Fixing the World’s Problems

I have always heard that women listen to a friend talking about their troubles, and has the ability to either empathize, or sympathize. We listen, and hear what the other is saying. We let them pour out their emotions, and we are there for a hug, and words of encouragement.

Men, hear the words, but they tend to want to fix the problems. Their mind searches for solutions. Sometimes, they are so busy designing solutions in their minds, they don’t hear what is being said.

Through blogging, solitude, and therapy, I have been seriously examining my thoughts, and feelings. I have the ability to listen and encourage, but I also want to fix things. I don’t believe I’m unique in this respect, but it is a source of frustration. Frustration, left unresolved will eventually become depression–for me.

On the news, we see stories about devastation in places such as Haiti, the Philippines. Stories about animals lost or abandoned during Hurricane Katrina. Devastation of most of an area due to tornadoes. Frankly, I’ve had to turn off the television because I don’t know what to do. We donate money when we can, but I want to fix the problem. If I could scoop up every little child who is orphaned, every animal which lost its way, every person without a home, and open my home to them, I would.

When my sister was told she was going into kidney failure, I asked about becoming a kidney donor. This was shortly after my lung surgery. Apparently, a person has to be cancer free for at least 5 years before becoming a donor. I couldn’t help anyway, because her heart was failing. Her doctors wouldn’t even consider her as a candidate for any transplantation. She accepted her fate, why couldn’t I?

Why is it, when someone tells me something they are frustrated with, or can’t understand, I feel the intense need to fix the problem? Why aren’t encouraging words, or a hug enough for me?

Why do I feel so paralyzed?

Why can’t I accept that I am only one person, and can only do so much?

I can’t make people change, I can’t rescue everyone from every disaster. I can’t solve everyone’s problems.

The help I have given to friends of my kids has never seemed like enough. At times, we have given them shelter and our love. Why is that not enough for me?

I would like to know where I went wrong teaching my kids to not be so sloppy. I sometimes feel as if my depression gave them a poor example for how a house should be kept clean. I might not have been Mrs. Clean House Pants, but our toilets, sinks, showers, dishes, and clothing weren’t neglected. Why are they such master procrastinators? Did I teach them this?

I know I can’t change the world.

So, why do I feel such intense desire to do so?


About April

I'll come back to this when I find out who I really am. I've been through some extremely rough patches but they have made me a better person. I blog if my brain is functioning first thing in the morning.
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8 Responses to Fixing the World’s Problems

  1. mewhoami says:

    Maybe because you’ve struggled so long trying to ‘fix’ yourself that now you want to ‘fix’ others so that they won’t have to go through all that you did. That’s a sign of a very loving and genuine heart. It’s a wonderful thing. We may not be able to fix everyone’s problems since it’s something they must want to do for themselves. But we can certainly help, even if it’s only one person. Reading your post reminded of this:

    [A man was walking along a deserted beach at sunset. As he walked he could see a young boy in the distance, as he drew nearer he noticed that the boy kept bending down, picking something up and throwing it into the water. Time and again he kept hurling things into the ocean.

    As the man approached even closer, he was able to see that the boy was picking up starfish that had been washed up on the beach and, one at a time he was throwing them back into the water.

    The man asked the boy what he was doing, the boy replied,”I am throwing these washed up starfish back into the ocean, or else they will die through lack of oxygen. “But”, said the man, “You can’t possibly save them all, there are thousands on this beach, and this must be happening on hundreds of beaches along the coast. You can’t possibly make a difference.”
    The boy looked down, frowning for a moment; then bent down to pick up another starfish, smiling as he threw it back into the sea. He replied,

    “I made a difference to that one!”]

    • April says:

      What a beautiful story. I think I have been this way for a long time. I can remember discussing with my therapist, the earthquake in Haiti, the shooting at the Connecticut Elementary school, among many other disasters, and struggles that my friends and family were dealing with—with tears streaming down my face. I would like to reach that point where I can accept that I am helping, even if it is one person at a time.

  2. April, you care. That is the difference. I too want to fix injustices and right wrongs. It is so clear to us and so foreign to so many others. We see others’ needs before our own. That has positive and negative effects on us, as you well know. In the end, it is not a matter of how much, but at the most, you tried to make a difference. We cannot know what it means in the scheme of things in our tiny corners of the world. Some people never even bother. Your heart is large enough to try to carry all these things with you which is why it weighs us down sometimes. Big hugs from someone who gets it.

    • April says:

      I knew you would get it. I do my little things, but I have a wish to go big. Not for praise or recognition, I just want everybody to have what they need. Basic needs.

  3. aviets says:

    I totally understand where you’re coming from. There’s so little we can do in the face of so much need that we see around us all the time. It can be hard to be satisfied with what little we are able to do. Actually, I was just about to touch on that subject in the post I’m planning to write this afternoon… -Amy

  4. suzjones says:

    April, I have to walk away from watching the news sometimes because I cry and because I want to help. I have to realise that I can’t take in every orphan I see on tv and there is only so much giving that I can do (the Garden Gnome told me that if I didn’t stop giving I would be the one needing charity one day lol).
    As I was reading this, I was thinking of your earlier posts about enjoying making things and working with your hands. I believe that you wanting to fix things is a part of who you are and your personality type.
    As mewhoami said, changing or helping just one thing is making a difference. Baby steps my friend. Baby steps. 🙂

    • April says:

      I cry over stories too. In fact, after I published this post, I grabbed a couple of cats and let a bunch more tears to fall. I have plans, I just need to get a little stronger. I’m almost there.

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