- A journey to self improvement
If I could describe my experience this summer in one word it would be: wobbly.
No stability. No clear direction. A lot of empty space for things, which comes with a lot of excitement and a lot of fear. One minute I feel like I got it, the next I feel like I don’t. I’ve been hitting the wall and falling down in so many of my dreams that it’s hard for me right now to believe in my future. I don’t feel like my life is mine, I don’t feel like my decisions led me anywhere good.
But what is anywhere good? This is something I’ve been thinking about a lot: What would make me happy, if all else were to go to chaos? What would I do if I don’t get anything I want? What is my anchoring force?
It’s in the Perspective
It’s the need for a constant external influx of things to go the way I want, which is so unrealistic in this dunya. Looking back, I realized it’s not enough for me to get what I want, but it has to come according to my preconceived notions, and looking back that’s been such a huge part of my suffering. I was playing the card game with someone and the question came up, “what is the lesson that took you the longest to unlearn” I never got anything I desired “on time” (if there is such a thing) nor has it happened in the desired way I thought it would. In my personal life and in my career. And though it’s such a painful feeling ( I grapple with feelings of being left behind, or being not enough), it shows I don’t have a correct view of what the reality of this life is.
There is no room for tawwakul or sabr with that kind of mindset. How can I say I trust Allah if there is no possibility in my mind for things to go differently than I imagine? If life only goes the way you expect it to, who is really in charge? And how immature is that?
When life is “wobbly”, There is no other option but to be patient. I learned that sabr is one of those things that even though it’s painful, if you don’t consciously and repeatedly decide to choose it, you’ll find yourself disoriented, lost, and susceptible to sin.
So how can I continue on without invalidating my emotions, and accepting my reality? How can I prevent apathy from seeping in when nothing goes my way? I want to stay determined
I think the biggest thing that’s been helpful is acceptance, and giving the things I want in my life space. Accepting that I never figured it out yet. Accepting the chapter I’m in. Accepting my mistakes, Accepting this, currently, right now is my best.
But also accepting qadr, and know that it may seem bad for you but it is good in reality.
It’s also important to be honest when you are comforting yourself: I am behind for my age. Some of it is my fault, and some of it is not. I probably am lacking in a lot of things that prevented me from getting the things I wanted. I don’t think I prepared enough for the interview for the job I really wanted, or I think I was gone too long away from my art for it to have bloomed into something. I think it’s normal to be hurt or sad when you don’t have the things you are working for yet. There are things you should expect when you look at your efforts or even around society and your peers. But I can’t throw a tantrum when things don’t go my way and turn to apathy and distractions, this isn’t why I’m here in this dunya.
So as I curate, make duaa, work, and pray for things I want, I have to keep myself in check. There is a grave waiting for me.
The Ego is not my friend
I think a lot of the struggle with accepting reality and the timing of things has to the ego. The inability to let your self image, thoughts, beliefs come second to anything, even reality.
I use to believe my ego was my friend but I’ve come to realize whatever has the power to pull you forcefully in one direction, will eventually swing you the other way. And so the ego is so dangerous for that. It is not a hype-man, nor a protector.
All in All,
What do I want from this dunya? For everything to go the way I want whenever I want? For there to be no problems, only wins and joys? This is a place of imtihan, this isn’t Jannah, there will always be some sort of struggle set for you to overcome. If you lack something, It’s not right to think it’s due to you.
Problems will come and go and what stays consistent is my perspective. It’s a somber realization when you understand it’s not always what’s happening to you that’s the cause of pain but it’s your perspective and everything that’s going on internally. You’re going to continuously experience the same set of emotions if you keep the same exact mindset you’ve always had. It doesn’t matter what’s going on in your life, good or bad. Negativity only sees negativity, positivity only sees positivity, optimism only sees a way forward. So instead of looking at my life and wondering what it wrong, I’m going to analyze my perspective and ask, what is wrong here? What am I not seeing? Because there is no way I can be a muslim and have this mindset
Let me know what you think!