Stop Fixing and Start Connecting
I’ve been sharing some of my thoughts as they pop up the past week or two on the Heights Family Counseling Twitter: “Relax, you don’t need all the answers all at once. You’ll get there with time. ~Amy- my own self-soothing thoughts today” or “Just breathe. Everything is going to be okay. You got this; you've survived 100 % of bad days before. ~Amy- because sometimes we need to hear what our brain doesn't always tell us!”
It felt good to not only think those things, but to put it out there for the world to see. I work with many individuals and couples and one of the things we talk a lot about is stop trying to fix everything. Just pause, just be, and just process what you and/or your partner are feeling. We really don’t need to have the answers all at once.
This is especially true for couples. Really, stop trying to fix things! It’s hard for us fixers. I totally get it; you hear that your partner is struggling and you want to help. And for you, help = fix. In truth, you are probably with your partner because you find them intelligent and able to handle life’s curveballs. This means once your partner has come to you, they most likely have processed all possible solutions. They really just want to talk and process the emotions. Help = listen and validate. Just like I needed to stop myself and pause in order to not fix my problems all at once, you, as a fixer, can do the same for your partner. When your partner comes to you with a problem, try to pause and just breathe at first. Then use these tips of what to do instead of “fix” when you partner comes to you with a problem.
1. Validate- One of the best ways for your partner to feel loved and connected is to validate what they are going through. Listen in order to connect and not to respond. Make sure to use all methods to listen- eye contact, touch (hugs, rub the back, pat on the leg), and non-verbals such as nodding. This allows your partner to know you are not just listening but truly attuned to what they are saying.
2. Reflect with Empathy- Make sure your partner knows that you understand exactly what they are feeling. Use your own words, but I often will say something like, “Oh my gosh, babe, I can’t believe they did that to you. You must have been livid when they said that.” This statement shows that we are a team, I know what you are feeling, and I have your back.
3. Use Their Love Language- We often communicate with our partner with our own love language and not theirs. If your partner requires touch for example, use this time to cuddle and hug. If it is words of affirmation, use this time to let your partner know how much they are loved and how much you care about them. If it is acts of service, take the time to rub your partner’s feet, help with dinner, or start a bath for them to relax. Remember fixing does not equal fixing the situation, but helping your partner process their emotions and feel connected during times of crisis.
Overall, let’s not forget to pause. Use that pause for self-soothing statements, deep breathing, and a reminder that all of life’s problems don’t need to be solved all at once. In my own words, “You got this,” and “let’s go do all the awesome things in life.”
Written by Amy Rollo, M.A., LSSP, LPC-S
Amy Rollo is a Licensed Professional Counselor Supervisor and owner of Heights Family Counseling. Amy has been practicing counseling and diagnostic evaluations for fifteen years. She has doctoral level training in the areas of child and adolescent counseling, evaluations, marriage and family therapy, and adult counseling. Amy Rollo provides counseling and evaluation services in the Houston Heights and surrounding areas. Amy’s goal in counseling is to journey with her clients in order to foster positive changes and growth in their lives. Read more about Amy's counseling style by visiting www.heightsfamilycounseling.com and read more about her services http://heightsfamilycounseling.com/services-1/