One of the key things all nice guys and people pleasers need to learn is the difference between supporting and fixing.
What people pleasers usually do is fixing. It looks like we're trying to help and give advice and support the person, but what we're really trying to do is control them to behave in a way that we feel more comfortable with.
Fixing comes from the perspective that the other person is broken or “wrong” in some way. We, as Nice Guys, correct this wrongness, and thereby make ourselves feel better. What’s actually best for the person we’re “helping” is not a priority motivation for us.
Fixing includes things like giving unsolicited advice, trying to convince someone of what to do, recommending they read your favourite book, telling them to do things the same way you do them, cheering them up when they’re sad, and calming them down when they’re angry.
Supporting, on the other hand, is about eliciting the best way forward for that person, even if it's different to your own personal preferences, and becoming a cheerleader and staff member to help that plan eventuate.
When you’re being supportive, it’s the other person who needs to be the leader. You ask them what they want and what would help them, and you encourage them to do as much of it on their own as possible, even if you're not totally on board with the idea.
Supporting includes asking them what they are trying to achieve, encouraging them to back themselves on their own decisions, putting them in touch with experts who specialize in the goals they’re working on, letting them make their own mistakes, and validating whatever emotional reaction they’re having as normal and human.
Supporting helps people grow and builds healthy relationships. Fixing manipulates people and builds resentment and/or co-dependency.
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