If a guy tells you he’s too damaged, too depressed, or too anything else, take him at his word.
Do you remember that Cold Play song, “Fix You?”
The chorus said, “Lights will guide you home, and ignite your bones, and I will try to fix you.” That was the most popular song from Cold Play’s third album, X&Y. It still gets radio play, and I can understand why.
It sounds sweet. The basic idea is even romantic that you could care about someone so much that your love overcomes the broken condition of their heart.
Unfortunately, it’s also highly unlikely.
But in spite of that, this is one of the questions I’m asked most frequently. Women want to know how they can rescue a guy who is neurotic. Someone who claims he’s broken or insists that he’s just not good enough for her.
So, I’m going to tell you what I tell all my clients. When a guy claims he’s messed up, you should be very cautious about moving forward. The same thing goes for a guy who goes on and on about how you’re out of his league. Sure, it’s flattering to hear at first, but it’s a significant red flag if he keeps at it.
Janice wasn’t trying to snoop. She was just looking up movie times. Her phone was in her purse in the other room, so she grabbed Brad’s. But before she could fire up his browser and do a quick internet search, he got a text message from someone named Cheryl.
“Last night was unexpected!” That was it.
He said he was working late last night. Some kind of sales meeting. Immediately, Janice felt worry settle in. She’d been cheated on before, and she didn’t like the idea of living through that nightmare again. But things seemed to be going well with Brad. If she questioned him about the message, it could send him running.
What to do? Ask him about it even if it freaks him out, or let it go and leave herself at risk?
I once sat with a couple during their argument. She was upset, and she let him have it.
She accused him of several hurtful mistakes. When she paused, he admitted he’d screwed up and said, “I’m sorry.”
She looked at him blankly for a moment, and then continued her tirade. When she paused a second time, he said, “I won’t do it again.”
Once more, she jumped right back into her rant. In fact, her accusations continued until finally he asked a crucial question. This one question was more profound than admitting he was wrong or even promising to avoid the same mistakes in the future.
He said, “How can I make it up to you?”
And that was when her anger melted. She began to speak softly and look him in the eye. In a more loving tone, she told him what she needed him to do differently. He listened and seemed to understand.
To be honest, the whole thing confused me initially, but then I reflected on it a bit and it made perfect sense. Let me explain why that last question worked.
“You’re used to doing so many things without any intention in the first place.” – Katie Lee, The Small Change Project
That’s a zinger of a first line, but it’s true for a lot of us. Maybe most of us. We tend to give little thought to how we approach things, cycling through days and even weeks on autopilot. We do what we’ve always done, just because we’ve always done it.
Then, at some point, you realize you’re not getting the results you want. Not even close. And because the goal feels a long way off, you assume you need to make big, sweeping changes. After all, you want big results.
But it’s the little changes that make all the difference. And the biggest little change you can make is entirely internal.
I’ll explain by telling you two things I’ve discovered about myself. Perhaps they’re true for you, too. Here’s the first thing I’ve discovered.
I have two modes. One is what I call my “approach mindset.” When I’m in this mode of thinking, I focus on possibilities. I’m on the lookout for opportunities, tuned into the key things I want out of life. As a result, I tend to be upbeat and optimistic.
My other mode is different. I call it my “avoidance mindset.” In this mode, I’m primarily concerned about the things that could go wrong. I end up grasping for control and obsessing over problems I see in myself and others.
Take a wild guess as to which mode is more enjoyable and fulfilling.