I have a problem. I like to fix shit. Actually, let me rephrase that...I like to fix problems...including things that aren't mine to fix, situations that don't need my interference, or folks that are able to manage themselves and their process without my personal divine intervention.
I get it. I know where it comes from. Growing up in a home of intense trauma and abuse, fixing situations and people is an act of survival. If you can make everything better, quickly, even those things are not directly related to you or anything that you have done....you learn young that those same situations that may have nothing to do with you at all, could have direct, intense, and damaging consequences to you none the less. As a child, it often meant physical or emotional abuse. And, so, you learn to manage other people, direct or redirect their emotions away from danger zones, and involve yourself in moments and situations that are not yours to hold, handle, or resolve.
The problem is that those behaviors, which once served a direct survival purpose, translate as an adult, into an intense desire to step into places and spaces that aren't yours to hold..YET...and here is the kicker, at least where I am involved, I then internalize shit that actually has NOTHING to do with me.
For example...there is someone that is very important to me. This amazing human being is doing some intensive healing work, some of which touches on us because it involves a previous relationship. Now....let me be clear...it has NOTHING to do with me. It isn't ABOUT me. When things sort of occupy space between us that has been triggered by previous experiences with other folks...this beautiful human being generally tells me so...in order that it remains really clear that it isn't about me and therefore not for me to internalize, over think, or own. And when there have been times in those triggered moments when their behavior has resulted in some hurt because it was handled in not the best way...I have been given the grace and space to say so and it has been acknowledged in a way that has allowed me to let it go.
So, you'd think having a clear realization that the shit ain't about me would let me go on about the business of living and dealing with my own caca crap....you'd think that wouldn't you? Wouldn't you?
Well....surprise surprise I still end up wanting to reach out and in and try to lift away what...in truth...I have no real power to change and no right to try and take on or cut out. Folks gonna heal when they decide they want to heal. Folks are going to hold on to things until they are ready to let them go whether or not it is good or healthy. Folks are going to release and change their emotional well being when they decide that they are tired of spending all their time hurting and instead would rather do the work to let it go. And, here's the kicker, folks gonna reclaim their power from others including the power to let others hold their hurt AND...it sure is Hell not ok for me (or you or you or you) to try and take away the power that someone you know and love that is hurting is doing the hard work to reclaim for themselves.
To love someone is to commit oneself to ones own and another's spiritual growth (bell hooks' words). To love someone means sitting with your own discomfort, being present with yourself and your own work (because when we DO our own work and focus on our own work we are loving that other as best we can...because we are starting by loving ourselves (in his words) fiercely. And if we can sit with our own shit and discomfort, if we can keep our hands and feet and "fix it" tendencies to ourselves, it means that when the person we love that is hurting/struggling/working comes to us, on their own terms, we can be really present for them instead of being present in our own interests and based in our own selfishness or self-protective behaviors.
This consequently means that we also don't get to project our own work and struggles on others with the expectation that they are going to fix them for us. Asking for strategic advice in order to help us do our own work or reflecting with someone for clarity is one thing....offloading my/your/our shit onto someone else and then walking away from the work afterwards is so not cool and it is so not going to result in anything but pissing off the person that is now carrying your stuff as well as his or her own.
It's about damn time I took my own advice. So I am going to try and practice this a little bit better, particular with the people that are closest to me. This might mean a whole lot of things that I may not like to do, look at, admit, see or confess. But if it's about the work, and I am about the work, then I better work it.