Thursday, April 21, 2011

Change for good? Errrr........

As we grow 'older', we tend to evaluate on our life more seriously than ever. Like, what is the purpose of life? Everything we do seems to be repetitive and mundane. We then decide, it's time to change our lifestyle or behaviour or etc etc... How big or how small it is, something needs to be done in order for our life to be "normal". By the way, what is "normal"? To be honest, even psychologists couldn't come up with a definition of normal. This is because not everyone view normality the same way. You might think it is normal to go out every Saturday nights but some might think that it's a rather abnormal thing to do because Saturday is for family. Hence, the word normal has its very own meaning to different people.

Anyway, when we do things that we 'normally' do, we feel comfortable and acceptable when others react the same way as we do. However, after a certain point in life we start to change our behaviour slightly. We think about the consequences on the things that we've been doing and say"why in the world did I behave this way??". Alright, take for instance smoking. During the teenage years, smoking was like the 'in' thing. Everyone was doing it, so, why can't you right? But as the years go by you "learn" that it is hazardous to your health. You then decide to quit....for good! It's like, that's it! No more cigarettes EVER! When you have fully accomplished your mission of quitting, you feel good about yourself. You say, Alhamdulillah, I am becoming a better person!! Of course there's noone else you could thank but Allah for helping you through your difficult journey. Without HIM, who else would understand why you took that big step to change.

Picture has nothing to do with entry ;)
Now, you are a new person! Your circle of friends are still the same though- the type that still smokes and think that there's nothing wrong about smoking. Since you are a changed person, you become rather restless and uncomfortable amongst your own circle of friends. THE friends that you have been hanging out since yonks. THE friends that have been there for you through thick and thin. But somehow, THE friends aren't the ones that make you feel..YOU. Everytime you are with them, you feel "out of place". So, what are you to do? They are still your friends and they have been THE ONE ever since you can remember.You then take the step to advise them. Wow!! Big huge step here. Are you prepared? You thought, let's just try, what harm can I do, right? So you begin "preaching". "Dudes, you know smoking is not good for you right? But why are you guys still doing it? Are you like trying to kill yourself or something?" Of course in your mind this statement wasn't judgemental and could still sound rather "friendly". Your friends' reply, "yeah, we know it's not good but it's so difficult to quit bro!" And you thought, cool, they are thinking about quitting, here's my chance! "Well, I managed to do it. Look at me, I've been cigarette-less for 7 months! Easy peasy lemon squeezy (LOL! I clearly don't know how to be a dude right?)!!" Your friends then continued "yeah, easy for you to say!" You then carry on telling them how you managed and all the positive things you could think of just to make them sway towards your view. But somehow, it didn't end up the way you wanted it to be. They are still that smoking buddies.

Change! Big or small it's still such a huge step to take. People find it hard to change their behaviour because of so many reasons. Below might apply to you:

Why I won't change?
- It's difficult (sometimes this happen because we don't seek guidance from Allah swt)
- No definite reason to change since I'm comfortable the way I am
- I've still got few years to live, why now?

- I haven't been approached properly

The reasons/excuses just keep coming!

Of course a changed person could counterback and give answers to all the doubtful questions. The real question is, do they really want to change? Are they prepared to change their lifestyle even though they know it is a better lifestyle? We are sometimes too comfortable in this skin that we've been in for years. We see no necessity to change because the lifestyle we've been in is somewhat perfect in our eyes. So we choose NOT to change.

Let's discuss the point made about not wanting to change because we've not been approached the proper way. You see, those who have changed to become a better person somehow accidentally have a 'halo' on their head. They sometimes feel that they are "Holier than Thou" therefore they can advise people on their lifestyle. After all, they have been there and done that so they feel they can talk through experience. It is this type of approach or people that put others off changing their behaviour to a better one. It is vital to know how to advise others as mentioned in the Hadith that I have used before:
Narrated Abu Musa that when Allah's Messenger salallahualaihiwasalam sent him and Mu'adh bin Jabal to Yemen, he said to them, "Make things easy for the people(treat the people in the most agreeable easy way), and do not make things difficult for them, and give them glad tidings, and do not repel them(i.e TO MAKE THE PEOPLE HATE GOOD DEEDS AND TO RUN AWAY FROM ISLAM), and you should both work in cooperation and mutual understanding, obey each other." [Sahih Bukhari]

Another Hadith that I think is beneficial during advicing a person is this:
Narrated Abu Mas'ud: A man came to the Prophet SalAllahualaiWassalam and said, "I keep away from the morning prayer only because so-and-so person prolongs the Salat (prayer) when he leads us in it." The narrator added: I have never seen Allah's messenger SalAllahualaihiWassalam more furious in giving advice then he was on that day. He (SalAllahualaihiWassalam) said "O people! There are some among you who make people dislike good deeds [Salat, etc]. Beware! Whoever among you leads the people in the Salat should not prolong it, because among them are the sick, the old, and the one who is in a state that requires urgent relief." [Sahih Bukhari]

From above we see that one should not make things hard on others. If we want to advise, keep it short and simple. Never go on and on about it until it could create dislikes onto that person.  

People would also get irritated when they are being advised over and over again about their 'negative' traits. It's not like they do not know or realise that they are at fault but sometimes they just prefer not to look at the positive side of it. So, when they are constantly advised of the same mistake, I guess they are just applying the double jeopardy. There are ways to attract people to become a better person. If you have tried telling or "inviting" them to become a better person and they still don't, then leave them be for a while. You can still continue doing the things you are doing and you could slowly attract them by example. Doesn't mean that you can't befriend them because of their negative traits. Sometimes your positive attitudes are needed more towards the negative people so that they can watch and learn, Insha'Allah.

Yes, it is irritating when you've advised and people do not listen or take action. As an "advisor" you need to have an open mind. You have to believe that Allah is the only one that can change someone's behaviour for good (ie, Hidayah). If Allah permits, the person could not argue any further. So if you have approached with the right way, then leave it all to Allah. The only thing you can do after advising is to pray to Allah swt that "your friend" will be given the strong will and Hidayah to be a better person. At the same time, you should also be thankful that HE has chosen you to follow the right path. Don't ever take it as a failure that you haven't opened the person's eyes to a better way of life. The key thing is you've tried and tawakkal to Allah swt.

I shall end this entry with a Hadith for you to ponder upon, Insha'Allah:
Narrated 'Abdullah: I visited Allah's messenger SalAllahualaihiWassalam while he was suffering from a high fever. I said. "O Allah's Messenger! You have a high fever." He said, "Yes, I have as much fever as two men of you." I said, "Is it because you will have a double reward?" He said, "Yes, it is so. No Muslim is afflicted with any harm, even if it were the prick of a thorn, but that Allah expiates his sins because of that, as a tree sheds its leaves."

So, when we feel that it is such a trial trying to change a person, always believe that people who are most prone to trials are Prophets, then the most pious and then the less pious and so on. Take the trial as a recognition and be patient! :) 

Ps: YOU in this entry is not finger-pointing at YOU! LOL! But I just feel like I'm talking to someone when really it's mostly MY point of view. ;)


Glam Mama Adriana said...

As usual, FANTASTIC post! There were a couple of people who used to be in my life, who I wish would read this.

Sharifah Diana said...

Iva, you last wrote a month ago? what happen to may post? im so demanding la. But really, i like all your posts.

come up with a chatbox kat tepi tu, then i can ask few questions. heheh...nnt jd forum pula.

Raja Iva Adnanne said...

Nana: I was "sooooooo busy" doing nothing! heheh Getting ready for baby no 2's arrival. As for the chatbox, will try and do that soonest. :) Thank for dropping by babe!! xx