The Journey of Change
Have you ever seen someone after a while and the first thing they say is “You’ve changed!” whether that is through appearance or character we have evolved as a person without even realising. Whilst being away from the world of blogging I have been working on this exact process of personal growth.
A few days ago with countless thoughts racing through my head I decided to go for a drive to clear my mind before I headed to my destination – and for those who know me personally, being on time is not one of my strong points and being early is a well applauded occasion.
Taking time to reflect deeper into my thoughts I parked up in a place where I had spent a large portion of my younger years. As I glanced around memories came flooding back, and then it hit me – everything in life changes. Buildings are replaced, places evolve and as for ourselves, we are subject to continuous change. Nothing was the same and all that remained unchanged were the memories.
As I began to reflect further I was identifying all of the things I had wanted to change both within myself and externally. For most of us, we often dream of change. We are all guilty of wanting to change whether that may be through appearance, character our situations or spiritually. We often think of these things but we never set out to achieve them.
And then I asked myself – why? I wish for things to be different but there is always a barrier I cannot quite break down and for that reason I keep myself in darkness. I perceive the end goal as being miles away and too difficult to attain. I take a step backwards into safety, rather than a step forwards into personal growth.
“We are creatures that love to blame the external, not realising that the problem is usually internal.”
– Imam Ghazali
Deep in thought I recalled this quote I had came across through a sister a while ago and up until this point that is exactly what I had done; I blamed the external for my changes not being fulfilled and failing to recognise the problem as internal I carried on.
A common misconception I had is that we can change other people and how they treat us, when in reality we cannot. Change needs to start internally, the path of internal change is not a steady one but we have the power to change ourselves, our situation and our circumstances if we take that internal step. We cannot change our external until we change what is internal and when we go through this process eventually we will recognise the changes externally.
“Indeed, Allah will not change the condition of a people until they change what is in themselves.”
(Surah Ar-Ra’d: 11)
In an attempt to identify my downfalls, I realised I not only perceive my goals as being unattainable, my mind also play tricks on me and creates imaginary obstacles. I was becoming afraid of temporary disruption and change, even if it was for the better.
Over time, I got stuck in the same habits and got so comfortable with my life that I did not dare to change. I began to enter a hopeless cycle and labelled my goals as distant, unattainable dream so I did not have to enter a period of darkness through my actions – even if the sun shined brighter on the other side.
And then I asked myself,
How does the caterpillar ever turn into a butterfly if it is constantly running away from the darkness of its cocoon?
“If you choke on your potential before it has an opportunity to become a possibility you will never reach your destiny”
– Mo Stegall
The truth is, if the caterpillar choked on its own potential the progression towards its true beauty would be greatly hindered with self-doubt and disbelief. Eventually, I reached the conclusion that personal development is a lifelong process and whilst I was not moving forwards, I was indeed declining backwards. I often choked on my own potential due to viewing change as a lengthily process on a never-ending road. I downplayed my potential to succeed by comparing myself to others; and by doing so, I doubted my own capabilities.
Ultimately, for us to move forwards and change internally we need to reprogram our frame of minds. Living in a state of satisfaction and contentment with our souls is dangerous territory to enter as the path to The Most High is not a standstill, it is indeed a progression. It does not matter how slow you progress as long as you do not reach that state of satisfaction and standstill.
“Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything”
– George B. Shaw
When we eventually pluck up the courage to change, we will with no doubt enter many difficulties. Tackling the first stage is the resistance and doubt to proceed, of course we all have the doubt but if we break down these obstacles that create our self-disbelief and take small steps, we will eventually reach our goals and gain a huge sense of satisfaction through struggling in the path of change.
Once we realise that people cannot walk our paths for us, but recognise that we have the necessary weapons to change it the process of change will in a sense become easier. Make your own choices, make continuous dua and repent. Break down those barriers and obstacles that make the process of change seem too far away to achieve, take small steps rather than looking at the larger scale and too far in the future.
“Seek help through patience and prayer..”
(Surah Al-Baqarah: 2)
Things change, people change and so do situations. It’s to protect us, we will realise eventually.
Free yourself from life’s shackles and set yourself free into a place of freedom. Deflate your ego and feed your soul, as a bad day for your ego is a great day for your soul.