(Yes, that’s weeding, not a typo or anything. :P)
I haven’t blogged in a while but I’m glad I didn’t because then I’d be writing about something without really meaning it or feeling I’d something worthwhile to share. I’d been loaded with lots of assignments recently, mostly related to college, that put me through an exponential learning curve. It was really hectic and seemingly difficult but Alhumdolillah, that phase passed away too.
One project I was involved with required teamwork and it spanned several months. Being the “leader” or “representative” of my group in college, I found myself facing situations and challenges that were very new and even daunting. Making decisions, deciding on the quality of work needed, identifying specific talents in people and then ensuring that work gets done within the deadline… it’s certainly not a piece of cake. With eleven young women working together, there are bound to be issues. Meanwhile, I was also juggling another assignment not related to college but which also involved teamwork. Finally, one or two other issues also cropped up making a tough week where everything converged.
However, one thing I was very aware of was that I was learning so much from all my good and not-so-good experiences. There were lessons in leadership, interpersonal relationships, patience (that was a big one!), tolerance, empathy, counselling and time management, to name a few. How to get along with different people coming from different backgrounds. How to overlook someone’s irritating habits and respond nicely, keeping the longer term in mind. How to deal with problems that friends may be having, medical or otherwise.
However, I also noted the glaring faults in my character and personality that I need to fix, no matter what. As a friend, as a daughter, as a sister, as a leader… as my own self… there’s a lot to do. So even though I had a tough week to handle and various stresses on my mind, I was satisfied I was learning about myself and about others that would InshAllah train me for the future.
In all of this, even if I did something right and got good results, I was aware that it was superficial and needed real substance as its foundation. If I didn’t feel happy about my own self, my personality and character, any praise I received from others on anything did not bring in total satisfaction. Why was I rude to that person? Why did I have to snap? How should I learn to control my temper and frowns, at home and at college? Why do I think negatively of that person? How should I improve my relationships, as a daughter? What am I doing wrong in my relationships with other people?
I was thinking about this a lot and in the process of identifying my weaknesses when I heard Stephen Covey’s famous book mentioned on TV. The person on TV was basically summarizing the book. For those of who don’t know, Stephen Covey is the author of a best selling book on changing yourself inside-out, working on your own self to take on the habits of people who’re achievers and not moaners and groaners. He talks about seven habits that are common to successful people, based on age-old principles of honesty, integrity, being optimistic, loving others and kindness. I’d always wanted to read that book, having heard it being quoted by several teachers at my Quran class and elsewhere. Turns out we had that book at home and I fished it out, sat down to read and did fifty pages before bed!
The book really is very, very good. It’s inspiring, full of common wisdom and it’s in the first person, directly addressing the reader. Why don’t I get along with people? Why do my plans fail? Why doesn’t my sister listen to me? Why can’t I achieve my goals? As you read the book, it really is amazing how the lessons in the Quran and Sunnah are essentially being described by Stephen Covey, of course without his knowing it. But then, that’s what he says, in similar words, that the things he mentions in his book are solid principles which man has always known in some form or the other. We’ve just stopped living by them and instead opted for “quick fixes” to all our problems, not realizing relationships are built over a long period and habits need to change fundamentally deep within us to have lasting impact.
The book’s made an impression on me, particularly at a time where I was already looking for change that has meaning and not just being all nice superficially. People who really come closer to Allah through the Quran and learning from the Prophet(pbuh)’s life, change so much for the better… everyone can see it for themselves. That’s why I need to improve, to really practice what I learn and not just hold up a degree from a Qur’an course and say “I’ve done it!”. Real change demands application, without which only knowing stuff is just not enough. Yes, the weeding is certainly overdue and it’s making the garden patch very unsightly even though there are a couple of good plants in there. 🙂
Time will tell what changes come about InshAllah. 🙂