Thought Catalog
February 17, 2017

You Can’t Save Everyone Who’s Broken (And That’s Okay)

Report This Article
What is the issue?
averie woodard
averie woodard

“Sometimes, you don’t realize you’re actually drowning trying to be everyone else’s anchor”

As long as I can remember, I was easily attached myself to damaged people. I’ve always been able to connect on a deeper level with them. It’s always the people who were at war with themselves that I wanted to save. I become so captivated by their brokenness that I would set myself aside just to aid them to peace. I can say with great certainty that we all are fighting some form of battle in our minds. Some of us just carry themselves a little differently than others and some masks are painted on a little better.

I always had a way to get the most guarded person to pour their heart out to me. Ironically, they would all mutter the same line “I don’t know what it is, but I feel like I can tell you anything.”

I truly wanted to save the guarded ones, and the one’s that would mask their pain. The one’s that were giving up on themselves. Those are the one’s that I achingly convinced myself that I could salvage.

I have always been known to be the therapist amongst my circle of people. I am the friend that people call when they can’t sleep at night or the friend that will sit on the beach under the stars just to talk about life. I knew the brutal pain of feeling hopeless and worthless that I wouldn’t allow anyone around me to ever feel that sort of pain. I would listen to their brokenness and utter words of guidance, all the while thinking, if only I practiced what I preached.

I couldn’t save myself, so I ultimately began saving others.

I wanted to fix everyone. If I could pretend to be strong and resilient and take on the heartache of someone else, then that meant there would be one less damaged soul. Then, they wouldn’t feel as alone as I did.

I began to crave people who desperately needed me. If they needed me then that meant I had a purpose to live. It was a fulfilling feeling to be so worthy to someone when I felt so worthless myself. If I wasn’t need then, who was I and why am I here? I truly thought that two damaged people trying to mend each other was love, but my God was I wrong.

I didn’t understand difference between loving someone and rescuing them.

I will forever remember the moment I realized just how dead I actually was inside, because of how much of a fixer I tried to be. It was a Tuesday, I was engaged, 21, and living away from home. I was at work when my mind began to replay the events of the morning, and I knew this time it had gone too far. On impulse, I grabbed my belongings and ran out of work. I called my best friend and through the breathless tears I finally said the words out loud I can’t marry him, I can’t do this anymore. I told her everything; it just kept coming out and wouldn’t stop. Finally, she said words that will stick with me forever.

You’re allowed to ask for help.

I couldn’t, I couldn’t ask for help. I thought if I gave enough of myself, that he would begin to heal and he would finally be happy like everyone else was. I was the one that was the glue holding it together. I was the girl that set herself on fire to keep others warm. I didn’t want help, because I wanted to mend what was broken, but can you fix someone that was never really whole in the first place?

No.

You cannot save anymore that doesn’t want to be saved. They have to want to mend their pieces themselves, and it is not your job to rip yourself to pieces to keep them whole. You can give someone the best love, affection, and attention, and they will only meet you as deeply as they have met themselves. Growing up though, I didn’t know that. I was always trying to be everything for everyone. Simply because I care.

As of now, I have to tell that girl to slow down. I never want her to not fully remove herself, but I want her to take a second and analyze the entire picture. She needs to be put herself first sometimes. It’s her time to be a little selfish, because she spent too much time being selfless. I have to constantly remind her that the outside world’s needs shouldn’t come between her self-worth and well-being. I am humbled by her gentle heart and love she effortlessly sends out.

But she owes it to herself to love herself as much as she loves the world. TC mark