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Are You a Part of the Solution or Part of the Problem?

Updated on January 3, 2012
RGraf profile image

Rebecca Graf is a seasoned writer with nearly a decade of experience and degrees in accounting, history, and creative writing.

Are you part of the solution or part of the problem? When we are in the midst of all drama of our lives, we tend to believe that we are trying to fix the situation or that we are the innocent parties of it all. We go through life with rose colored glasses about the part we play in everything. But what if we really stepped back and looked at our role? What would we see?

Amy is one of those people who is always critical. She cannot walk past something without making a comment on how it could be better. Because of her lack of tact and respect for others, many people cannot stand to be around her. They leave the clubs that she belongs to. They won’t attend the women groups that she attends. She wonders what is wrong with these people. What would she say if she knew it was her? What if she knew that she was part of the problem?

Brian wants to help his friend out. He sees him depressed and keeps pushing for him to confide in him and let him help. What he doesn’t realize is that the very actions of pushing and trying to guide his friend’s “recovery” is pushing him further into depression. His friend does not need that at this moment. He needs love and support instead of aggressiveness. Brian is causing more problems than solutions.

Carrie knows how to be a peacemaker. She is always looking around for ways to bring peace into other people’s lives. When people have a conflict, she jumps right in and begins to bring them together. Or does she? Every person works out their issues differently. Some people just need to blow up and let it cool down. Most often than not, Carrie forces confrontations that do not need to be done and causes the melt down of many friendships. She just cannot see why everyone is unable to work it out. But in reality, if she had stayed out all would have been fine. She was part of the problem.

Darlene loves to help people. She actually loves to help too much. She is always volunteering to help others out which is an extremely noble action….. Except when it is in every part of everyone’s lives. The minute someone mentions that there house is a mess, she is announcing that she will be over the next day and help out. People try to back out and explain that they don't need help. She refuses to listen. She is too intent on gathering a team to help them clean their house. She just can't take "No" for an answer. Tension begins to mount between Darlene and others. She doesn’t realize that she is part of the problem.

Ed is a helpful person. He is always making suggestions. That really sounds great until you can’t go a moment without him in your face recommending a better way to do the job you are elbow deep in. At the moment, the job has to be done. Later, you can think of improvements. He follows you around trying to get you to listen to him. Ed then goes to everyone complaining how you won’t listen. He begins to add more and more stress that you do not need. He is part of the problem.

How many times do we go through life thinking that we are helping when in reality we are the reason for the stress or the troubles? How many of us are actually the reason for broken friendships and people’s attitudes?

My children periodically love to help. The younger they are the more that happens. But there are times when I have to say that the best help is no help at all. I have learned over the years that sometimes the best help we can give anyone is to be quiet and just walk away. We don’t have to be in the middle of everything. We don’t have to solve everyone’s problems. We don’t have to be anywhere near it. Sometimes we just have to be.

Are you a part of the problem or are you part of the solution?

To be part of the solution requires humility and wisdom. These are two attributes that the average person does not have and sadly does not wish to truly acquire. But when you answer the question above in complete truthfulness, you need to understand what the next step is.

If you are part of the problem, do you really want to be? Are you happy seeing conflict and enjoy knowing that you played a part in it? Then, continue on. You could be doing a bang up job.

Or, are you wanting to be part of the solution? Be realistic about your faults and where you need to grow. Don’t always try to help people without really wanting to and without a truly humble heart. Don’t always try to help. Sometimes people have to work things out on their own. Sometimes people need to grow a little and get some experience under their belt. Sometimes they need to come to you instead of you chasing after them.

When a scientist is going back over a failed experiment, he looks at all factors including what decisions/actions he did that were incorrect. He questions what part he played in the failure. Why? Does he like to play the martyr? Does he like to focus on the negative? No! He is trying to see where he can improve and become part of the solution instead part of the problem. That is where many of us fail. We don’t look at it from that view point. We look at it entirely personal. We don’t like to see our mistakes because in the end it reflects on our inner selves. But the experiment cannot succeed without evaluation and the understanding that there is a huge chance that you are part of the problem. But it doesn’t end there. Growth occurs and the solution is reached for again but with different processes.

Are you a part of the problem or are you part of the solution? Which do you want to be?


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    • James A Watkins profile image

      James A Watkins 8 years ago from Chicago

      Nice work here. Many folks do create problems and drive people away—or crazy—despite the best intentions. You have given us cause to pause and reflect on our relationships with others. After much reflection, I have come to the conclusion that I am part of the solution. :-)

    • Paradise7 profile image

      Paradise7 8 years ago from Upstate New York

      Good hub, RGraf. I agree, that some objective self-assessment is a good way to grow as a person. If we take a good long look at ourselves, as objectively as possible, we'll all find room for improvement.

      Human beings are just people. We're all part of the problem, really. The good thing is--we're all part of the solution, too!

      We take a good look, we see what's wrong, and we do our best to fix it. We succeed to some degree--but no one yet has achieved perfection.

      So we cut each other some slack, and have as much patience as we can muster with out equally less-than-perfect fellow man.

    • Kathryn Plasencia profile image

      Kathryn Plasencia 8 years ago from USA

      Very good hub!