Negativity – Why do Bad Things Always Happen to Me?
Our theme for this week is Negativity – so if you thought that maintaining a positive attitude and outlook is difficult, negativity is worse and its consequences are far more serious and damaging.
The topic of negativity is very broad and here are so many aspects to cover – so for this week we will focus on this question that very often gets asked, “Why do bad things always happen to me?”
Here is something to start off with,
“We cannot solve our problems with the same level of thinking that created them.”
What is Happening to Me?
Feeling trapped within the confines of the same problem over and over again is both soul-crushing and overwhelming. Whether the issue is never-ending conflict with a family member, recurring feelings of defeat, or something holding you back from living the life you envisioned for yourself, it’s emotionally exhausting to face the same issue day-in and day-out, sometimes year after year.
A difficulty that keeps resurfacing, sometimes under different guises, can feel like pushing a huge boulder up a hill; you expend so much energy trying to make progress only to be met with more resistance.
Over time you might even begin to wonder:
“There has to be something wrong with me.”
“How could so many bad things happen to one person?”
“Why do bad things keep happening to me?”
Or you might take a different approach and think:
“How could the world be such a bad place?”
“There are so many evil people out there.”
“Why is everyone out to get me?”
No matter how you interpret your experience, it becomes increasingly difficult to see good in anything or anybody through the pain. The more negative things you experience, the more negative the world looks. The worse people treat you, the worse you feel about yourself. And the more difficult your trials are, the more impossible it feels to change.
But remember these wonderful words of the Messenger ﷺ:
قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ مَنْ أَصْبَحَ مِنْكُمْ آمِنًا فِي سِرْبِهِ مُعَافًى فِي جَسَدِهِ عِنْدَهُ قُوتُ يَوْمِهِ فَكَأَنَّمَا حِيزَتْ لَهُ الدُّنْيَا
“The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said: “Whoever among you wakes up in the morning, secured in his dwelling, healthy in his body, having his food for the day, then it is as if the world has been gathered for him.'” [Tirmidhi, Vol. 4, Book 10, Hadith 2346]
Similarly we are taught in the Holy Quran:
مَآ أَصَابَ مِن مُّصِيبَةٍ إِلَّا بِإِذْنِ ٱللَّهِ ۗ وَمَن يُؤْمِنۢ بِٱللَّهِ يَهْدِ قَلْبَهُۥ ۚ وَٱللَّهُ بِكُلِّ شَىْءٍ عَلِيمٌ
No disaster strikes except by permission of Allah. And whoever believes in Allah, He will guide his heart. And Allah has ˹perfect˺ knowledge of all things. (At Tagabun 64: 11)
Allamah Ibn Kathir R said about this verse:
Whoever suffered an affliction and he knew that it occurred by Allah’s Judgment and Decree, and he patiently abides, awaiting Allah’s reward, then Allah guides his heart, and will compensate him for his loss in this life by granting guidance to his heart and certainty in faith. Allah will replace whatever he lost for Him with the same or what is better.
Ali ibn Abi Talhah RA reported from Ibn Abbas RA: ‘… and whosoever believes in Allah, He guides his heart.’ Allah will guide his heart to certainty. Therefore, he will know that what reached him would not have missed him and what missed him would not have reached him.