I am one of those annoying people who think they can fix everyone else’s problems. I have always been incredibly attracted to the “bad boy,” and love a good project. This mentality has been toxic for me and I have ended up in more unhealthy relationships than I care to acknowledge. I never really knew why I was this way I think it was boredom… or maybe an overinflated ego. Whatever it was though, I knew I needed to make a change in myself and that’s what I have spent the past year or so working on. This is a huge work in progress but so far this is what I have learned:
Ever since I realized it was not my job to fix people, men in particular, I have come to appreciate them more as the individuals they are. I am able to have conversations with them and accept at face value the things they claim to believe or whatever truths they spout off. I no longer try to catch people in lies and I no longer try and bring people to my way of thinking because I understand that maybe it isn’t the only correct way of thinking.
I have learned to accept and respect other’s life choices, even when, and especially if, I don’t agree with them. I cannot relate to a lot of people’s strange decisions but I accept them because everyone is entitled to their own agency. We are all adults here and it’s our job to make our own decisions. I can’t mother people and in all actuality, I really could not care enough to want to do so. Instead I just nod and smile and realize that everyone is on a different path, even if theirs happens to converge with mine at some point.
I am a “type-A perfectionist” which led me to constantly try and fix other people. This is an incredibly hard and thankless task. It was perplexing for me when these people that I cared so much for would not accept the advice that I knew would make their lives better. As a result, I felt so responsible and disappointed with myself. I don’t like to fail and yet I was constantly failing with these people. I started to think that their decisions were a reflection on me as a person. It was MY fault that these people were such messes and if only I had been better they would be too.
This thought process was so wrong and so harmful to me as a person that when I stopped feeling responsible I began to realize what a good person I am without them. I learned that their choices were not a reflection on me as a person and that I have many great and wonderful gifts that I bring to the table. Additionally, I realized that their decisions did not make them bad people. Once I realized this, my whole perspective changed. No longer do I seek out men that are projects, I am attracted to men who have their life together. I seek out friendships with people who also accept me as a person, and my life choices the same way that I accept them and theirs. These friendships and relationships have brought a significant change to my outlook and mood. My newfound self-love has made me a much happier person because I have learned to eliminate those toxic people.
Learning to love and respect myself enough to cut ties with those who do not make me a better person has brought a significant amount of happiness to my life. As a result I now strive to leave positivity wherever I go. I try to give out as many compliments as I can (obviously genuine ones) and if I have something nice to say, I will say it. Because I love myself I want others to feel their own self-love. I want them to know that they are special and appreciated even if its for stupid things. Sounds corny right? Writing it down makes me feel silly but it’s true. A simple “thank-you” is so underappreciated but can have a strong impact on how others feel. Complimenting people on their outward appearances, their character, celebrating their successes, or even just listening to them as they complain and vent makes such a difference in how they feel. After I learned to love myself, I wanted others to know I loved them too.
When I stopped trying to fix everyone else it gave me a significant amount of time to just work on me. I made an inventory of my own flaws and have been working to fix them (for the record, I am nowhere near completion). I have been selfish with my time and attention. This sounds bad, but it was something I needed to do. It actually worked out well because I needed to be selfish; it was my first year of law school and I did not have time to do anything else but school and focus on myself. As a result I feel that I have become a more complete person and I like this version of myself so much more.
When I stopped trying to fix everyone I learned to appreciate, accept, and love them more and in turn I was able to learn to love and fix myself.