“Smoking’s really not good for you, you know.”
After my grandmother got diagnosed with lung cancer due to a decades-long smoking habit, that was on the tip of my tongue every time I saw someone I cared about with a cigarette in hand. It wasn’t until one of them turned to me after I made a similarly worded comment about it and said something to the effect of “Emily, I don’t tell you what to do with your life” that I realized he was asking me exactly what I have been asking people to do my entire life.
Stop trying to fix me.
Stop trying to fix me because just because I am broken does not mean I’m not worthy. I am worthy- of love, of respect, of success. Even if I don’t believe it all the time, somewhere deep down inside whispers it to me whenever I make a less-than-advisable decision. You are more than this.
And as much as I appreciate the effort to remind me that you care about me and think I’m above whatever choices I’ve made or men I’ve dated or size I wear, all that’s going to reassure me of is your affection for me. Please don’t stop, because I need that support system, but understand that it can never truly change the way I see myself.
Stop trying to fix me because you don’t know how. Your advice is well meaning, and often even what I need to hear, but once I’ve made up my mind there’s little you can say that will change it. Once I’ve been convinced of something, there’s no one else who can convince me otherwise.
My brokenness is different from your brokenness, and no amount of attempts on your part can mend me, just as all the others before who have tried and failed to fix the parts of you with which they didn’t agree. You might be the most objective person and give the best advice in the world, but you have to let me make my own mistakes.
Stop trying to fix me because I don’t need a solution, I need a friend. When I come to you with my problems, voice catching in my throat, or text you so despondently that you’re tempted to run to me just to make sure I’m not as upset as I sound, I’m not looking for you to fix whatever’s wrong. I just need you to care. I’m looking for you to stay with me, to listen, to try to understand, but you don’t have to offer up answers. If I wanted answers, I would ask a question.
So know that I’m concerned about your bad habits the same way I’m concerned about my own, but I won’t try to fix them. I will do my best to be there for you, to listen and empathize in the best way I know how, to be as logical as possible but still let you know that I care. Know that I love you for all of your faults and the things you think are flaws, not in spite of them, and that I hope you can do the same for me.
Stop trying to fix me because the only person who can fix me is me. And believe me, I’m trying.