Fixing vs allowing orientation

 

When we meet a human being in distress (friend, family, client) or a part of ourselves in distress, how do we respond?

Do we want to fix it? Change it? Make it better? Find a solution? Make it go away?

Or do we meet it with a more gentle curiosity? Allow it to be as it is? Listen? Be present with it? See what the person or part wants? Ask what they most need here and now?

The first can feel invasive and frustrating for one or both parts. The second can feel like a relief and what we need.

Of course, it depends on the situation. Sometimes, there is something very specific that needs to be done and we can help with that. But most of the time, taking time and be present with a gentle curiosity is what’s more needed.

If we feel compelled to fix, it can be good to explore where it comes from. Have we made a fixer identity for ourselves? Do we automatically assume that’s our role in the situation? Do we assume that’s what the other wants from us? Have we made fixing a way avoid our own discomfort with the situation? Do we assume we’ll be loved and accepted if we can fix the other? Is there a fear behind it all? A fear that hasn’t been met, listened to, loved?

I notice a voice in me saying: “Make a connection between this and the power-over and power-with orientations. Write that the first approach is more connected with a power-over orientation and the second is more power-with”. It’s not wrong. But it’s perhaps also not so helpful since it can come with some judgment and shoulds. I prefer to leave it out, or include it in this way (!)

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