NEWSFLASH: I AM A PROBLEM SOLVER.
When I see a problem, I want to fix it. I want to make it better. I want to kiss the boo-boo’s. Is it because I’m a mom? Is it because I’m so incredibly Type A? Is it because I am a Navy wife accustomed to “doing it all” for months at a time while my sailor is at sea? I have no idea. What I do know is that if you come to me with a problem, I will immediately begin to brainstorm solutions, provide resources, offer encouragement, and make plans for making it all better. That’s just who I am.
The problem lies in the fact that sometimes people don’t want your help. Sometimes folks don’t want my solution; they simply want sympathy or to talk it out and get it off their chests, and sometimes people need to learn their own lessons. It’s taken me 37 years to learn this, but Rule for Being Me #2 is I Can’t Always Fix It … and I’m Not Supposed To.
This rule is both incredibly difficult and truly liberating for me.
It’s difficult because I don’t like to see my family and friends suffer. I don’t want them to struggle. I want to be of service, and I want to do anything I can to help. But … it’s not always a good thing. For one thing, my advice and fixes are oftentimes un-warranted, un-asked for, and ultimately un-heeded. I know people can solve their own problems, but I just HAVE to jump in anyways.
Hi, my name is Jodi, and I am a busybody.
And secondly, sometimes people need to make mistakes. It’s hard watching my kids make bad decisions, but sometimes I just need to let them go, let them make those choices, and be there for them (if they ask) when things go south.
Hi, my name Jodi (we’ve met before), and I am a bit of a Helicopter Mom.
Admitting and acknowledging the problem is also freeing because in knowing that I am not able to, not supposed to, not needed to fix every problem essentially lets me off the hook. Sounds simplistic, but it’s true. If all you want is a friendly ear, I can listen and then move on. If you don’t need me to solve anything, I can quietly step away and go about my day. I guess, ultimately, if it isn’t my problem, I don’t need to be a part of the solution, and if I am not part of the solution, then the outcome (whether good or bad) is not mine to worry about either.
Admittedly, this half is easier said than done. It hurts me when my kids fail. It bugs me when I feel I could have made a project better or a presentation more effective. Whether the problem is mine or the solution or none of the above, I care, but I am learning that I have to let some things (okay, lots of things) go.
Now, if you were here last Wednesday and read Rule #1: Be Jodi, you might thinking, “If a problem solver is who you are, shouldn’t you just go with it? Isn’t that just being Jodi?” Well yes, Jodi really IS a problem solver, and I do want to follow that rule as well, but I can’t be Jodi at the expense of someone else being who they are. I think there are plenty of problems that I am supposed to be solving in my everyday world.
World peace … hunger … how to lose 40 pounds without giving up potato chips and beef jerky?
Anywho, I hate to jinx myself and call this a series (usually that’s when my inspiration suddenly dies out), but come back next week for my next Rule for Being Me: It’s a Process, Not an Event.