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How Do You Know the Difference Between Difficult & a Hopeless Cause?

·435 words·3 mins

“Every place is broken in its own unique way,” my friend says. “Pick the battle that’s worth fighting to you.”

I’ve been talking about my affinity for broken things. I’m not the kind of person who shies away from a challenge. Good in a crisis because I keep a level head. Go immediately into problem-solving mode.

I’m not the person who sits there feeling sorry for myself about what I don’t have. I start looking around for what I do have. For what I can make of my current situation.

Well, mostly. Sometimes I do sulk for a minute when things go wrong, just to get it out of my system so I can think clearly. People don’t problem-solve well when they’re too keyed up. Their problem-solving field diminishes down to a tiny area when they’re too stressed. And creativity can be a powerful ally in a crisis. What are you not seeing? What solutions to this problem aren’t immediately evident?

“Anything that puts you into disaster mode is unacceptable. Even just for a minute. Even briefly,” one friend tells me. Whether it’s the place you live or a relationship, you should never have to fix broken things, they say.

“I’m sorry,” I reply, “I’m cool with people leaving when they need to, but I just don’t default to that. Things break sometimes. And if people always gave up on broken things or broken people, I wouldn’t be here today.”

It would be easier to flee at the first sign of trouble, I admit. But that’s not my instinct. I’m a fixer. A helper.

“Even for a hopeless cause?” they challenge me.

“No, not for a hopeless cause” I reply. “But I’ve found that a lot of people round up to that when it’s not the case. People thought I was a hopeless cause.”

Now, It’s not like there are infinite chances, I continue. “But I don’t immediately jump ship. I just don’t.”

“How do you know the difference between difficult and a hopeless cause?” they ask me.

“Sometimes you don’t. Not at first,” I reply.

They sigh. “Well, that’s frustrating.”

“It can be,” I reply. “In my own case, I’m getting a little better every day at telling. I know sooner than I used to, and I’m more confident of my assessment when I figure it out. And I’m stronger — and happier — for at least trying to help.”

“Even if you fail?” they challenge me.

“Yes,” I reply. “These days I walk away from situations knowing that I tried hard enough and in the right ways. No matter what anyone else says.”


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