Yet, we fall in this trap. Relationship not going well, we complain and wonder why on earth this is happening to us. Problems at work, you feel offended that life has brought this your way. Didn’t get the job you were after, another slap from life, didn’t do well in a particular assignment at school, you resent your life a little bit more.
The above examples are familiar to most of you and they are certainly familiar to me. My religion, which is Islam by the way, teaches us that we will (and it is a promise) go through trials. There will not be one person who will have a smooth ride in life. We will all experience hardship in one form or another. Some of us will undergo harder trials whereas others may not. Whatever the case may be, hardship and life go hand in hand.
So now that we have established that life is hard, what do we do about it? How do we make sure we are reacting positively (or as positive as you can get) to difficult situation?
My number one rule is to remember that: Life does not owe me anything.
I am one of the many billions of people who occupy this world and I also fall into the statistics of one of many, many billions of people who has ever lived on planet Earth. Why should I have a pass to the smooth ride, destination: the smooth life. Why am I so deserving of having a perfect life with no faults? Is everyone less of a person? I have no answer and rightly so because there is no answer. No answer can justify why I should be at the front of the race.
So once I reflect on that and accept the situation I am in, I work hard to try and reverse this situation. Okay, I understand, some things can’t be reversed but you can reverse your thought processes on this particular matter. In my second year of University, I scored lower than what I expected, than what I was capable of. So what did I do? I was proactive and I worked so hard to do different in my next big piece of work. I took all feedback on board, I searched the internet for websites that discuss in detail how to write scientific papers at undergraduate level and I even purchased a book that gave me so much detail about scientific writing style. When it was time to find out my score next time around, I scored 18% higher. I applied the same method for subsequent pieces of work and again, I was doing well, really well. The point is, do not settle and become overwhelmed with your situation which is of course easy to fall into. Instead, be a little proactive.
Second thing is, try to understand that everything happens for a reason. I am a firm believer of this. I have experienced bad times but years later, I have finally understood what a good difference these experiences have had on me. You may not see anything positive when things are bad but when things are going good for you, reflect on what it is that got you in that “good zone”. 9/10 times it is because of an action you had to take as a consequence of a bad situation. If you lost your job because you were laid off, it should make you spring to action and hunt for new opportunities. Then, after a series of events, you land yourself a job that’s better than what the old could ever be. These things happen, honestly. I genuinely believe that the way things have happened in my life is because they were the right experiences, both positive and negative.
But why go through hard times? What is the point? The point is, the nature of humans is volatile and we need something to remind us that we are not all-powerful. Muslims say “we plan and Allah (swt) plans but Allah is the best of planners”. Humans have a limit and beyond that we cannot comprehend. I believe that in order to stay humble, humans must taste negative experiences. If not, who knows how big our heads would be.