As you all may have already guessed, I am a Muslim woman (and if you haven’t, then do you even know me?!). But because of this, my entries are going to (and some have already) steer more towards the spiritual side. I don’t necessarily mean it to, but I have a clear spiritual bias, (that’s just the lens I look at the world with) so if you’re not into a higher power or Creator or anything of that sort, then I’m telling you from now that I don’t know if this entry is going to do anything for you. I mean I’d love it if you stayed just to read some of my thoughts and all, but I totally get it if you decide on packing your bags and dipping!
In Islam, we believe in the Qadar of Allah (SWT). Qadar basically means predestination or fate, so accepting the Qadar of Allah (SWT) means that no matter what the outcome, you are accepting and being content with the divine destiny that Allah (SWT) has willed and decreed for you.
Now let’s say you were predestined to be a millionaire in the dunya (this world). What’s so hard about being content with that? Nothing I would assume…Hahaha so obviously I’m going to stick more towards the unlucky situations in life. That means poverty, health illnesses, family problems, I’m lookin’ at you! 😉
Okay but all jokes aside, seriously, when calamity strikes, it’s hard. It’s difficult to keep a strong and stable heart and mind. And I’m sure my Muslim readers have all read or watched lectures on the topic of keeping patience during hard times and how to continue to persevere. I know I’ve looked up this topic a bajillion times, and I always find myself seeing the same thing about when calamity strikes, “it’s a test, don’t think of it as a punishment.” I feel that during these times, we really are tested on our faith. Is this test going to bring us closer to our Lord, or take us further away?
I hope y’all are planning on trying to stay on the path that brings you closer to Him =). Because if so, then this entry might be able to help you! I know during my diagnosis, although I had a dip in my Emaan (faith), which technically happens from time to time randomly anyways, that I could never see myself as someone who doesn’t believe in Islam (Alhumdolilah). It was just already such an integral part of my life, and although I didn’t practice it that much, the belief was still incredibly strong. So turning my back on Allah (SWT) was not an option. Now I don’t know if this happens to you guys or not, but when I was being tested, I knew I wanted to stay closer to my Lord, but it was still hard for me to accept my situation and be content with it. It was hard to cope with it I should say.
There are of course many duas (prayers) the Quran provides that one can read during difficult times, and many solutions within the Holy Book and Hadith, which I’m sure are far better than what I’m about to offer you. But, if you’re like me and you’re down to look into any avenue (as long as it’s halal and appropriate), than here are some things that help me during my tough times (aka Nida’s 5 Tips on how to deal with your tough situation and hopefully accept it and become content with it):
1) Watch Islamic lectures on the exact thing that’s got you stressed out.
When I’m feeling some type of way (haha), I try to find YouTube videos of Sheikhs or Ustadhs or scholars who have given a lecture on that exact topic. For example, if I find that my patience is wearing thin with a family member or a friend, then I will go to YouTube and search: losing patience with family Islam. Usually, I can find a lecture on exactly how I’m feeling and the solution the Sheikh provides for it. I personally like watching Nouman Ali Khan, Omar Suleiman, Yasmin Mogahed, and Mufti Menk. What I really like about these scholars is that they explain verses in the Quran in depth, and the stories behind the various scriptures in the Quran. Many of them use humour as well, which is always good ;). Remember though, you might not connect with a lot of the scholars that you find on YouTube. You may have to watch a few different ones to figure out what kind of vibe you like and are going for. And of course, do your research above all else (we all know the Internet is filled with misleading information religion aside). Watching YouTube videos helps me because these lectures are always filled with God’s words, and they’re a constant reminder that God loves us all and is always with us (THE BEST SUPPORT YOU CAN EVER ASK FOR). When I’m feeling down, it’s nice to remind myself the Creator of everything is on my side 🙂
2) Try out different hobbies.
Okay, so if I’m being completely honest, I just started following this tip a few weeks ago, but it honestly does help! I went to a paint night event a few weeks ago with a friend of mine (you sign up for a specific painting, and come that day and time, an instructor will teach you, along with many other people, exactly how to paint that lovely piece of art). We loved it so much that we decided we should host our own paint nights and find tutorials online (YouTube again!). From doing it at an event, to switching it to my friend’s house, now I just paint alone, and it’s honestly so relaxing. I’ll watch a tutorial and paint along, just gliding the brush across the canvas and spreading beautiful colours everywhere. This tip has more to do with coping with your situation, and just finding different de-stressing tools. Painting for me is great, but it might not be for some people. Try different hobbies; see what works for you! And don’t start a hobby to become the best at it, do it because it relaxes you. I’m not that great at painting at all, but it really does relax me so I continue to do it. And if I become the next Van Gogh in the future (without me trying to) then I won’t mind that one bit 😉
3) Surround yourself with family and friends (the good ones).
When I’m feeling down, I personally just want to stay home, curl up in bed, watch Netflix, and eat junk food all day long (Netflix and chill by myself amirite?). But I realized that when something bad happens, this “sadness feeling” lasts more than just a day. And sure it might be fun for a bit to Netflix and chill by yourself, but if you find that that’s the only thing you want to do for 2 weeks straight, then we may have a problemo senor/senorita. Usually when I find myself being lazy and sad for more than a couple of days, I force myself to go out with my family or friends even though I desperately don’t want to. Communicating with actual people about different topics, rather than staying alone with your thoughts and misery, can do wonders. It might not make that much of a difference the first or second time, but after awhile you will notice a change! Just a change in environment and interacting with others had me thinking of other things rather than ruminating on my own situation. It helped me get back to Earth and focus on progression rather than regression. Constantly thinking about your situation is never going to change anything, and if you’re stuck in a situation you have no control over, then being miserable is just going to make you feel a thousand times worse about it. Go out and have fun! Smell the roses. Paint the town red. And if you really don’t want to give up your Netflix, then invite a friend or family member to watch with you 😀
4) Be kind and generous to your loved ones (and strangers too).
When we’re going through a rough time, it’s hard to think about anyone other than ourselves. I find that when you only think of yourself and your situation, the more self-absorbed you become. You become selfish, you probably become annoying to be around, and you just don’t bring anything to the table TBH. If you’re going to start surrounding yourself with people to start feeling better, then you wanna make sure these people stick around, right? When I help others, I find that I become less self-involved and more humble and loving. I genuinely love seeing people happy. And if I’m the reason for that happiness or for even just a bit of it, that’s like the cherry on top! But in all seriousness, when I start showing others that I care about them, it makes me incredibly grateful to Allah (SWT). Oh how he has blessed me with such wonderful people in my life Alhumdolilah. When you’re kind to people, people are kind to you. And when people are kind to you, I can guarantee that will put you in better spirits. You don’t have to buy an expensive gift for someone to show them that you care. You can offer your time, a compliment, a conversation that’s focused on them, maybe some chocolates (hehe), etc. Love and be kind to others and I promise you that you will have a more positive outlook on not only your unfortunate situation, but on life itself.
5) Read your namaaz (prayers) and give your full attention to Allah (SWT).
I always find that when I pray consistently and on time, I have less of a negative and hopeless attitude. Mind you, I’m not praying to be more positive. Sometimes I may pray to not be so negative if I find that it’s getting over hand, but generally I pray for other things. I know that namaaz is obligatory for all Muslims, but I never understood its effects until I started reading it properly. I was able to live a world where I don’t read namaaz, and a world where I do. And the world where I do read namaaz was significantly better than the one where I didn’t pray properly. Don’t get me wrong, I had problems in both worlds (big ones), but the world in which I prayed, my problems didn’t seem so big. It didn’t seem like something that I couldn’t get away from. I guess in the world with namaaz I had more hope. I had confidence that my Lord would save me from this trial. Prayer reminded me that my Lord is the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful (I mean we say it quite a bit during namaaz), so how can one be hopeless/helpless with such a Lord?
Those are some of the ways that help me cope and be happy during the difficult times in my life. All 5 of these things actually are currently helping me amidst my schwannoma regrowth. Ouu, I just thought of another tip actually. Tip#6 guys: writing! Writing this blog actually does help me get down to Earth and clear my mind. It’s funny because if I’m feeling down, then I’ll make sure I write about something uplifting, to motivate me to be strong and remind myself that I can do this (instead of writing about being down)! But anyways, I hope some of you guys try these tips out and find that it helps you!!
ALSO, I would just like to mention, my last entry was posted last Thursday, and this one is being posted now (Thursday evening). Am I finally becoming a proper blogger and posting entries on time and in a consistent manner!? YASSSSSSS. I’m so proud of myself guys :’).
Anyway, until next time my fellow readers, bloggers, and internet trolls alike, I bid you farewell, and wish you the best for today, tomorrow, and for all your days ahead.