Creating a Positive Environment in Your Home
How Do I Fix What is Wrong?
Focusing on the positive and giving appreciations doesn’t mean there aren’t things going wrong, or that everything is perfect. There is always good and bad happening at the same time. A person who is really good at praying on time may struggle with wasting money. A teenager may be terrible at keeping his or her room clean but be very successful at avoiding drugs. And a family may sometimes have conflict and other times have really great times together.
When we care about someone, we want that person to do and be the best. Sometimes, we fall into the trap of believing that we have to be vigilant about all the flaws and mistakes in that person (or in ourselves) in order to be able to improve. In addition, noticing what is wrong is often easier. Somehow, the flaws seem to stand out. But the more we focus on them, the more flaws we see, often leading us to become blind to what is going right.
Imagine what it’s like to always be reminded of what your mistakes are, what your shortcomings are, and all the things you’ve messed up in your life. How motivated do you feel to change? Some people who have been raised in negative environments, which can actually be toxic, come to the conclusion that they are failures. These people just give up. Other people react by trying to “prove” that they are good, but deep inside, they don’t feel good. The truth is, focusing only on what is wrong is actually ineffective at creating genuine change.
As Muslims, we are supposed to be balanced. As we reflect on ourselves, we should take stock of both our weaknesses AND our strengths. And we should do the same as we look at the people we love. Since many people tend to have a very solid idea of their weaknesses, and have no idea of their strengths, in the beginning I suggest people focus on their strengths. I am often asked, “Won’t this make me arrogant?” The protection against arrogance is being grateful to Allah SWT for every strength you discover about yourself. Arrogance means attributing the good to yourself. Humility doesn’t mean you don’t know your strengths; it just means that you know you could have nothing without Allah SWT. And when we are aware that everything good we have is from Allah SWT, we will look for the good and appreciate it, leading us to even more gratitude to Him insha’a Allah.
“Do you not see how Allah sets forth a parable? A good word is like a good tree, whose root is firmly fixed, and its branches (reach) to the heavens” (Qur’an – 14:24)
Tirmidhi, Hadith #1956, Hadith Pro App.
Dawood, Hadith #4811.