I recently made a decision that was a major life change for me and for my family. Since I have decided to walk down this road it has been anything but smooth and the first month of the change was extremely hard on me… but it is getting easier the further along I go. I have been beating myself up thinking that I made the wrong choice and wishing I could go back and change things back to the way they were. But whats done is done and the past is already water under the bridge.
A big part of learning from mistakes is learning to trust our instincts, because when we make the big mistakes there’s almost always a little voice inside saying, “This is not a good idea.” But our nafs (our lower self, our desires) causes us to ignore that voice. So we need to learn to trust that inner voice of truth and fitrah.
A person asked the Messenger of God “What is faith?” He said:
“When a good deed becomes a source of pleasure for you and an evil deed becomes a source of disgust for you, then you are a believer.”
He then asked the Messenger “What is a sin?” Whereupon the Messenger said:
“When something pricks your conscience, give it up.”
Besides what we take from prayer and the teaching of the prophets, our consciences are meant to serve as very effective guides — If only we can learn to listen to them! Even so, as this is true we should not in consequence, however, blame and beat ourselves up too much for making mistakes. Khalil Gibran wrote:
Your pain is the breaking of the shell that encloses your understanding.
The aftermath of our mistakes may hurt us– but they are crucial to our growth and this learning process builds us up making us smarter, wiser, and stronger… and more sincere. That’s how we manage to do better next time.
In retrospect, do I think that I followed my conscience and made the right choice? Yes. Did I do it in the right way? Perhaps not. I think I was a little bit too impulsive and should have waited a little bit longer and pre-planned a little better. But for now– my son is happy… my father is proud of me… and I feel better about myself– and these things are what ultimately counts the most.
Good character is doing what you don’t want to do, but know you should
I believe that I will be fine and all will be as it should.
Stop dwelling in the past… Instead of blaming ourselves endlessly for the mistakes we have already made and cannot change — we must use what we’ve learned to build something good and bright now for today and for the future… God willing.
-Shams Al Ghayeb