Saturday, 21 April 2012


When you are on the verge of blaming the world for the misfortunes imposed on you, stop. And think. Frustration often brings out the worst of people. You do not want to regret on your careless actions and words after having discovered the repercussions of your being impulsive. Sure you will feel disappointed and down. You will think that you are now at the lowest point of your life. You will feel as if the whole world had turned their back on you. But trust me, putting the blame on other people or even the circumstances won’t make you feel any better. No, Akon, I won't put the blame on you. Because blaming others doesn’t solve your problem. Sometimes, it just aggravates the whole thing further. 

Reflect on what you did in the past. Life is not about moments of distinct and disconnected actions. What you did might have affected your present and future. If you want to see this as a form of punishment, or karma, that is entirely up to you. But seeing everything as a punishment somehow renders life pessimistic isn’t it? And as believers of Islam, we should not feel that way. Besides, who says that our past would always be replete with mistakes and sins? And who says that the present and the future are always inevitably doomed? Whatever the way one perceives this, it teaches us that life is not made up of isolated moments. Every moment is a piece of our life puzzle. The completion of the puzzle relies on the presence of every piece. 

Aristotle in his Poetics talked about how art is an imitation of actions done by men. In explaining about plot, he emphasised the unity thereof. He said that every event in a plot must be connected. Even a surprise will have an air of design. The surprise must be caused by something and cause something. Nothing appears out of the blue. Let me provide you a very basic example; a surprise birthday party. Sure, it is a surprise but prior to the event, there were people planning and preparing the whole thing. So, firstly, the surprise party is not that surprising to those involved in organising the party. Secondly, the party is not without its cause(s) - plan and preparation. Eventually, the party will surprise someone. Hence, thirdly, it also comes with its effect(s) - the person being surprised. See the link tying the actions together? 

Another obvious (but time-consuming) example is the movie 127 Hours. There are many indicators that you can find hinting at the imminent accident such as his ignoring the calls and failure to find his Swiss knife at the beginning of the story. And you will see throughout the movie how the man himself gradually realises what led him to the terrible and painful experience by arranging the images of his past doings together in his mind and recognising his faults. In the end, we can see how he is greatly affected by the incident.

If you start recognising the connection that ties your actions together, it is highly likely that you will stop finding faults in others and start figuring out yours. I am not saying that you should punish yourself for what has happened or is happening to you. Instead, you should contemplate your past deeds. Dig deeper and explore how your own perceptions/actions/decisions determine your course of life, be they good or bad. This will make you a better decision-maker in the future and you will come to realise the control you hold over your own life through your own deeds.

So, whenever you confront a big problem, think of your own actions that might have led you to it. Stop searching the factors in other people or situations. Focus on yourself and your actions. Remember to bear the responsibility alone. Do not let other people take the blame. Yes, sometimes we have the tendency to say, "I didn't want to do this but they made me do it" or "I had to do it because I didn't have any other choices". I do recognise the effects of people's expectations, actions and words on our life and sometimes we just could not help ourselves from not being affected. But all I know is whatever the feeling  you get from blaming other people, say, pleasure, it will not last long. Gradually and eventually, you will start being emotionally (or physically) affected by the problem all over again and the process will be recursive if you keep on seeing other people as the causes of your own problem. You will have some hard time in resolving the problem and reaching some closure if you refuse to acknowledge the role you play in it.

"Start your sentence with “I did/was...”. The intention is not to make you bear the burden of your mistakes and the problem alone. Rather, it will train you to learn the true meaning of responsibility and make you learn out of the experiences. It will definitely hone your critical thinking skills and teach you how to analyse a situation from different vantage points. This whole process of thinking, analysing and learning will slowly make you embrace the reality. And hopefully the problem will not look as bad as it used to be. 

Finally, there is this one famous quote I have always seen quoted by my friends. If anybody knows about this, please do enlighten me on it; “If Allah brings you to it, He will surely bring you through it”. I believe every Muslim should hold to this quote by heart. Remember. Life is not always about being at the top. But you will not remain at the bottom if you continuously strive your way up. God will not help us if we do not help ourselves.

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