The mind, truly is a wondrous place. The amount of complex thoughts generated is a miracle. They say you can’t begin to heal until you accept you have a problem. I knew I had a problem, I just never knew what it was, or perhaps with my bad memory I just oft forgot. Today however, I remembered and the truth hit me right between the chest. I’ll not be dramatic – it didn’t wind nor crush me, but it did leave me speechless.
I have little self-love. After all these years of trying to heal I still don’t have much. Weighed down by guilt, anger, bitterness and pain I struggle to look at my reflection and say “guess what Mibs, I love you.” This one desire – a desire to be loved has caused so much heartache and damage, upon myself and those I love(d). I didn’t always know I was doing it, I couldn’t see past my pain.
The extreme abuse I afflicted upon myself finally explains why I similarly took abuse from others. It was all I felt I was worth, and it was still attention of sorts. Don’t they say when you show children negative attention when they misbehave they will come to crave it because it’s still some type of attention? That’s why you ignore bad behaviour and show lots of positive attention when they are behaving. I can attest to that.
Where this all started doesn’t matter, we don’t hold on to the past, it can’t hurt us anymore. To forgive ends the rule of tyranny upon our hearts and I believe is one of the first steps to healing. But if we don’t grab our pain by the scruff of the neck and stare it in the eye and say: “I see you” it will continue to haunt us.
When the pens have been lifted and the pages have dried, know that nothing can benefit nor harm you unless it has already been written by Allah.
These are the 15 ways you can build self-love using Islamic principles. They worked for me and I’m gifting them to you now.
How do you increase self-love?
- Forgive not only others but yourself too. You can’t change the past but in sha Allah you can set the future and become a better you.
- Don’t expect it to come quickly. Have realistic goals. Healing takes time, all you need to do is look at how long it takes your body to heal after a break. Your mind has been carrying out these negative thoughts saying you are not lovable for a long time.
- Seek Allah’s protection. In Islam we believe these negative thoughts come from Shaytaan who seeks to bring us down to make us lose hope in the Mercy of Allah.
- Ask Allah to guide and help you, no one else will ever be able to help. Those that seemingly help do not do so by their own power, but by the permission of Allah.
- Ask Allah to forgive you and repent sincerly for the sins you have made both knowingly and unknowingly. We all sin habibti, it doesn’t make you bad, it makes you human.
- Know Allah loves you, if He didn’t you wouldn’t be reading this. Simple.
- Surround yourself with positive people and stand up for what is right. I haven’t mentioned defending yourself against insults because when you keep quiet the angels answer for you.
- Read and study surah ad-Duha. This beautiful chapter was revealed at a time when our prophet rasulAllah (saws) questioned whether Allah was unhappy with him. It is the best affirmation you could hope to receive as a Muslim and it’s deeply moving; brings me to tears every time (link to video here).
- Purify your soul. Take a long look at yourself and the way your pain has shaped you, it’s not unusual for there to be ugly traits rooted in the scars. Weed those traits out, you don’t have to declare them to anyone. And know just as a farmer first pulls out the weeds before he tills the soil to make it fertile, you must too first pull the weeds.
- Get to know yourself again if you have forgotten. Find out what your passions are, what makes your heart beat faster and do more of this. This build up self-worth, knowing we are worth making the effort for. Looking after yourself is NOT selfish!
- Know that we must accept both the good and bad of qadr – predestination. Whatever has happened has happened by the permission of Allah. With the blessings of Allah and by the permission of Allah are two different things so don’t get it twisted. It doesn’t mean Allah was happy with what befell you. If it has happened by the permission of Allah it means there was wisdom behind why it happened. We may never know that wisdom but ask yourself one question: don’t you trust Allah to keep your loved ones’ hearts beating at night? Then trust Him now too. In sha Allah we’ll get back to this topic in a later post.
- Acknowledge your blessings and strengths. Allah has given certain gifts to us all, what are yours? You may need a friend to help you see yours and that’s perfectly ok. We can’t always see the good in ourselves, but know it’s there.
- Remember that Allah sees all, your pain has not been suffered in vain. You will be rewarded, all you need to do is have sabr – patience.
- Remember this world is temporary and the aakhirah is what counts. Everything should be for the aakhirah.
- Finally, study the religion of Allah and get closer to Allah. That’s the only way you will be able to change your mentality and view the world through Qur’anic glasses. When you get to know the beautiful Names of Allah and about the trials other Muslims went through and how they overcame and superseded themselves you will also learn in sha Allah and you will be rewarded too. It’s a win win.