still being responsible for their own problems, you can step in. Knowing that they’re willing to do the work to find the solutions, you can give them the leg up they need in a healthy and constructive way. And, change will take place through true growth and transformation.
This post was originally published on November 23rd, 2021, and updated on December 7th, 2022.