Remember Bob the Builder? When was the last time you thought about this little cartoon character who wore an adorable yellow hard hat, overalls and an orange/yellow checkered shirt?
There's always the chance that you might have never heard of Bob the Builder, which would mean that the last time you thought about him was never.
Regardless, if you are or are not familiar with Bob, the concept of "fixing" is not something that is unfamiliar to any of us. Whether the item being fixed is a leaky faucet, a burnt out light or a broken heart, we all have the tendency to try and fix things to make them new again so that we can cover up or replace the brokenness.
As bizarre as it is, Bob the Builder has been on my mind a lot lately (hence this article).
Bob and his co-characters had a theme song that they would launch into when a problem or construction project arose. The song went something along the lines of: "Can we fix it? Yes, we can!" The purpose of Bob and his theme song is to teach children how to problem solve with a positive attitude.
At our core, we tend to become a version of Bob, or for those of us who not under the age of 6, we become the "fixer-uppers" we often see on a channel like HGTV. The problem with this is that we ignore the fact that we are not houses, we are homes: we embody emotions, memories, good times and bad times, lessons learned, hopes, desires, regrets, relationships and the list could go on...
A house doesn't become a home until it has been built with love, withstood the test of time and experienced genuine care and patience.
We should strive to treat ourselves like homes, not houses. Just like actual homes, we too require love, time, patience and care.
The individuals on HGTV flip houses and turn them into homes. They fix what's wrong with the house and then provide the time and effort to make the house into a loveable home. This way, a buyer will come along and accept the home into their lives to continue providing it with love and care.
Again, we aren't houses, we are homes. We try and fix ourselves without realizing that we aren't the same as some creaky floors and peeling walls: we can't just be fixed with a "can-do attitude" and some elbow grease.
Bob the Builder can't just swoop in with his team and fix the things that we see are wrong with us and within our lives. We require healing, not fixing. "Fixing" buries the brokenness with band-aids and solutions while healing takes brokenness, loves and nurtures it with a patient spirit so that the brokenness becomes a part of us that we are able to grow from, not suppress and ignore.
When we treat ourselves like a house and try to patch up our brokenness with substances, spending sprees, eating away feelings or other forms of distractions, we make the brokenness worse.
After all, duct tape, band-aids, and improvement projects can only work for so long. Eventually, the pressure of suppressing this brokenness will become too much and everything that's been building up since the first patch up duct tape was laid will be set free.
We require acceptance, not improvement and as I recently heard from a speaker the other day, no amount of self-improvement can make up for a lack of self-acceptance.
This is what got me thinking about Bob and his theme song. Bob the Builder specializes in improvements. He fixes things, just like me and you try to do. However, no amount of self-improvement will cover up our lack of accepting ourselves as the well worn-in and lived-in homes that we are.
A home is a loveable place. Resist from trying to fix it and work on accepting it. All the home-improvement jobs in the world can't go back in time and redo a faulty foundation. They can fix it and they can cover it up, but they can't heal it of its brokenness.
That's the difference between being a house and a home. In a home, we accept things and by practicing acceptance, we are able to heal whatever it is that originally felt broken. In a house, we cover up the brokenness with improvements or duct tape but the brokenness remains buried beneath these fixes.
We are not Bob the Builder and we are not fixer-uppers. I find that when we stop trying to "fix" things and start trying to "heal" things, our home becomes a much nicer place to live.