Perception

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When something goes wrong in your life, how do you deal with it? Does your heart automatically sink into a pool of despair and anger? Are you rushed with emotions that put you down and leave you no way to escape? Do you feel like the walls are closing in on your life, you’re left with no more options and no one, I mean absolutely no one can ever come close to understanding how you feel?

This is the way most of us deal with pain, heartbreak, and disappointments. Don’t get me wrong, it isn’t an easy thing to deal with but if we only stopped to take a breath of air, think clearly, and reflect on why we are in this scenario, we would save our self from a lot of heartache.

When something goes wrong in my life, my heart pounds with nervousness and fear and the way I used to deal with it is by running to people and things for distraction. To numb my mind from the pain and lingering thoughts. This worked for a little while, but you are not getting to the root of the problem. Sure, you’ll distract yourself, you’ll create other dialogues and situations, and you’ll try to tell yourself you’re fine.

Truth is, you’re not fine.

In order to move forward from a negative situation in your life, you must be honest with yourself.

Come clean to yourself.

Why did this happen? What were the actions you took in this situation and what are the actions you can now take to sort things out or to move forward in the most positive way?

Reflect on reasons as to why this could have happened and ponder on what doors of opportunity it could have opened for you.

If you are constantly thinking about why things went wrong and stay there- never allowing your mind to move forward in its though process, then how can you possibly be at peace?

Perception.

A horrible situation in your eyes can be seen as the complete opposite in another person’s mind. It depends on how you choose to look at it, how you decide to deal with it.

Personally, meeting with God, asking for His help, putting my sole trust in Him and His words is what helps me. For me, I know there is no one greater who can guide me to betterment, I know that people can get tired from relentlessly hearing you “complain”. For me, I find my peace in solitude with Him.

Sometimes we are put in certain situations to learn something about ourselves we could have not known otherwise.

Sometimes we believe we are ready for something, when in reality we are not.

Sometimes, we need to have faith and know that there is a plan for us-something bigger and better than our small minds can even imagine.

It isn’t easy. It is filled with challenges. It’s an emotional roller coaster. Lost, confused, questioning.

But sometimes, we just need to believe.

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Is Ideal Real?

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The ideal life.

We all have an image in our mind as to what “ideal” means to us and most of the ideas are fed to us by the media. Whether it is in advertisements, movies, even books- it’s always present wherever we are.

The concept of the ideal life, to me, is similar to the American Dream. For those unfamiliar with this term, it means work hard, persevere, and you will eventually attain your “dream”.

The ideal life to me as a student is to pursue an education, graduate and attain a career that will be of great benefit. Then, get married, move in together, raise children, grow old and retire at some point. And in the middle of all that, travel, attend your best friends wedding, and maybe get a promotion? At some point, you’ll grow old, be unable to work, and spend the last of your days sitting on a rocking chair, on your porch, staring out into the golden sunset drowning in nostalgia and reminiscing of “that time when I…”

This is an exaggerated and cliche version of the ideal life. However, many people abide by this dogma, live inside the box where a way of life has already been socially constructed by the society we live in. To me, this world and life is far more vast than the idealized version just mentioned. To me, it is much more than serving myself and to me, this life is a temporary place, which I’ll one day leave but return to something greater.

In thinking this way, when things don’t go as planned, it reminds me that I have the freewill to make decisions and take action, but what I am destined for has already been written for me (enter the  “whatever happens is meant to happen” association here)

This is quite comforting because it reminds me that whatever is meant for me, I will get and whatever is not meant for me, I will never receive. Of course we as individuals must work incredibly hard, we must make tough decisions and carry out difficult tasks BUT… whatever the outcome of our efforts is what is supposed to befall us.

We all get our comfort from somewhere. 

Some seek it in people, some seek it in their careers, friends, family, but I seek it in faith.

Like Steve Jobs once said, “don’t be trapped by dogma”, I don’t think it could be anymore true.

We may not always realize it, but we are constantly falling into media’s deception- a deception that barks at us to buy a certain product, look a certain way, earn a specific job position and then we will be happy, then we will be satisfied and then, wait for it… we will be complete.

Be honest with yourself in this moment and ask yourself, do you feel complete?

These are fleeting things. Things which will make us happy for a few minutes, a day or so, but after a while it loses its sentiment and meaning and you end up seeking something else to fill this deepening void.

If we allow ourselves to attach our hearts to material things, we can never be forever happy-for happiness is a fleeting emotion. Happiness isn’t a destination. Happiness, just like all other emotions goes and comes.

Seek happiness in the mundane. Seek meaning in a higher purpose, for this life and this entire world is greater than your existence, than your being.

Don’t be afraid to explore, don’t be afraid to step outside society’s box of “norms”.

Don’t be afraid to stand out, speak up and don’t be afraid to seek that which is greater.

Reviving Confidence

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Most people pride themselves on material things. For example, the degree of education you possess, the place you work, the amount of money you make, how attractive you are, and so forth. This isn’t to say these are unimportant topics, but we place so much emphasis on it that we let other things slip.

For example, your character, how you treat others, how you handle situations, controlling your anger, being generous, giving, as opposed to expecting to receive.

I’m in the middle of a situation in my life where things that I valued has slipped away unexpectedly. This goes to show, when you make plans for yourself, these plans can often change when you least expect them to.

You pride yourself on certain things, these things make you feel a sense of worth, but when it gets taken from you, you’re left to yourself. In this moment, you realize and you reflect and you question a lot about yourself.

Personally, I think it’s okay to have a period of time where you are upset. After all, we are all human and it’s normal. However, it becomes deadly to let yourself stay in this phase.

Deadly may seem like an exaggeration, but it can emotionally drain you.

The constant feeling of disappointment and failure. Idle thoughts and moments of weakness that makes you think to yourself… what’s the point?

In this state of mind, patience is hard to maintain. Rather, negativity and bitterness becomes part of the bubble you live in and in most cases, you just want to be alone.

Being alone with these negative thoughts don’t get you anywhere.

Get up and get out there. Surround yourself with people, be honest with them, and don’t hide from your current situation.

The situation you are in is the one you are meant to be in.

However, this does not mean you must remain here. In fact, this is an opportunity to expand your horizons, do something different, or find new ways of getting to where you want to be. It’s a challenge you must accept and the thoughts of disappointment, allow them to flee.

Be good to yourself. Try before you quit.

No, these are not typical and cliche lines.

If you don’t try to change things for yourself, no one will do it for you.

Do it for yourself.

The Company You Keep

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It has dawned on me,

The importance of the people you surround yourself with

When you’re young, you have a need to be around people and even if your personalities aren’t so compatible. I remember being in middle school and not so much caring about the type of people I spent my time with, but just the fact that I had people to hang out, eat lunch with and so forth was good enough.

Of course, as your grow older, situations unfold in various ways and forces you to open your eyes to what matters.

After these pre-teen years, you come to a point where you no longer care about the amount of people who’s around you. In fact, you’d rather spend time alone than to spend it with unproductive or even toxic company.

If you’re constantly spending your time with people who aren’t working hard to make things happen or make their lives better, then where do you stand?

We all go through different phases with different people, and it’s always a learning experience. But, if you want to get ahead, expand your horizons, and make those dreams of yours come true, you can’t be in the company of people who don’t feel the adrenaline rush as you do. The ones who don’t reevaluate themselves to perfect their characters (or at least try), take risks, and strive for what is important to them.

Other people have the power to constrain you, if you allow them.

They have the power to belittle your dreams and efforts, but it is up to you, if you will diminish those dreams of yours or build them stronger and better. 

Here’s where I was going with this, your company defines you.

Say what you will, but take some time to reflect on who you spend most of your time with, why you choose to, what you mostly talk about, and how you feel when you are with them.

Be honest with yourself, you owe yourself that much.

The Elephant in the Room

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I remember when I was in elementary school and “Religion” was a class that was mandated by the curriculum at the time.

I loved it.

We were kids learning about faith and every week I’d come in with a book of mine sharing what I loved the most and leaving with knowledge of other faiths, other practices, and appreciated all of my classmates.

Now, that all seems like sunshine and rainbows.

Now that I’m in my 20’s the piercing topic of religion has been faced with so much controversy that I personally believe many people would rather not talk about it to avoid, well, the elephant in the room.

Religion is beautiful.

The misconception lies where people do not understand certain concepts or are uneducated about rituals, practices, and so forth. Because of this, the term “religion” is shackled to a stone age time of cavemen walking around dumbfounded.

My point? People believe religion is outdated or “made up”

Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but really think about this the next time you hear a remark from a friend, on the news, or anyone for that matter.

It isn’t fair to base a persons religion on what you may think or what you may fear or what you don’t understand. If you have questions, research. If you have questions after that, kindly ask someone of that faith.

It really isn’t that big of a deal.

My faith puts me at ease and at peace. My faith is a guideline as to how I choose to live my life. My faith teaches me to be dignified, confident, and liberated (like many religious practices teach)

My faith teaches to not mock others for what they believe in

[Quran 29:46] Do not argue with the people of the scripture (Jews, Christians, and Muslims) except in the nicest possible manner – unless they transgress – and say, “We believe in what was revealed to us and in what was revealed to you, and our god and your god is one and the same; to Him we are submitters.”

It is easy to jump to conclusions and to judge others. However, I along with many others feel liberated to practice religion. It is just common sense to respect others.

At the end of the day, we are ALL living together in this world and we will all interact with people who have come from all walks of life and from diverse backgrounds.

Think first, educate yourself, and be kind.

We shouldn’t treat others differently because they have different beliefs.

The world would be a better place if we were all a little kinder to one another.