Life is a journey that’s full of lessons and reminders. Sometimes, we must go through certain experiences to grow and gain some wisdom. We never stop learning until we leave this world, so we may as well embrace the journey. Although I didn’t need to be a mother to ponder on these life lessons, it definitely encouraged me to do it now and try setting a positive example for my children as much as possible. There are twenty life lessons I’ve learned so far that I would like to share, and maybe someone else may benefit.
1. Take advantage of each minute; enjoy NOW
Time flies, so we have to enjoy each minute as it comes. None of us is promised tomorrow, therefore, spending too much time on tomorrow takes away from enjoying today. True, we should plan as much as we’re able to. But, most of our time should be on appreciating and enjoying this moment.
2. You’re doing very well, keep pushing
Don’t wait for anyone to tell you that you’re doing just fine! Of course, there will always be room for improvement. But don’t take away from the hard work you’ve already done. It’s okay to appreciate the achievements Allah has allowed you to accomplished.
3. Trust your instinct
We all hear that all the time, and it’s true. I can’t count how many times I didn’t feel right about something, avoided it, and was glad I did. And, there has also been times when I strongly felt off about something in my heart and didn’t understand why, still went for it, and regretted it later. Our instinct could possibly be a sign from Allah telling us to go for something or avoid it. But when we don’t listen, we end up in disasters. Allah knows best.
4. Love yourself; no one can love you more than you
Really; no one can love you more than you can love yourself. I’m on a journey of unapologetic self-love, and it feels good. Allah chose you to be YOU, and no one can be you more than you. Now that’s a lot of ‘yous,’ but it had to be said. We have to appreciate ourselves and love who we are. Again, there will forever be room for improvement; that’s a given. Only by loving ourselves would we feel worthy enough to improve on what needs to improve and appreciate what we’re doing right. It can only make us better as you grow.
5. Believe in yourself
I love this one. I’ve heard it a million times, but I’m just internalizing it now. As cliche as it may sound, it’s actually true. No one can believe in you more than you can. Most people either don’t care, have their own worries, or may not want to see you do well. Besides, you have only yourself to prove to; others usually follow along after the hardest work is done. Don’t take it personally; that’s life.
6. Take a break
This is a big one for me. Sometimes, we just HAVE to take a break; and that’s okay! We don’t always have to be busy doing something. Let’s relax, breathe, enjoy looking up the sky, and appreciate nature. Just take a break!
7. There’s wisdom behind everything in life
Nothing happens by chance. There’s always wisdom and calculated purpose behind everything that happens. We may not like it at the moment, but we’d either see that wisdom unfold itself eventually, or we may not even notice it. But, it’s still there. We have to appreciate every experience and every moment.
8. Your journey is unique
Each person on this earth has a purpose different from the next person. Our main purpose is to worship Allah, but each one of us is unique and will have unique overall experiences and purpose. Let’s focus on our own journey.
9. People treat you the way you allow them to
We’ve all probably heard this multiple times but we don’t realize it until we go through certain experiences in life. People really do treat you the way you allow them to treat you! We HAVE to set personal boundaries and be firm. This didn’t hit home for me until I sat down and thought, “How would I ever be able to teach my children self-respect and setting boundaries if I set a different example?” We can’t control how others act, but we can control how we respond or how far we let it continue. Set personal boundaries that you let no one cross!
10. There is such a thing as being too nice
I’ve been told multiple times, “You can’t continue to let people take advantage of your kindness” or “You have to learn to speak up for yourself!” I used to think they just wanted me to be a little rude. But no, and I’ve learned that the hard way. Again, here comes the setting boundaries part. We just have to learn to put our foot down when required.
11. Saying NO feels good sometimes
It really does. You don’t always have to say ‘yes’ to people; especially when we really don’t want to. It’s nice to be kind and sometimes push ourselves to the limit, but we have to determine how far we can go. Don’t let people take advantage of your ‘yes.’
12. Trust no one
The only One worthy to be trusted unconditionally is Allah. Human beings are flawed so we can expect disappointments. Disappointments sometimes even come from ourselves. In addition, human beings can sometimes be worse than animals, as harshly as that sounds. We study others’ weaknesses and attack them from those very points. Try not to give that power to anyone. If you absolutely have/need to talk to someone, speak to an expert in the specific field related to what you want to talk about. Talk to someone trustworthy who is known to understand the type of situation you want to talk about. Most people talk without knowledge or experience when dealing with others. But, regardless, only allow yourself to be completely vulnerable to Allah alone.
13. Depend on no one
Other than Allah, we should depend on no one else. It is natural to interact with other people and sometimes need help because that’s how we were created. From getting a job, traveling, eating, you name it, we all collectively depend on each other one way or another. But, we should try our best not to seek help from others no matter how small the help may be. Sometimes, life happens and we may not have any other choice. But, we should still strive to avoid it as much as possible. Most people will look down on you when you are at your worse and glorify you when you’re at your best. Don’t allow people to humiliate you and strip you of your dignity.
14. It could have been worse; be grateful
Whatever experience we go through in life, it could have been worse. Is it sickness, loss of wealth, natural disaster, losing something, losing someone, missing someone, or other hardships in life? It could have been worse. So, all we can do is be grateful and appreciate what we have now. Sadly, we usually only realize that when something becomes worse than it already was. Thoughts are powerful. Gratitude makes life feel a hundred times better. It is easier said than done, but we can do it!
15. Don’t apologize for being you
Don’t apologize for being yourself. Do what you want to do and don’t let others’ opinions overly influence your thoughts. Taking constructive criticism or advice is good, but ultimately, you should stay in control of your decisions. Just remember that with every action, there is either a reward or a consequence.
16. People are the product of their environment
Sometimes, it’s best to forgive others just because… Not only does it make you feel much better, you gain rewards for forgiving others for the sake of Allah. Besides, people are the product of their environment. It doesn’t excuse certain behaviors, but it sure does explain a lot. Free yourself by forgiving sometimes.
17. Children follow what you DO more than what you say
Becoming a mother made me realize that actions really do speak louder than words. I’ve watched my first child follow every little act she saw me do to the point where I was completely blown away. She’s been on a watch for even simple things like saying a favorite word often, the way I walk, speak, and other little acts. It will not matter what you tell your children if you don’t set an example.
18. Being a good Muslim is beyond appearance
What you see isn’t always the reality. Appearance is without doubt very important, but never limit your judgment of people on only that. Each one of us has a different journey, so we should assume the best and help one another when possible. Believe me, some of the worse people you would ever encounter in life may look like the most pious of people. Because of that, people tend to run away from those who look ‘religious.’ I’ve had people tell me they didn’t expect me to be kind just because I appeared ‘religious’ to them. That’s really sad because it should be the opposite.
“Kind speech and forgiveness are better than charity followed by injury. And Allah is Free of need and Forbearing.” Surah Al Baqarah (2:263)
The Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “I have only been sent to perfect good characteristics.” Saheeh Al Bukhari
19. College/university is overrated
There was a time when having a degree meant you were educated and could get a higher paying career. But, that’s no longer the case. With the rise of the internet, people can be self-taught by specializing in different fields and getting practical experiences within a shorter amount of time. As for university, many spend years learning theories just to get a paper to prove that they sat on a chair listening to professors for years. And when they graduate, without some internship (practical experience) to back up their years of studies, the competition for getting a job becomes almost impossible to attain. So, don’t waste your time, learn a skill, and get to work! Of course, there are some fields that do require years of structured learning in an institution.
20. Money doesn’t buy happiness, but it can buy things that can make you happy
We often say “money doesn’t buy happiness;” that’s true. Gratitude, positive attitude, and contentment beat having money. But realistically speaking, that’s only true after one is able to take care of the necessities. And in today’s world, most people can only afford to take care of their necessities with money.
Disclaimer: That’s only when it comes from halal sources because ultimately, we want happiness in this world and the Hereafter.
These are twenty of some of the life lessons I’ve learned so far and I’m more than happy to continue to learn as I go through my journey, in shaa Allah. Are there any life lessons that aren’t listed here that you’ve learned? If so, share them in the comment section below.
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