We can’t fix other people

Instinctively, there will always be people who want to reach out, people who will want to understand, people who want to help others, people who nurture other people and there will be those people who want to try and fix other people.

Of course, some of these sentiments are really good and as harsh as it sounds, realistically it’s not our place to try to fix other people, it’s theirs. I wish we could. It’s honourable when we want to share and bring our resources and talents to the table, generously giving our time and attention to helping others, but we can’t turn other people’s lives around, only they can do that.

Because we perceive and manage our lives differently, even if we did try to fix other people, eventually those people would become unfixed. However kind and generous, we forget that even the compassionate must say no. We must never allow our identities to be dependent on someone nearby to nurture or fix.

We must save some of our generous tendencies for ourselves.  We must learn to trust that if we can’t fix others, everything will be absolutely fine. Even if we don’t feel it’s fine. Whether we care or not, we have to let go of our own need to fix people.

Like us, other people have to make their own world right and try to fix themselves. They are not for us to fix.


20 Mar, 2015

8 thoughts on “We can’t fix other people

  1. I absolutely agree. A therapist I saw once told me, I can’t fix others. They have to take the first step themselves.

    They have to acknowledge that they need help if there is a problem.

    1. Your last sentence wraps your response up nicely Lisa. We must always first recognise and acknowledge that we have a problem.

      Thanks Lisa.

  2. One of the hardest lessons to learn in life is the fact that we really can’t fix other people as much as we would like to.

    I spent far too many years trying to fix others when I should have been working to fix myself! People quite often don’t even want to be fixed as they kind of enjoy the insanity they live in.

    I’ve seen it called the “White Knight syndrome” recently and that sounds pretty accurate. I’m such a sucker for a “Damsel in Distress,” when the reality is I’m not the knight they were hoping for! It’s actually a ploy they’re using trying to attract the “Perfect Man” who will come to rescue them.

    “You can’t help anyone if you can’t even help yourself,” is what it comes down to! The best way I’ve found to describe it, is the decision that lifeguards sometimes have to make, whether to let the person go they’re trying to save, or end up drowning with them. You can only fight them for so long trying to save them before you have to decide which is more important!

    The reality is that you can’t help those who aren’t willing to help themselves.

    1. Thanks Randy, yes your last sentence says it all and you’re absolutely right. We can’t help those people who aren’t willing to help themselves. We have to want to help ourselves first before others help us.

      Once we accept we need help, there will be lots of people out there, just angling to lend a hand.

  3. I believe when it comes to family members, we want to fix them with more determination because after all they are family.

    For years my family tried to fix one of my brothers that had always been up to no good. He promised so many times that he was going to change. He did well for a bit, but then returned to his bad way of life.
    Unfortunately, his bad choices were the end of him.

    Another brother of mine feels bad because he thinks he could have done more to fix him. He gave him a hand; but it was my troubled brother who didn’t do his part to help himself.

    We can just offer our support to people, but they need to take the first step in bettering themselves.

    1. Thanks Maria. I’m so sorry to hear about your brother Maria. I agree with you and you’re right, we cannot fix other people, other people have to want to fix themselves first.

      Once others make up their mind that they want help and recognise that fact, we can then go back in and help.

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