THE BLOG

Be a Creator, Not a Complainer

03/02/2013 10:51 am ET | Updated May 01, 2013

I dropped a box of sweet and sour pork on the floor today. My white refrigerator became a piece of abstract art, red sauce dripping down its door. Course, it matched the saucing running down the cabinets and the puddle on the floor. Sweet and sour everywhere isn't all that sweet. Just sayin'.

I wanted to throw a fit. (Yes, we do talk like this. I'm living with a 6-year-old.) But a fit -- standing the in the puddle of sauce -- wasn't going to get it cleaned up. So, instead I grabbed a wad of paper towels and plotted how best to get the goo gone. I'm not saying I didn't mutter a slew of cuss words as I was working. Sometimes a well-placed ?%&* can feel good. But I kept working just the same, trying to get that mess cleaned up rather than staying stuck in, well, the sauce.

I became a creator rather than a complainer.

The spilled-sauce scenario can be a metaphor for all the sticky situations in life. Live enough days on this planet and you're going to face some big stuff and plenty of little annoyances. There are bound to be whole days where things don't seem to go your way.

What are you going to do with that? Stay in the ick, the messy moments, and complain about them? Or, are you going to notice the trouble -- maybe even fuss for a moment if it makes you feel better -- and then create a solution to clean it up and move into a better feeling state?

Totally up to you.

What Is a Creator?

Creators expand into new possibilities. They behave optimistically, detach from outcomes and strive to be open and aware to all that life offers -- even when what it's offering is a mess of sticky red sauce on the floor. They take action. Pursue dreams -- even the pie-in-the-sky dreams that everyone says they'll never achieve -- because creators know the process alone will be rewarding, interesting and worthwhile.

They are resilient and happy, more often than not, because they know that when trouble hits, they are capable of finding their way through it. They know they can grow through the pain. Creators notice the beauty in life and live with curiosity and appreciation. And when they freak out, get stressed and upset, creators pay attention and stay aware to discover any insight the upset has to offer.

This allows them to move through the hard stuff with more grace and ease, so that they come barreling out of the troubling times loaded with inspiration and attitude and energy. Creators don't solve life, they experience it.

You can become a creator in your life. It's merely a choice. And if you decide to go that route, here are some dos and don'ts to keep in mind.

Creators Do:

  • Seek meaning in every experience.
  • Act with self-compassion. They don't beat themselves up when they make a mistake or fall into a funk. They notice it, appreciate their humanness and then take the next appropriate action.
  • Take accountability for their choices and all that comes into their lives.
  • Engage in life knowing that both the smooth and bumpy experiences hold possibility for insight and growth -- and even a bit of fun.
  • Acknowledge their frustrations or disappointments. They experience their pain, then they work like a dog to create positive change from it.
  • Feel good. They recognize that life is dynamic and fluid. They roll with uncertainty because they know that any change means growth and expansion.
  • Laugh. Creators don't take themselves too seriously. The find humor in the absurdities of life, embrace the quirks and most of all they laugh at themselves and their own flaws and idiosyncrasies because they appreciate this unique experience and know that to be whole, they must accept all of it.

Creators Do Not:

  • Blame others for their unhappiness.
  • Focus on what isn't working. They focus on what is working.
  • Make excuses. Creators are accountable.
  • Wish things were different. They work with what is.
  • See failure as an end. They learn and grow with their imperfections and flaws.

Think about the points listed above. How do they show up in your life? Are you a creator or a complainer?

If you'd rather move more into the creator category and move toward your goals, consciously add a couple of the things from the "Creators Do" list into your life. Practice them. Then, eliminate a point or two from the "Creators Do Not" section.

Once you begin creating your experience instead of complaining about it, you'll change that moment for the better, and then the next one. Pretty soon you've created a whole, happy life.

For more by Polly Campbell, click here.

For more on emotional wellness, click here.