I was never really big on self-reflection.
Oh, believe me, I journaled a lot in my younger years, furiously filling the blank pages with dreams and plans. But I didn’t ever take the time to take a look into places that needed work in my life. I wasn’t interested in the present; I longed for the future me, the woman who successfully had her life together and had already untangled the tough stuff.
But I was wrong. The person you are now is the one you need to work with, pay attention to, love, and reflect on. The person you are today is who becomes who you create for the future – not some miraculous moment where you wake up as exactly who you always wanted to be.
Self-reflection may be a great Pinterest concept, but when you find yourself needing to step back and really dig deep into what makes you you, it requires more than a hand-lettered quote repined to the board of your choice.
It means re-evaluating some deeply held beliefs, peeling back the layers, and getting alone with God. It means quitting the blame-game, holding yourself responsible for your own choices, actions, and behaviors no matter what others choose to do, and figuring out what your strengths and weaknesses are. It’s about recognizing the broken parts, and being willing to work on change.
In my 28 years on this earth, I have discovered I am a “fixer.”
As women, we are especially susceptible to wanting to “fix” the people in our lives – we take on responsibilities for others, try to lessen the load, and forget our healthy boundaries on a consistent basis. Even the most self-aware of us fall into this trap occasionally…always with results that aren’t so pretty.
Here are five indicators and solutions that I’ve uncovered as a self-professed “fixer”- catching a glimpse of the nature of our Heavenly Father in the process!
1. You see the good in everyone, but this needs to be followed closely by a spirit of discernment.
There are those who only ever focus on the negative – you aren’t one of them. You are willing to give everyone the benefit of the doubt, and even the occasional second chances. But the old adage, “Actions speak louder than words” is more than just a saying. True colors are bold and bright.
Don’t mistake being patient and forgiving with being a doormat for people to repeatedly mistreat you.
2. You have a tender heart and an open mind – this is a beautiful quality, but also sets you up for a lot of heartbreak.
You’ve heard the phrase “Guard your heart!” probably a million times at this point in your life. It’s an easy one-liner, but how do we actually do that? More importantly, why is that so vital? Because the Bible says your heart is the well-spring of your life. What you feed your soul is what fuels you, for better or worse.
I’ve experienced my share of messy and irreparable relationships with guys from all different backgrounds of life, and each time, it seems it was a result of ignoring obvious red flags for the hope of changing the other person. It’s a rare quality to be able to see the beauty in the broken, but you need to be careful; broken things aren’t always fixable- especially if the other person is simply taking advantage of kindness with ulterior motives.
3. You tend to hang on to unhealthy people longer than you should because you see the potential – but you need to see the person they are RIGHT NOW.
Then once more you shall see the distinction between the righteous and the wicked, between one who serves God and one who does not serve him. -Malachi 3:18
When Jesus chose his disciples, they weren’t perfect people. They had anger issues, prideful tendencies, selfish motives, and were even liars and betrayers! But Jesus chose them because He could see beyond the surface – both the good and the bad. He knew the potential these men had to be used for the glory of God and His perfect plan.
But honey, you aren’t Jesus.
Fixers are very trusting. They allow people the benefit of the doubt right away, instead of requiring trust to be earned. You’ve probably been burned more than once by that friend who seemed so open and honest and easy to talk to – but then spilled your secrets to the next available listener. Or that coworker who was on your side during tough work situations, but then turned on you when someone else’s opinion seemed more popular.
There is nothing wrong with creating an environment of trust with others. You are a good listener, keep an open mind, and people are naturally drawn to you. Careers such as coaching or counseling might be in your future. But don’t forget caution and firm boundaries. Trust is truly a thing to be earned.
4. You thrive on solutions and encouraging others, but sometimes fail to see that you are internalizing their drama instead of letting them figure it out for themselves.
Your friend has a controlling boyfriend. The relationship has been unhealthy and manipulative from the beginning, and you have always worried about her. She ignores you when other friends in her life are supporting her bad choices, but she turns to you every time the relationship takes a nosedive. You lovingly give her your ear, your caring attention, and figure out a healthy plan – every time she comes to you, no matter how long it’s been since you last spoke. But after many hours, days, weeks, years of this happening, you realize it’s actually a pattern – nothing has changed, and the friendship is draining.
Again, you need to know your boundaries. You may feel bad for your friend, but her drama is not your drama. Her choices and behaviors are not your responsibility. Create space for your friendship and be clear about your feelings. Being used as the emotional dumpster, without any change in behavior and damage, is a sure way to get your own emotional and spiritual health out of balance. Unless you set clear boundaries, this won’t ever change. Which leads me to my final point…
5. Unhealthy people will use you as a crutch for as long as you let them.
“The Lord is my light and my salvation- whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life- of whom shall I be afraid?” -Psalm 27:1
What you allow will always continue.
Fixers fear rejection. They can be people-pleasers, which sets them up for a lot of hurt and being taken advantage of. But when you are confident in who you are in Christ, and when you aren’t afraid of what others might do, you are able to say “no” without excuses, take care of your physical, spiritual, and emotional wellness, guard your heart (in whatever way is best for you), and make healthy choices.
Your time won’t be eaten up by those who need an emotional punching bag or someone to fix their problems; instead, when we recognize our godly, feminine strength of changing the “fixer” personality into a positive, we can discover a grace and beauty about ourselves that God intends and desires for us to conduct our lives, careers, and relationships with.
Being a “fixer” in the negative sense always fails. But when we submit our lives to Christ and give Him our relationships, it’s not up to us to “fix” anyone. It’s in His hands to do the work in others. Our job is to create clear boundaries, listen to the Holy Spirit, and live our lives with the strength that grace and mercy brings. Self-reflection and awareness of your personality allows the opportunity to recognize the weaknesses and submit them to God for His redemption and guidance.
If you are a “fixer,” don’t be discouraged! You were created to be exactly who you are: tenderhearted and full of love to give. Just remember you are a called and chosen Daughter of the King of kings who can love others with Holy Spirit power. Ask for discernment and wisdom as you continue in this beautifully unfolding story that your Heavenly Father is writing for you. And hold you head up with the blessed assurance that “He who began a good work in you” isn’t finished with you yet!