Practise Understanding…Give Up the Need to Be Right All The Time

written by Princess R. Lakshman

Alhumdolillah, this is my ninth year as a Muslimah.

My truth-seeking journey was long and filled with struggles. The most difficult part came when I embraced Islam and was immediately disowned by my parents. I tried to reason with them, however, it did not work. For almost nine years now my daughter and I have not had a relationship with my parents and other extended family members. 

They made it crystal clear to me in our final conversation. “We are right, you are wrong,” they insisted. Their need to be right outweighed my pleas to make them understand.

At first, it hurt a lot, however, over time and with ALLAH’s guidance I have come to understand that there are two sides to my relationship status with my parents – one is ‘understanding’ and the other is ‘the need to be right’. While I practise understanding and continue to make dua for them, they persist with their need to be right.

Our Prophet (SAW) experienced a great many situations where people persecuted him and his followers simply because persecutors felt the need to be right all the time.

Take an honest account of your life these past few weeks…have you in any way been operating on a default program to feel the  “need to be right all the time”? By this I mean, have you stubbornly persisted with a certain mindset about a situation without practising any kind of understanding?

Understanding does not mean agreeing. It means to open your mind to listen to another person’s perception about a particular situation. It means to acknowledge that another person has the exact same right to an opinion about an issue as you do. It means to respectfully listen to each other’s viewpoints.

When you fail to open your mind, you fail to understand. When there is no understanding, there is an ongoing need to be right. And when there is this addictive need to be right, there is the obsessive attachment to judge others.

For example

Notice the tone of this conversation between a mother and her daughter who has recently lost her job and despite all efforts, remains unemployed.

Mother: “Shouldn’t you be looking for a job? You are locked up in your room every day.”

Daughter: “Whatever, mum.”

Mother: “So, you’re just going to give up? When I was your age I supported my family.”

Daughter: “What’s your point?”

Mother: “My point is that you are lazy because you have everything given to you on a platter.”

Daughter: “Mum, I’m trying.”

Mother: “Yes, but you’re not trying hard enough. You are lazy, spoilt and think that you are entitled.”

The daughter storms off to her room and bangs the door shut.

Mother to Father: “She is the laziest girl on earth. Shame!”

In the above scenario, the mother failed to open her mind and understand her daughter. The moment she said the words, “Yes, but you’re not trying hard enough” was when she was operating on her addictive need to be right.

Practise Understanding – Give Up The Need To Be Right

Now, let us look at the following conversation from an angle that displays understanding and empathy.

Mother’s negative remarks Mother’s display of understanding & empathy
mother: “Shouldn’t you be looking for a job? You are locked up in your room every day.” mother: “What was the most interesting job you applied for recently?
daughter: “Whatever.” daughter: “Whatever.”
mother: “So, you’re just going to give up? When I was your age I supported an entire family.” mother: “Yes, I know. It is challenging. Back in my day, it was probably different, now times are different.”
daughter: “What’s your point?” daughter: “What’s your point?”
mother: “My point is that you are lazy because you have everything given to you on a platter.” mother: My point is that perhaps we could sit together one day and talk about your dreams. I’d like to know what your passion is, what gives you joy. I was a young woman once too. I understand how frustrating it can be when you feel the weight of the world on your shoulders. I just want you to know that I’m on your side, my daughter. I understand.
daughter: “Mum, I’m trying.” daughter: “Mum, I’m trying.”
mother: “Yes, but you’re not trying hard enough. You are lazy, spoilt and think that you are entitled.” mother: “Alhumdolillah, child. May Allah reward you for your efforts. I know you are trying. Is there any way I can help you in your efforts? I’d really like to. Like I said, I understand. I’ve been there.
The daughter storms off to her room and bangs the door shut. mother and daughter hug it out.

When you consciously practise understanding you are in fact detaching from ego (nafs). It is the ego that demands the addictive need to be right all the time. Remember to catch yourself out every time you feel the need to be right. Detach from that and embrace an open mind with which to practise understanding and empathy.

Always remember, you are not your experiences. You are the FORCE that overcomes them.

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Photo by Liza Rahman on Canva

 

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