So often, we talk about loving and serving others and humanity, and I definitely encourage others to find their place in the world and make a difference. With Ramadan coming up, I have been thinking about how everyone needs to have a strong foundation in their relationship with God and their relationship with the one person who will always be with you… YOURSELF. As important as it is to love and serve others, it is as important to make sure you are taking time to do things that will keep yourself healthy and well-nourished — mind, body and soul.
Many of us have struggled with the concept of self-love, and have been comparing ourselves to others and what we feel like we should look like or have accomplished in life by this point. We feel like we may not fit the mold of what society expects us to look or act like, and it gives way to self-doubt. Whether it is being a few pounds overweight, having a large nose, or not liking other aspects of our appearance, we all have certain insecurities and have a difficult time accepting these things on most days.
I am here to challenge this line of thinking, of self-doubt, of focusing so much on the aspects of ourselves that we do not like – and instead, encourage you to focus on developing more of what you DO like about yourself.
We feel like we may not fit the mold of what society expects us to look or act like, and it gives way to self-doubt.
When you belittle yourself, you are belittling Allah SWT’s creation and the way you were made so unique and special. Fix what you can change, and let go of what you cannot change. Making changes such as getting more sleep, drinking water to stay hydrated, eating healthy, exercising and surrounding yourself with people who help you become your best version of “you,” are all positive changes that can be self made and help you develop a healthier self-image.
Indeed, Allah will not change the condition of a people until they change what is in themselves. Surah Ar-Ra’ad (13:11)
On the other hand, when you speak words of love and kindness to yourself, you are contributing to increasing cognitive reasoning and strengthening and propelling the motivational centers of your brain. When you start focusing on the positive aspects, all areas of your life improve and you notice the negative aspects become less. Not only that, you will be better equipped to deal with stress and challenges.
I was given a great piece of advice, to start writing in a journal, to focus on the aspects of life I am thankful for, and to write about the things I want as if I already have them. When you are thankful, you instantly feel a boost to your mood and are overall more positive about life and your place of belonging.
A dear friend of mine recently shared with me her experiences of being 13-years-old and having cancer which caused her to lose all of her hair and feel like she was no longer pretty. In her moments of feeling sick, tired, anxious, and not knowing if she was ever going to get better, it was her closeness to God which helped her feel loved and know that she was not alone. She focused on the positive aspects in life, such as the love of God, her family, friends, and the fact that she wanted to live her life and accomplish her hopes and aspirations. She shared with me many of the passages that she recited which helped her to stay strong, positive, and close to Allah.
Today, she is a beautiful 33-year-old woman who is helping others as a life coach, and this article is inspired by my conversation with her and how we can all be gentler with ourselves and love ourselves more.
Take time to reflect on your blessings this Ramadan, to remember your purpose, and to use this time to get closer to Allah SWT and yourself. Each night, set aside some time not only to read Quran and pray, but to also recite God’s most beautiful 99 names, to do thikr (remembrance), and to reflect on yourself and how you can be a better, happier, more loving version of yourself.
May this month be filled with peace, serenity, answered prayers, calmness and love deep down in your soul. Ramadan Kareem! <3