Do you have someone in your life that needs fixing, that could really really use your help? That if they listened to you and just did what you said . . . they would feel better?

As I typed that out, I knew it sounded a bit silly, but this is what I was doing with my husband Dave recently. He was working through some “stuff” and I soooo wanted to help him feel better. I saw how he was struggling and believed I could help him.

I know, I know, I can’t do it for him. I know he needs to find his own way, but for a while there I kind of forgot.

Have you ever done this with someone close to you? You see them having a difficult time, you provide them with all this wonderful advice that can help them, but they don’t listen to you?

I’m pretty sure I can guess what happened next. They got even more frustrated with you and probably held back how they were feeling.

Well, this was what was starting to happen with Dave and me. Every time I would see him struggling, I would quickly try and help him. I would give him some advice, offer a suggestion, a tip, something I felt would help him feel better, things that I knew helped me.

It turns out I was only making things worse. Dave was not looking for me to “fix” him. He was wanting me to acknowledge him, to listen and to support and love him. Every time I was giving him what I thought was wonderful advice, he was feeling more and more disconnected from me. This caused me to start feeling disconnected as well.

I was upset that Dave wasn’t listening to me. That’s when I decided to take a step back. I realized that instead of helping Dave, I ended up upsetting him even more and now I was also upset.

That is when it struck me, I was in the “fix it” mode that never works.

Ultimately, I turned to what does work, having an open conversation with Dave. I asked him what I could do to help him. It was great. I took the time to listen to him so I could understand how he was feeling and how I could truly help.

I wanted to share this experience with you in case you find yourself in a similar situation – trying to “fix” someone in your life. Here are some key points that I want to remember when I find myself slipping back into trying to “fix” someone. Maybe they will resonate with you too.

1- Acknowledge. When someone close to me is struggling, I want to remember to listen, to acknowledge what they are going through, without interrupting, without jumping in and giving my advice. People want to be seen and heard. Allow them to share how they are feeling without giving them advice or trying to ‘fix’ them.

2- Ask. Once they have had a chance to talk and share how they are feeling, simply ask them if there is anything you can do for them, or how can you help them, or what you can do for them. Let them know you are there for them. I have found that a lot of times they are looking for a safe place to share how they are truly feeling without feeling judged.

3- Love and support. Remember to love them and support them as they find their way. You can’t force or make someone feel a certain way, but you can support, love them and hopefully help them feel less alone.

“The greatest gift you can give to others is the gift of unconditional love and acceptance.” Brian Tracy