Dear Diary: Reflection and Growth
You know you’re headed in the right direction when you read or hear something beneficial from someone else, then you take the gems you learned and try to apply them to your life. But what if you could have that effect on yourself?
Your future self?
As Muslims, we know that it is important for us to stay conscious of our actions, manners, speech, and intentions. As Imam Khalid Latif recently said at his Ramadan Prep class,
“A Muslim is never the same person two days in a row.“
But when every day seems to slip through our fingers, how do we even know where we stand? What qualifiers and markers do we have?
A very simple solution is to keep a diary.
How do we know they are effective? Well, ask anyone who has ever been on a diet and kept a food journal– it helps them see what they really consume compared to what they thought they consumed, eventually allowing them to have a balanced, healthy, lifestyle. When you reflect on what you really did and felt throughout a day compared to what you think you did, it can help you to eventually maintain some order in your life, too.
Not too long ago, I realized how much I needed to pick back up on journal writing. I looked back at my older entries and saw what a mess my life had been compared to how much more at peace I am now, alhumdulillah. I revisited emotions of Annam-Past, the dua’s I made, and all my mistakes. I realized that getting all my thoughts and feelings out was an absolutely necessary process for me to move on, refine myself, and be where I am today. And you know how people hit a plateau when dieting? I think people can hit a plateau with personal growth, too. Dumping your thoughts and reflecting back is an excellent way to break through that so you can continue to grow.
Now, some of you may be averse to keeping diaries or journals for many reasons. The most common complaint: “I don’t have time.” There’s a neat, private online journal called Oh Life that solves this problem for you. All you do is hit reply on an email and you make an entry on the website. But nothing beats a good, old-fashioned #2 pencil with a black & white notebook!
Allah mentions in the Quran things we take for granted in our everyday lives: how the earth provides vegetation and animals for food, that people wake up after sleeping, that we are given mates, etc. The verses that mention these things are then followed by,
“verily in that are Signs for those who reflect.”
Allah wants us to reflect, even on the mundane. So let us be among those who reflect regularly inshAllah.
This is a reminder to myself first.
May Allah swt help us to be better Muslims. Ameen.