Wednesday, February 08, 2012


One would think that a psychologist would be able to solve all of her own problems, since that's what she gets paid for. Perhaps that would be the case when I actually become one (inshaallah!) although I'm not doing so now. However, I am able to identify problems and find a cause for the problem, most of the time. I am hoping that someday I will be able to take the next step and actually solve problems.

My latest realisation somehow relates to this post where I outlined the steps in the cycle of events in my life. I realised that when I do feel like life is getting better, it is due to external results. For example, tonight, I am feeling extremely satisfied with my life because a) I got paid, b) all the students I tutored today were very productive, c) The parents (i.e.: my employers!) were happy with me, d) I found some more prospects of work i.e.: opportunities to undergo a-c more frequently, e) I worked out a way to manage my money so that I can reach my short term spending goals as well long term saving goals, f) I had an amazing cup of coffee.

All of these are external results. If I didn't get paid, or if my students were feeling lazy, or if the coffee turned out to be disgusting, it is quite likely that my mood would not be the way it is now. This is pretty dangerous because this is the exact reason why people like me feel like they live the life of a sine curve. The ideal solution would be to detach our source of happiness from external results and attach it to something greater. Something that wouldn't run out - only then can we have the impetus to get up every single day and be productive and hopeful. This reminded of a video I watched a very long time ago.

The only problem is, keeping that impetus alive seems like an extremely hard task to me. I am the last person to be regular and consistent. I make very elaborate plans, yet, the plans go out the window after a few days. I realised that happens when I start to think one of two things: a) I'd never be able to achieve my end goal, or, b) What I've achieved is good enough, I can rest now. This is when I undergo stages 3, 4 and 5. I have never been able to be consistent in my life, so I have accepted it as a part of me now. So putting all of these together, it seems that my good feelings are attached to the goodness of this world, and my bad feelings are attached to the opposite.

Then I came across this verse the other day: "And of the people is he who worships Allah on an edge. If he is touched by good, he is reassured by it; but if he is struck my a trial, he turns on his face (to the other direction). He has lost (this) world and the Hereafter. That is what is the manifest loss." (22:11)

And this struck me. This sounds like someone who attaches their happiness or lack of to the external results of this world. Then I realised that this is exactly why I keep going round in circles. This is why my life is a cycle of events rather than a straight (or wavy) ascending line.

This is not to say that I have never implemented strategies for improvement and succeeded. There are several things that I have tried, for example, living for one day at a time, and have succeeded for a while (alhamdulillah). I have managed to instil certain values in myself that I admire in others. But there are some things that I keep failing in, and I keep climbing and falling, climbing and falling.

So I started to think about exactly what I can do to suit my lifestyle of irregularity as well as be a Muslim. After all, Islam is for every single person in the world. Every person has a different kind of test and has the potential to reach the highest level of Jannah. In this case, why would someone who is naturally routinised be better than me, someone who finds it hard to routinise herself, if we are all equals?

Usually, when I write something in this blog, I write it after I have come up with a solution that makes sense to me. In this case, I actually do not have any solutions that I have not tried before. I guess what I (and people like me) have to do is:
- Make lots of dua to have a balance to my life and days.
- Keep a few things regular - for example, spending a certain amount of time behind the Quran every day, without being too specific on the how of it.
- Constantly remind oneself that everything comes from Allah. So all the good that you have done would not be even thought of if Allah did not put the thought there. This humbles oneself and reduces the thoughts of a) 'I'm never going to be good enough' or b) 'I'm good enough already, so I can rest now'.
- Have a strong support system in which people who are supportive yet not overbearing.
Any other ideas?


  1. When I read this I remembered something I learned from my yoga course! 'Happiness shouldn't stem from the end goal, it should be with you throughout the journey to your goal'. Haha I don't know if it relates, but if it does, THERE YA GO!

  2. humm.. it does mate. BUT what I meant goes a little deeper than that - what motivates you to keep journeying through your goal? what is it that makes you happy? just the process of everything isn't often enjoyable but we need to do them anyway, but what i'm looking for is to find a way to make the process enjoyable (ze journey - as you say :P) so that I stick to things I start and finally become consistently consistent. :) Like right now, I am feeling like my life is quite balanced (except for lack of sleep), I am feeling quite content, I am enjoying the process etc. BUT who is to say that this will continue?

  3. When I read the post again I found way too many typos for it to make sense... so I went back and fixed them. Hope it makes much more sense now. :)