Whenever a bit of technology malfunctions at our homes, the manufacturer’s manual is always a good place for answers. Likewise is the human being in his travels to Allah: We malfunction. We try to make changes, to break out of evil habits or to get into righteous habits! But the “nafs” or the “self/soul” resists … it fights back.
This nafs has certain traits, amongst which is:
If you don’t take it by force and pull it to Paradise, it will grab you and pull you to the depths of the fire!
It’s a lifelong battle between you and your “self”. So what do we do? Just as we did above; Resort to its manufacturer’s manual, the Qur’an! For the Creator of this nafs has spoken about its malfunctioning and evil tendencies ..
We find that in the Qur’an, Allah has divided the nafs into three categories. That’s it!
The first is The commanding soul
The second is The blaming soul
And the third is The peaceful soul
The first category is the lowest of them all. This is a nafs which directs its person to the door of every evil. It is a nafs which brings pain to itself, a nafs that commands that you forget your Creator, to ignore the hereafter, to turn to that channel, to light that cigarette, to dress/undress how you wish ….
Allah says in the Qur’an, quoting the woman who attempted the seduction of prophet Yusuf (Joseph) following her repentance:
“And I do not find excuses for myself. Truly, the nafs is always commanding to do evil .. ” 
Yes! This is the soul which excites you to leap at every temptation and to dive deeper into oceans of sins and lusts. This is the first type of souls, but the good news is that …
.. this nafs is receptive to change!
If you do not surrender to its pulling and retaliate by pulling harder, it will eventually loosen. Gradually, it will start following you to every good action, just how sheep obediently follow their shepherd.
Hence, eliminate the idea of: “I just can’t!”, “I’ve been doing this all my life!”, “I’m addicted!”, “I’m just not used to this!” Avoid this mentality, because the first type of nafs is like a child who is being weaned. If no action is taken, the child never breaks free from the chest of his/her mother! But with effort, the child ends up detesting it!
Simply ask any one of our mothers who breastfed us, may Allah reward them: “What did I do the first night you stopped breastfeeding me?” She’d reply: “You screamed all night!!”
Likewise, we did the second night .. the third night .. but the fourth? The Fifth? You’d cry, but a little less .. all the way until the you were totally weaned. Afterwards, if your mother was to try suckling you again, you’d reply: “Kukhh!” 
This exactly is how the nafs is.
At first, when you’ve made the firm decision to change your ways, your nafs will scream at you!! “What are you doing? This is so hard!” But after a week, a month, a year, it will soften up and surrender to your wishes and will follow you to every door of good which you take pull it to. After that, if sin is presented to it, it says: “Kukh!”
So after you’ve achieved this i.e. you’ve fought with your nafs, you pulled harder than it and remained patient with its initial screaming .. it now begins to elevate to the second level. Your nafs is now referred to as: The blaming soul.
This is an honourable nafs! A noble and righteous nafs! One which blames you when you engage in wrong. In fact, it’s so honourable that Allah has even taken an oath by it .. to draw your attention to its importance! Allah says:
“I swear by the Day of Resurrection. And I swear by the blaming soul” 
This blaming soul is the soul of a believer! It doesn’t go unaffected following sin, but it feels an inner sore, deep regret and bitterness. The prophet PBUH said:
“Whoever’s good deeds please him and whoever’s sin sadden him, then this is the believer!” 
So it’s an honourable nafs. A soul which blames you when you do bad, saying: “Did you have to do that?” and also blames you when you do good, saying: “Couldn’t you do more?” What a beautiful soul it is! A blaming, debating soul.
As for the one who strives to continue ascending the ladder of inner purification, it finally attains the pinnacle, the third and loftiest of levels, may Allah grant us this!
Which nafs is this? It is … The peaceful soul.
This is a soul which doesn’t taste the meaning of happiness, comfort, joy, excitement, pleasure or warmth except in its obedience to Allah …
Allah tells us that for such a soul, its resting place shall be in no other place than paradise.
As one is dying and this blessed soul finally departs from the body, it will be announced:
“Oh you, oh peaceful soul. Come out and return to your lord, pleased with yourself and He is pleased with you.
.. Go and enter among my honoured servants. Go and enter Paradise” 
 Chapter 12 | Verse 53
 By the way! This word of “Kukh” is a prophetic word. Our messenger PBUH used it when he saw his young grandson crawling towards the date store of the Muslims and was about to eat one.
 Chapter 75 | Verse 1 – 2
 Narrated by at-Tirmithi, on the authority of Ibn Omar (may Allah be pleased with him)
 Chapter 89 | Verses 27 – 30