I’m Not Bob The F*ckin’ Builder (And Neither Are You!)
By: Ryan D. Daniels
“Can we fix it?” “Yes, we can!” “Can you fix it?” “No, the f*ck I can’t!” You can fix a broken window, you can fix a flat tire, and you can fix a leaky sink. However, broken people need to fix themselves. That is a word right there! Receive it!
Recently, I reconnected with a boo thang from college. Things between him and I never got right in college because I graduated ahead of him and moved on with my life. However, things are different now I’m about to move to the areas he’s in. I’m single, he’s single and when we reconnected at the event there was definitely chemistry. So I asked myself, what the heck why not go for it?
Over the next couple of days he and I texted and Facetimed frequently just chatting and catching up until the question of our last relationships came up. My story was simple, I got hurt (BADLY) and I stepped away from the dating scene to deal with my damage in a meaningful and authentic way. I took a lot of time to examine my dating patterns (Why I’m attracted to the type of men I’m attracted to? What type of issues do I find myself constantly facing? Why do I enjoy self-sabotaging good relationships?) His story? He got hurt and he was never interested in being in a relationship again. He said he was unable to trust and he didn’t have the time to put himself out there to be hurt again. My response? Okay bye! I do not have time for that shit, end of story.
There are few editions of me. Currently, I am Ryan 5.0 (I am ever evolving). Let’s take a look at how Ryan’s 1.0-4.0 ALL would’ve handled this situation. Ryan 1.0-4.0 would’ve listened and empathized and tried to prove that I had no attentions of hurting him and would’ve invested loads of energy into trying to gain his truth and fix his hurt. What about Ryan 5.0, you ask? Quite simply, Ryan 5.0 doesn’t give a fuck; your damage is your damage.
Like I said in my immediate past relationship I invested a lot of myself into a clearly damaged man. No, he wasn’t an alcoholic. No, he wasn’t a druggie. No, he wasn’t a bum. However, he was damaged nevertheless due to his poverty stricken upbringing, mommy issues, and insecurities about his identity. My blessing and curse in life is my ability to read people like my favorite book of poetry. I read people’s energies and vibes with ease. I knew he was broken but I wanted to love him into every broken piece was put back into place in such a splendid manner he forgot all about his past hurts. This process was tiring, devastating, and futile. The irony was I broke myself trying to fix him. And what do I have to show for it? A heart that looks liked Kunte Kinte’s back after he refused to accept the name Toby. I went above and beyond for a man who did not come to my aid in one of the lowest points in my life. A man who I will die believing hates me. It took a long time for me to deal with the damage he inflicted upon me but it taught me a valuable lesson, it was time for me to stop trying to fix people.
Anybody who knows me knows I am fixer. I like fixing things and tinkering with things. I see the beauty in brokenness. Unfortunately, my desire to build and fix extended to my love life. Thus, I always found myself dealing with emotionally damaged men: Mr. Emotionally Unavailable, Mr. Emotionally Abusive, Mr. Fixer Upper, and Mr. Trust Issues. I am good person with a big heart and more than enough love to give. However, I often found myself giving a lot more than I was receiving in return.
I now know that you can’t fix people and don’t waste your time trying to do so. People can only deal with their damage when they are ready to deal with it. But they key is they have to deal with their damage themselves. Do not follow yourself to fix people who are: A) Comfortable with being broken; B) Don’t even realize that they are broken; C) Don’t care that they are broken and don’t care if they break you are well.
When you care about someone you want to fix all of their hurts and put their mind at ease but people can only accept your love as deeply as they love themselves. They can only care for you as deeply as their own heart will allow them to.
You cannot love people back together. People can only heal when they are ready and for whom they are ready to heal for. However, it is not your job to wait around and allow yourself to be an emotional laborer for someone who does not have any real capacity to love, trust, and be vulnerable.
No, people cannot help how people in the past treated them. If you’ve dated long enough you’ve probably run across your fair share of people who have hurt you or made you feel something less than tender love and care. However, how we deal with our hurts determines how we move forward. If you find yourself seeing your ex in every love prospect you meet, fix yourself. If you find yourself unable to love, trust, or be vulnerable, fix yourself. If you find yourself constantly hurting others, fix yourself. If you find yourself in the same negative dating patterns over and over again, fix yourself.
It is no one’s job to fix your damage and it is not your job to fix anyone else’s. The people who love us deserve the best versions of us.
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