OK, I admit it: I’m a fixer. When I was a child, my mother labeled my behavior as the inability to “leave well enough alone.” But it’s a bit deeper than that. When I see something isn’t right, I feel the need to do something about it. Sounds admirable, doesn’t it? It’s not. After all, who am I to say that something is not right?
I guess it’s a matter of faith; I’m never sure that things will work out unless I intervene. And so I do. I cause myself to feel responsible for all kinds of things that really have nothing to do with me. Talk about self-importance! It’s exhausting. And it contributes greatly to my fibromyalgia fatigue.
The problem with being a fixer is that I’ve missed out on all the other possibilities that exist in the world. Forcing my solutions on a situation eliminates uncertainty, sure. I know it will get done because I’m the one who does it. But is that a good thing? I’ve begun to believe it is not, for I perform every task in my unique manner and to my unique standards — the same way, every time. Where’s the opportunity for growth or creativity in that?
I’ve been considering the times I’ve been unable to keep a commitment because of my physical symptoms. At those times someone else stepped in to perform the task, the task was postponed, or it remained undone. In no case did the world stop spinning.
For years, I’ve beaten myself up when unable to fulfill obligations. What I’ve failed to understand is that my “inability” has been the opportunity for creativity that otherwise would not have existed. Now I realize that these opportunities are the magic of life. And the stronger I believe this, the more freedom I experience.
Instead of feeling bad about the way a situation unfolded because of my absence, I’ve begun to see the beauty in it. Another person completed “my” tasks in ways I would never have considered. Someone else got an opportunity to explore a skill or exhibit a talent that otherwise may have remained hidden. Functions previously considered “necessary” were discovered to no longer be of value. Or, if they were still needed, there were more efficient ways of getting them done.
It’s not that I’m giving myself an excuse to do nothing. Rather, I’ve begun to realize that it’s not all up to me. Perhaps fibromyalgia has finally served a purpose in my life. It’s taught me to be open to possibilities that would never have existed. I’ve begun to consider uncertainty to be a gift. Finally, I can take a deep breath and watch life unfold without feeling the need to fix it.
Note: Fibromyalgia News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Fibromyalgia News Today, or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to fibromyalgia.