Looking in the mirror

May 10, 2012

Have you ever driven by someone stranded along the side of the road and said, “Someone should stop to help them?” Or maybe you see someone you know at the restaurant who has had too much to drink and you think, “I wonder if they are OK to drive?” My favorite is, “You should do things like this…” and the list of suggestions goes on and on.

There are two types of people in this world (or at least for the purpose of my article). There are problem makers and solution makers. It is impossible to be both at the same time.

One of my favorite sayings is: “If you aren’t part of the solution then you are part of the problem.” Think about that one for a moment. This is one of those statements where if you take a good honest look at yourself you cringe knowing it’s about you. Don’t worry, you are not alone!

In this day and age it is easy to point fingers and blame someone else. It’s easy to criticize others for what they did wrong or didn’t do at all. We live in a society that has been enabled to have it our way in every aspect of our lives. Someone can spill a cup of hot coffee on their lap with their friends rooting them on to sue the restaurant that served it to them. A robber can break into your house and sue you (and win) when they got injured doing it. Where is the personal accountability in all of this? It’s no wonder that people no longer accept responsibility for their own words and actions when our society has been so permissive in allowing us to shift the blame.

This lack of accountability naturally spills over into the daily activities of our lives as well. I catch myself wanting to complain or “express my concern” about certain situations. Mostly about other people I suppose. I think that this or that could have been done better. I think that they way that person handled themselves wasn’t right. Why did they do that? I can say that there are days where I must know it all and feel I should share in my wisdom. Just ask my family. Please note the sarcasm there.

The truth of the matter is I have absolutely no right to complain about anything unless I am willing to be a part of the solution. Complaining and criticizing never fixed a problem. They never made someone feel better. They never inspired or encouraged someone to make a positive change. Nothing worthwhile or fruitful comes from these actions.

So what than should I do if I truly have a concern that is of substance to be addressed? Take it to the appropriate person. That’s not Maude the hairstylist or Joe the bartender. Take the concern to the person who it is about or who can help fix the situation. So many times we flit from person to person seeking their wisdom or advice when truly we are disguising our complaining while looking for someone to agree with our point of view. I’m ashamed to say I’ve done this. Nothing good comes from this. It stirs up trouble and hurts people.

There is a second part. When I approach the person I need to I should be prepared with a solution in mind and ready to take action if they need my help.

There are a lot of things in life that are uncomfortable. As a Christian I realize that as I continue on my walk in my faith that many situations will come up that make me not only uncomfortable but anxious and upset. I’ve found that in order to grow as a person, to change and focus on the real meaning in life that I typically need to remove myself from the overall picture. So many times I get caught up in my own thoughts and opinions on something that I lose sight of what’s important