If only my husband would spend more time with me…
If only my kids would listen to me…
If only my mother-in-law would be nice to me…
If only my boss would give me a raise…
If only the world economy wasn’t bad…
If only the weather was different…
Don’t you hear statements like this all the time? I know I do often. It seems like they want everybody else to change, they want the world to change…and then their world would be ok.
They want everything to change, apart from themselves. They want to be able to carry on doing just what they are doing in the way they treat people, in the way they look after themselves, in the way they react to the world, but they want everything and everyone else to change the way they are and the way they act. And if things don’t change, they’ll then have the perfect excuse for wanting to leave their husband or leave their job, for not making an effort at work, for continuing to gripe about the world and how terrible it all is and how awful their life is, etc.
I’m sure you know people like that? Or do you perhaps recognise some of yourself in what I’m saying?
What is the secret to changing your life around? Actually it’s not such a big secret! Allah (subHana wa ta’ala) has told us that: “Indeed, Allah will not change the condition of a people until they change what is in themselves.” (Surah Rad, 13:11) But we forget this so easily and still expect something magical to happen to make everything better.
So what does this ayah really mean?
Change Your Dua`
For a start, you can change your dua`, instead of asking Allah to change others, start asking Him to help you change yourself.
- Instead of asking Him to make things easy for you, ask Him to help you to increase your skills and wisdom to cope with the challenges you’re facing; because it’s through facing them and learning to overcome them that you’ll get stronger and closer to Allah.
- And maybe, instead of asking Him to make your husband spend more time with you, ask Him to help you work out what you can do to make him want to be with you more often.
- Instead of asking Him to make your kids listen to you, ask Him to help you learn how to speak in a way that they’ll hang on your every word.
- Instead of asking Him to make your mother-in-law kinder to you, ask Him to help you to be kinder to her and have more understanding about why she reacts as she does.
- And instead of asking Him to let your boss give you a raise, ask Him to let you find the best way to improve your skills so you deserve a raise or you can find another job where your skills are appreciated.
Change Your Actions
But don’t then just sit back and wait for Allah to send you the answer; go out and look for the answer, in the knowledge that Allah has said:
“I respond to the invocation of the supplicant when he calls upon Me. So let them respond to Me [by obedience] and believe in Me that they may be [rightly] guided.” (Surah Al-Baqarah 2:186)
And He also says in a Hadith Qudsi: “Take one step towards me, I will take ten steps towards you. Walk towards me, I will run towards you.”
So you need to play your part too.
You have it in your power to make a difference; you can change so many things purely by your actions. You won’t be able to change things overnight; it may take a long time to undo the effects of what had become a habit. But just the fact that you are starting to make an effort, you’re taking responsibility for your actions and responses, will in itself start to make a difference to your world and the way you see it.
I know it can happen; I’ve seen it so many times. Sisters who came to me for coaching saying that they wanted to work out how to leave their husbands, ended up with warm, supportive relationships. Other sisters who dreaded speaking to their mother-in-law or even their mothers, fearing what they might say in response, ended up finding that all they really wanted was a little kindness, time and appreciation themselves.
Change Your Perception
But what about matters like the world economy or the weather? Unless you are in a very powerful position, it’s unlikely that you can make any significant changes there! But you can still look at what you can change…you can change the way you think about events, the way you react to events and the way you view them.
Allah sends us tests to get us to turn to Him: “And We tested them with good [times] and bad that perhaps they would return [to obedience].” (Surah Al-A’raf 7; 168) or to get us to humble ourselves: “…then We seized them with poverty and hardship that perhaps they might humble themselves [to Us].” (Surah Al-An‘am 6; 42)
So if you are facing challenges due to the current economy, as you can’t change the recession, what could you do? You could develop a positive attitude to the challenge and maybe go out and seek to increase your income or to decrease your outgoings or you could develop a humble attitude of gratitude, thanking Allah for what you actually do have.
And the same applies to the weather; you can’t change it, so there’s no point in complaining about it; thank Allah for the blessings that He’s bringing to the earth in the changing weather and seek ways to benefit from it. Go out and dance in the rain!
“If only…” won’t change anything; things just are the way they are. The only one you have true power to change is yourself, either through your actions or the way you perceive the world, and this is the secret to changing your life around. Through your adjustments you may influence others to change, and if they do that’s great, but if not, at least you will know that you did what you could and you’ll see your life through new eyes.
Source: Coach Amal