Sometimes it is easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of life. We often get our heads wrapped around ourselves and others, thinking of the things we need to do next and more often than not, the list never ends. We often think of how we can be better, some of us are busy comparing ourselves to the highlights of other people’s lives and we beat ourselves up for not hitting the mark of perfection we so often want for ourselves.
Maybe if we hung out with certain friends, maybe if we did something extra at work, maybe if we bought that one more thing, maybe then we can feel satisfied and finally happy with ourselves.
When things do not go our way, when people behave in ways we did not expect, when we do not manage to achieve what we want, we often beat ourselves up for it. We think that somehow it was our fault, that we were inadequate or simply not “lovable” enough, that maybe we did not pray enough that has caused life to let us down.
But is that really the truth?
What we perceive and feel day in and day out may seem like the reality of our lives but while the circumstances, the nuances of every emotion and action seem so real in the canvas of life, do we ever to stop and really think of how we are affecting ourselves?
I had a very interesting chat with a friend recently and she pointed out how emotions often play a huge part in our lives. We can look at the “facts” and try being objective and point out each and every circumstance (or person) that has led us to certain low points in life, but therein still lies the question: Have you been true and gentle with yourself?
Have you been able to face what has hurt you and have learned more about yourself from it?
Instead of constantly wondering about the “why”, like why do I feel this way, why am I inadequate, it may be better to look at the what, where and how. How have I started feeling this way? Where did this all begin? What has happened? These questions are likely to go a further way of bringing you closer to yourself because in some way, you have put yourself when your emotions are amplified.
It is easy to get angry, it is an emotion that is instinctive in us. I was always for the view that it was somewhat more socially acceptable to be angry than it is to be sad. I viewed anger as a companion who I may not hang out with every day, but during my hardest moments, it was my warrior and would stick up for me. It would look out for me and the truth of my words would burn clearer and truer than any other emotions that exist.
Anger only fuels you for so long and for many years now, I wondered when that little monster in me would go away. Maybe if I had tapped into it earlier than waiting for so long, maybe I would have had some closure. Or maybe if I had been a good enough Muslim and prayed around the clock, maybe I would have some peace. While it is good to reflect and I had assumed that if I reflected enough, I would have an easier life, I find that there is still an empty space that niggles within me, that comes to life larger than ever during the quiet moments. As many distractions as there may be and for however long you decide to let those distractions take the front stage, you will still come back to that empty space.
It is only now that I am learning that sadness, disappointment, hurt, pain and maybe even betrayal are a lot harder to admit to when you are busy maintaining a strong front. It is easier to think of what has made you angry and why you are angry compared to admitting that someone or something did hurt you when you may not have expected it. Even at the end, once you have vented out your anger and gotten your peace, that peace may not last. You will still feel that blank space within you and you will still need to face that which has hurt you.
You could tell everyone and garner their advice, you could confront everything and everyone that has hurt you and that is also a natural reaction but what is important is that you take it back to yourself in as kind and gentle a way as possible. Look at your inner self. Remember that you are human and you are allowed to hurt and that you are hurting right now. There is no shame in admitting to yourself that you are hurt or disappointed. What is important is to let yourself recognise what it is that has hurt you and how you got to feeling this way and this will open doors for the reasons behind your deep-rooted anger and sadness.
Don’t wait for so many years to practice that sort of gentleness and kindness to yourself. Don’t wait for so long to understand yourself because when you feel very confused and hurt, you may one day find yourself taking it out on others which in turn will also make you feel worse about yourself. As you learn more about yourself and how your emotions and actions work, you are able to accept it more and slowly change your own words and actions. Once you take it by the horns and learn more about it, you will find yourself stronger and happier. We can control ourselves, if we cannot control our circumstances but the idea is consistent effort. Don’t just work on yourself when things are easy, work on yourself even when it is difficult. Every little step helps.
It is not easy, it will not take a short time, but it is still necessary for the attainment of a better self. It is still important to help yourself be more positive towards others and to feel more empathy for their struggles too. You will find yourself genuinely happier for others and happy for wherever it is you are in life when you are also kind to yourself. With good intentions and when we pray for guidance, God will help us in His plan for us. We may not fully see or understand His plan, but we should be kind to ourselves and strive every day through the challenges and disappointments we may face. He is our compass and rock, who we lean upon during the hardest times in life, who we can cry to even though we cannot see Him.
The struggle is to keep faith high on a daily basis but you can. With each step you take closer to yourself, with each step you take in learning and understanding more about others and life. I believe we are all here to help each other and grow together, even when we may not always have a smooth ride. We can still aim to enjoy the lessons and things we see in life.
I still have a long way to go in truly understanding myself in that sense but I have now accepted that some of it was also my fault. Not that I am bashing myself (we should not bash ourselves) but more because I did not know any better, but I believe in what Maya Angelou said.
When you know better, you will do better.
I hope that you will also have that kindness and gentleness for yourself, that you will be true to yourself and learn about yourself and others as time passes.
May you eventually find peace and truly soar in life and should you ever be in a situation where you feel everything is hopeless, may you remember you have yourself and God to also help you through. If you do not know where to begin to let things go, remember that anywhere is a good place to start and the journey will get you there eventually if you keep trying.