If you aren’t part of the solution…

“If you aren’t part of the solution, you’re part of the problem.” This is an expression that a friend shared with me many years ago, which I have incorporated into my existence. I heard someone else say it this morning, and I started thinking a little deeper about what it means.

In my last post, I talked about standing up for yourself. This is along the same lines, except maybe in an opposite way. We find so many people complaining about things they aren’t happy about, things they are angry about, things they are afraid of. You name it. I’m not talking about expressing a legitimate grievance. I’m talking about the griping, whining and moaning we do when things don’t go the way we want them to. Most of us don’t have to dig very deep to find something to complain about. Some are better at it than others. Some feel like their life has no meaning unless they have something to complain about!

But have you ever thought about what complaining accomplishes? It’s like putting gasoline on a fire, feeding it, and allowing it to grow even more out of control. Like gossip, it spreads like a virus, attaching to and exasperating anyone who might be inclined to embrace the sentiment, and annoying everyone else who doesn’t.

Thinking about this, it makes sense not to complain. If it isn’t helping resolve the situation, what good does it do to complain? I guess a good question to ask yourself or someone else when they complain is, “Okay, if you don’t like it, what are you doing to make it better?” If there isn’t a good, positive answer, then it’s probably time to think of a new strategy.

Someone else I know has a friend who posts lots of information about abandoned and abused animals. Lots and lots of information, unsolicited. My friend observed how little it accomplishes, and how annoying it can be. This developed into a conversation where another person wondered how people would know that these injustices were happening unless someone told them about it. Another person observed that it glamorizes it, in a way. It gives the abuser unexpected attention – a reward, in a way – which encourages them to continue doing it. Good points. All of them.

But what are any of these people doing to actually make the situation better? Complaining, or aggrandizing a negative situation, exacerbates the anger in the person who is upset. Without offering a solution, it only serves to strengthen the frustration it is meant to address. It then upsets other people, many or most of whom have no control over the situation. How does complaining contribute to a solution to the stated problem? In this example, whether they are complaining about abuse, or complaining about the complaints, or finding reasons why it’s exacerbating the situation, it isn’t helping resolve the situation. None of the people in this interaction ever offered ideas on how they could prevent the abuse. And so it continues…

I use this example, but you see it in many areas of discussion: politics, how people raise their children, what someone said. what someone didn’t say, someone’s attitude, ad infinitum

If you aren’t part of the solution, you are part of the problem. Complaining about something without making an effort to find a resolution is only perpetuating the problem and passing it on to the next person. If you find the need to complain, offer at least one suggestion on what can be done to resolve the circumstances so that the complaint has constructive meaning. Better yet, offer just the suggestion and don’t complain at all. The effect will be the same, without the negativity. At a minimum, you are showing some effort to identify with the problem instead of just making it grow, and you’ll find that people are going to be more willing and inspired to help do something about it.

More importantly, if you can’t offer a way to improve a situation, don’t complain at all. What good does it do to complain about something that can’t be changed? You can complain until you are blue in the face, but it still isn’t going to change anything. You are wasting your energy, and worse yet, you are probably wasting the time of the people who have to listen to it. Maybe it’s better to just learn to live with it until you find a way to change it.

This may seem harsh, but it is true. Don’t shove a spoon farther into the garbage disposal, just because you can’t figure out how to get it out. All you’ll have is a ruined spoon, and likely a broken disposal, too! Leave it for someone who is better equipped to fix it.

If nothing else, learning to stay silent until you can find a way to be constructive will turn the energy around for you. When you accept a situation for what it is, rather than fighting it – even if it’s something you don’t like – you tend to have a better attitude, and can adjust to the situation more easily, with less stress. And it might just give your mind the opportunity to open up and be inspired with a way to resolve it after all!

The Law of Attraction works in strange ways. Our world has done a fantastic job figuring out how it works in negative ways. It seems to come to us so naturally. Let’s take that same energy and turn it around so it goes in a positive direction. It takes a little more effort and mindfulness, but when we do, everything changes for the better, even when it doesn’t change at all.