Saturday, March 27, 2010

Aha... Don't take it personally!

BismIllah wa as salaamu alaykum.

I have long found that when people do things that they know I will not like or "approve" of, they expect some sort of reaction from me. In the past I have usually given that reaction, or at least something approaching it. After all, if I don't approve of it, then there is usually an element in it that is wrong, extremely disliked, or "doubtful" in Islam. I stink at hiding my feelings when something goes against Islam.

However, I just read something that Allah obviously meant for my eyes on this day, for a very specific reason. Amazingly enough, just two hours prior to reading it, I had an experience that was exactly what I've described. The difference this time is that I didn't react in any strong or notable way. I acknowledged and I walked away, showing no further interest and making no further comment. Of course, it was already a given in the other person's mind that I wouldn't really like the situation. I think, however, it surprised them that I remained so unemotional. (Sorry, I can imagine that you are wondering what the whole episode is about, but I don't want to disclose any details as this is something that can apply to just about anything.)

So, what happened to help me keep my cool and also to change my mindset? Well, two things. The first was simply that I couldn't see any point in getting upset over something that I'd already been upset about before. That seems like a waste of time. Rather than stress myself, I am relaxing and relying on Allah. After all, this happened for a reason, and perhaps it is simply to move me to a better place in my reactions and thought processes.

The second thing was reading something from a book called The Four Agreements. It is just from the 11 page .pdf file ,which is Module 1 and basically is an overview, but the part about not taking things personally really hit home. Just as I have a whole set of "rules" and "beliefs" I hold fast to in my "world" so does everyone else. They aren't trying to upset me when they do things, they are following their own private agenda. Once I considered this as something separate from me, I could detach myself. I, literally, am not taking it personally. I have long understood that we all have different developmental timeline and curves, so why on earth would I expect others to be on mine, when I'm not on theirs?

Now, I am not a person to spend time reading self-help books, etc. so I really do consider this a direct hit from Allah that I followed my nose to this book. I believe that everything we have to face in life is covered by Islam and that reading ahadith and Quran will put us in the mindset to take it all in stride. However, it wasn't that the book was saying something new, it was that it brought to my mind a onslaught of different ayaat from Quran and ahadith that support it. As I read the part about not taking things personally I thought, "Qadr Allah, mashaa fa'al" (It was Ordained by Allah and He Willed it to be) and "Save yourself from the fire whose fuel is men and stones." (Surah at Tahreem - 6) and that we will not be asked about the sins of others, we will be asked about our own. So, rather than rack up a report on my left side account by reacting in a negative way, I'm accepting it as part of a much bigger picture and saving myself.

Bi ithn Illah I will have a better approach to many things with his outlook and reap much better results. Ahhh.....if only I can apply this with my children....ya Rabb!

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