2016 has been one big, mammoth sized life lesson with lots of micro life lessons scuttling around. It sounds cliché but every regret is a lesson in a horror suit and every mistake paves way for a learning curve. As much as I’d love to make the 2016 slogan ‘What’s the new rule for 2017? We don’t talk about 2016!’ something i read once comes to mind that ‘those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.’ Without waffling on too much, these are my top five lessons learnt.
1) Talk. Talk. Talk. This year I’ve learnt that sometimes its very easy to let certain issues consume your thoughts until you silently become this drowning figure in a pool of stagnant water. Brushing things that are bothering you under the carpet does not get rid of them; it only creates a very unattractive and bumpy carpet. Talking about it with the person involved and finding a solution or common ground is the way forward. “If a wife fears cruelty or desertion on her husband’s part, there is no blame on them if they arrange an amicable settlement between themselves; and such settlement is best; even though men’s souls are swayed by greed. But if ye do good and practise self-restraint, Allah is well-acquainted with all that ye do.” (4:128)
2) Have a ‘person’. Whether it’s your best friend, family member, work colleague or spouse, make sure you have that one person who you feel you can open up to. “A believer is like a brick for another believer, the one supporting the other.” (Saheeh Muslim)
3) A private life is the best life. With social media taking over the world by storm and the persistent urge to Instagram, Snapchat and Facebook so much of our lives, we are (unknowingly) opening ourselves up to a world of dark traits and diseases. Not everyone you like, likes you and not every ‘follower’ is there for the happy moments. “There are two blessings which many people lose: (They are) Health and free time for doing good.” (Bukhari)
4) There is a cure for everything and the Qur’an is the best doctor. I don’t think this requires much elaboration. Read the Qur’an and read it in abundance. Move on from your daily Yaseen and Mulk! Reading the Qur’an protects you from so much unseen evil, it purifies you, it grants an unmeasurable level of contentment and hope. “We send down in the Qur’an that which is a healing and a mercy to those who believe.” (17:82)
5) Don’t set your dreams too deeply in stone. This one, for some, may be debatable. Sometimes certain things in life may be out of our control, may not be written for us to achieve, may be better for us without, yet we don’t see that. And we make that goal the pinnacle for our completeness, happiness and fulfilment. Yes, don’t be a quitter and never say never but know and accept the moment when you have to shift the focus a little. I guess what I’m trying to say is don’t set your happiness too much and too firmly on one thing and one thing only. “You may dislike something although it is good for you, or like something although it is bad for you; God knows but you do not know.” (2:216)