I pride myself in being a reasonable person-I am compassionate, empathetic and I strive to be nice to everyone I meet. However my interaction with this one difficult person in my life lately has forced me to re-examine whether being nice really is a worthwhile endeavour.
Every time I interact with this person, I know that I’m bound to feel disappointed, angry, and taken advantage of. You see, this person has this extremely annoying habit of never living up to his word. I had tried everything in the past-cajoling, reasoning, holding it in-all in an effort to understand why he was such a chronic promise breaker. My latest encounter with him a few weeks ago left me hissing under my breath with built up anger.
I considered by ‘revenge’ options:
Put on a smiley face but secretly pray that something horrible happens to him.
Break my promises to him so that he can get a taste of his own medicine.
I chewed my nails in agony: both options were not realistic. For one, I cannot live with myself in peace if I ever wished ill on anyone and secondly, I would be letting him win if I ever let his spitefulness change me.
I racked my brain for a list of possible solutions. I googled for answers. I walked up and down the stairs to calm myself down. Finally at my wits end, I went sat on my prayer mat and cracked open the Qur’an. My eyes fell upon a verse in the middle of the open page and I found myself tearing up with gratitude. There it was; there was my answer:
“Whoever does what’s morally right does it for the good it his own soul. Whoever does what’s evil works against his own soul, and God is never unfair to His servant.” (Qur’an 41:46)
This life is a test and different people will come into it for reasons only known to God. As we live our lives, we are bound to meet (and be forced to have to deal with) people who will make us feel horrible. But at the end of the day what really counts is not what they do to us, but rather how we react to their hurtful actions. If we react with negativity and hate in an attempt to get even, we are only doing an injustice to our souls. However if we stay true to our higher selves and focus on Godliness, we become true winners both in this life and in the next.
My perspective changed dramatically after reading that verse and I no longer feel that I am a slave to other people’s attitudes towards me. I still have my moments with the said person above but every time I find myself getting worked up, I remind myself of the bigger picture and practice gratitude instead. Every time I choose to honor my spirit instead of competing in egotistical wars, I am a winner.