Dear Teenage Self,

Oh, how I wish you knew what I know now. I wish that back then, you knew that things would get better. I am soo much older and soo much wiser and I can’t thank you enough for staying so strong and being the awesome person that you were.

I know that things aren’t as easy as what you wished it would be but I promise you that life gets better. It’s hard to believe but it is true. Those lonely nights, heartbreaks and tears cried will only make you stronger, wiser and shape you into the wonderful adult that you will become.

Friends will come and go but true friends will stand by you no matter what. Invest in your friendships. Be there when they need you most. You might not speak to them as much as an adult but when you do, it will be as if no time has passed. Your friends will love you, care about you and pick you up when you have fallen. Treasure them.

You are placed on this earth for a reason. I know that at the moment, it does not seem that way. As the years go by, sometime or the other, the question “What is my purpose in this world?” will pop up but eventually, you will know the answer. Just keep living everyday as it comes. Make the most out of the wonderful moments that you find yourself in. Learn to laugh a little louder and smile a little longer!

I need you to know that the problems that you will find yourself in will only strengthen you. I need you to know that every hardship that you will face is only temporary. There is ease after difficulty and even though you might not know this now, eventually you will learn this and have a different outlook on every hardship you may find yourself in.

Worrying won’t prevent the bad things from happening. Start focusing on all the things that could go right rather than all the things that could go wrong. You are in charge of everything that happens in your life. Take control of it, do what makes you happy and worry less! Too often you will be faced with worry, anxiety, negative thoughts. Don’t let this stop you from becoming the best person that you could possibly be. We win or we learn. Things change and noting lasts forever.

You will learn soo much on your journey through the next few years. Embrace it, enjoy it and make the best out of it. You got this! and always remember that You Are Enough!

Love
Your Future Self

Life tends to continuously throw curveballs in our direction. Sometimes, the impact can destroy us and other times, it is not so severe. Every person on this earth is facing their own challenges. Whether it’s sickness, death of a loved one, financial issues or even the end of a relationship. 

Recently, life has been throwing each and every one of us the same curveballs. The pandemic, riots, looting, the ban of the hijab, bombing of innocent civilians, floods… just to name a few. These events have brought upon stress, anxiety, loss of jobs, loss of lives, disrupted our source of comfort and interrupted our daily routines. Not only has our world been turned upside down within ourselves, but it literally feels as if our world has been turned upside down. *sigh*

During these difficult times, it is important to take a step back, distinguish the right from wrong and try to make a difference within ourselves that will have a positive impact on the world at large. Our actions determine the world that we live in. And if we better ourselves, our environment and the world at large will become a better place. 

The golden question: How do you heal a world turned upside down? 

The answer is simple. “Indeed, Allah will not change the condition of a people until they change what is in themselves.”
{13:11}

We begin by bringing change within ourselves. Face the reality of your feelings. Acknowledge that sometimes, you do not behave in a rational way. Focus on the things you can control and not the things you can’t. Seek help if needed. Take good care of yourself. Learn to look at the positives instead of the negatives. Stay away from following a negative trend just because everyone else is doing it. 

You are your own person. And no one gets to decide who you are or what you need to be. But always remember that your environment and the world can be affected by your decisions and your actions.  

Our world needs saving and so do we as individuals. It’s up to us to save ourselves and our world by healing and becoming better people. 

 

– Inspired by: The Good Doctor and recent events in SA

Is it the lack of sleep?
The having to warm your coffee thrice and still don’t end up drinking it?
Is it the cooking for 3 hours, eating for 5 seconds and doing dishes for a week?
One minute you’re really cool and the next you’re getting excited about a vacuum.
You have all these cards that collect points or help get discounts.
And don’t get me started with having a drivers license. 
You become the Uber in the family but don’t get paid for your services.
Adulting is looking back at your childhood and wishing that you took that afternoon nap.
Adulting is asking why every light in the house is on.
It’s the grocery shopping and countless errands.
The four hours of sleep.
The grey hairs…

Yes, adulting sucks but maybe it isn’t so bad. Society paints us a picture of what a perfect adult should be. But what if I took you down memory lane and told you that you can go outside and play in the rain, or put your arms inside your T- shirt and pretend you don’t have any, or play soccer in the street or pour your soda into the cap and pretend you’re taking shots? 

No where in the manual of adulting did it say we can’t still have fun and let our inner child take over for a moment. 

Adulting can be fun. You just have to make it fun!  And if ever that inner child wants to come out, LET IT! Because life is too short to be serious all the time. 

Although, I have been putting a lot of thought into this and, I would like to cancel my subscription of adulthood.  Is there a manager I can speak to because I don’t think that being an adult is going to work for me?!  *sigh* 

They tried to destroy your Place of worship,

Yet you still came back to pray.

You wake up with the sound of bombs,

Yet you still go on with your day.

They tie you up in chains,

Yet you still walk with your head held high.

They keep knocking you down,

Yet you keep getting right back up.

You have experienced pain in so many ways,

Yet you still keep going.

They have taught you loss,

Yet you still show courage.

And this is why I know that you will soon be free.

Have no doubt that Allah’s help is always near.

I might not be able to do much,

But in my duaas, you will always be remembered!

Hijab
A simple material disliked by plenty.
A head covering to show her modesty.
Clothed to protect her honour.
Used as a ticket to Jannah.
An obligation from her Lord
Worn with love and with pride.
Yet judged like a book only by its cover.
It’s not about oppression, but rather for protection.
Does not cover up her weaknesses
but brings out her confidence and commitment to her Creator.
Her beauty lies not in her physical features
But within her heart and her Imaan.
Like a pearl in its shell
is a women in her hijab.
Her hijab.
Her right.
Her choice.
Her life!

I stand with you
Oh sisters in France.
Your pain and your suffering will not go unnoticed.
And do not be afraid
For Allah is with you all the time, listening and seeing. [20:46]

-Faatimah Sallie

 

A year ago you’ve put us under lockdown.
Your sudden appearance has caused havoc to our lives.
At first, your appearance has forced us to slow down, to enjoy the company of our loved ones.
But you’ve kept us locked in our homes for days on end with very little freedom.
You’ve taken away so many of our close family and friends.
You’ve destroyed economies and made it difficult for people to survive.
You’ve made it difficult to find cures to free ourselves from your harm.
You’ve exhausted us and left us scared. 

But…

Even though you’ve brought disruption to our lives, you’ve brought good into it too.
You’ve brought the world together as a family.
You’ve taught us that life is short and death is sure.
You’ve taught us that jobs are temporary.
You’ve taught us that our health is worth more than anything in this world.
You’ve taught us that tomorrow is not promised and that only the Almighty can save.
You’ve taught us to appreciate every little thing that we have and to look after the people around us.

Maybe you weren’t something bad after all.
Maybe you’re something we all really needed.
But you’ve overstayed your welcome and it’s time to go! 

Boundaries… I often thought that setting boundaries was a bad thing, that it would make me come across as a mean and selfish person. I often struggle to say no and when I do, I feel as if I’m letting the other person down, as if I’m being selfish towards them. I often wander what my purpose in life is, who I really am, what I really want. And I think that me not knowing who I am as a person and what I want plays a big role in me choosing to be a people pleaser, a doormat, someone who finds it so difficult to say no because “what will people think of me?”, “will I come across as selfish?”. So many things run across my mind that is often negative, that is often there because of “ego” and honestly, it’s very exhausting.  

I have recently joined a Balanced Boundaries Bootcamp with Liveinspired where I’ve learnt what healthy boundaries are and how to set them. I was amazed to find out that setting boundaries isn’t a bad thing at all! Instead, it helps your mental, physical, emotional and spiritual wellbeing. Many of us have this misconception that setting boundaries is a bad thing, that it means pushing others away, being selfish or distancing yourself from others. When in actual fact, boundaries can be a good thing.

Setting boundaries is a healthy and good way to avoid conflict. It helps you say no without feeling guilty. Boundaries means taking care of yourself emotionally and physically and knowing who you are, what you believe and what you like. It doesn’t have to be set only when there is conflict or if someone is being nasty. Boundaries can be set to prevent problems from happening and to be treated as an equal. 

Today I’ve asked myself, Allah has created me in a unique way with my own unique beauty, my own unique set of skills, a unique personality, a whole unique and different human! so why am I living my life trying to please others, gain acceptance from others, feel guilty when I say no…?

We live in a society where everyone wants to be someone else, with a different look, a different mindset, a different personality, different set of skills but we don’t realize that we are unique in our own ways.  Allah has created us all differently with our own set of unique looks and abilities. So why live like someone else? Why live trying to please someone else? 

Allah says in the Quran: “He formed you and perfected your forms and provided you with good things. That is Allah. Your Lord. Then blessed is Allah, Lord of the worlds.” [40:64] Allah has created such perfect, different and beautiful human beings. When ego takes over, we tend to distort the way we look, we change our personalities, we judge others and this is because we think that we are unworthy in the site of others and we need to gain their acceptance. We constantly have this “what will others think of me?” kind of mindset if we don’t make these changes to ourselves. This distracts you from your purpose and the reason why Allah has put you on this earth. “Peel away layers of your ego to reveal your purpose”

Today I practice… healthy boundaries 

It’s not my responsibility to make sure others are responsible. It’s okay to say no. It’s okay if others get angry. No one has to agree with me. It’s my job to make me happy and figure out what brings joy to my life. It’s okay to spend time alone without explaining myself. I do not need permission to be who I am or to think what I think. Others have the right to disagree with me or get angry with me, but they do not have the right to disrespect me. I have the right to feel my feelings no matter what anyone else is feeling. I am enough. I choose me and I’ll keep choosing me! 

You have these rights too. So choose yourself, choose your peace, choose your happiness because you matter! You are enough!

Be brave enough to live the life of your dreams according to your vision and purpose, instead of the expectations and opinions of others.

“…LIKED YOUR POST”
“…COMMENTED ON YOUR POST”
“…MENTIONED YOU IN A COMMENT”
“…RETWEETED YOUR TWEET”
“…SHARED YOUR POST”
“…FOLLOWED YOU”
“♥️200”

We live in a society where the amount of likes, comments, followers and shares we have on a post defines our happiness and how we see ourselves. Someone who has 10 likes on a post will have a lower self esteem and is more likely to fall into depression than someone who gets over 200 likes. Most people only know how to communicate over a phone and not in person. Some teens tend to take their own lives because of not being “pretty enough” or not having enough followers to gain “recognition and popularity” on social media. This is the sad reality of Social Media.

I recently watched a documentary on Netflix called The Social Dilemma (I highly recommend you watch this). This documentary focuses on the impacts of social media on individuals as well as society and how it causes an addiction and damages ones mental health. A lot of the points that were brought up took me by surprise.
Have you ever wondered why one app shows the same thing you searched for in a different app? 
For example, you will search for cat food on Google and find that Amazon suggests places where you can buy cat food without searching for it in the Amazon app? This all has to do with artificial intelligence and how social media companies monitor the things you search for. Somewhere someone in some social media company knows every single thing you search for, everything you watch, who you stalk on Instagram. YES, its freaky, I know!

After watching this documentary, I decided to not use social media for 5 days. I mean, how bad could it be?…. (It got kinda bad:/ at first…)

It went from social media being the first thing that I check when I wake up and last thing that I check before I sleep to just laying in bed reflecting on my life and certain events that has happened. Thinking about these things could go one of two ways and often didn’t end up very well.
I usually watch youtube or browse Instragam or Twitter while eating. It was at this point where I thought that doing the whole “no social media for 5 days thing” was a really bad idea.
During times when I take a break from work and Islamic studies, I had to find things to distract myself and keep myself busy.
The one thing I found really difficult was not being able to go onto Twitter to see everyones views about the Presidents speech. I couldn’t even post about it. :/ ( bringing me back to thinking that this was a really bad idea.)

A whole lot of good did come out of it too. With all the extra time, I typed out this article,  started a new online course and tapped into a few of my favourite hobbies such as colouring and drawing. I am not going to lie and say it was easy, it really was not but it was worth it. Without social media, I was able to focus on the world around me and not the world out there. I even cleaned out my gallery (Like, who has time to do that?). Apart from the two breakdowns I’ve been through within the past 5 days, I feel a lot happier.

I got used to not going onto social media that it actually feels weird going onto these apps and liking posts, etc. I now realised how pointless social media can be if you’re not using it for valid reasons.

Apart from all the negative impacts of social media,I personally think that it can be a good tool to use as well… That is, if you use it the right way.
But don’t let social media ruin your happiness and your self esteem. You are an amazing individual and don’t let numbers under a post tell you that! A million likes will never be enough if you do not like yourself. Learn to post less and do more. Compare less and reflect more. Discuss less and accomplish more. Always remember that being famous on Instagram is basically the same as being rich in Monopoly. You do not have to post to prove it. Make sure that you’re happy in real life and not just for the internet!

Did you know that experiencing gratitude is scientifically proven to make you happier?

Humans tend to take for granted the things that make them happy. To live in a time where there is a pandemic that is wiping out part of the human race, a time where countries are suffering from a humanitarian crisis, a time where people are dying because of their skin colour, personally, I have realised that there is a lot to be grateful for. Even if you feel as if you are going through the most, expressing a feeling of gratitude might make you feel happier and more at ease.

Just yesterday I watched a show of this girl who was filmed for 20 years of her life. Even though her family was poor and lived in a really small house with no phones, no social media, etc, they were very happy and content with all that they had. We take for granted the things and the people that we have in our life. We only realise that something or someone meant so much to us once we don’t have it or they are not there anymore. Gratitude helps you see what is there instead of what is not. It tends to unlock the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. It makes sense of our past, brings peace for today and creates vision for tomorrow.

We have so much to be grateful for. We just don’t realise it. Once you start showing gratitude, you will fall in love with the life you already have.

I have a task for you:
Take a page or a book and for a week, write down everything that you are grateful for. Whether it is an object, a person or even a place. At the end of the week, I guarantee that you will feel happier and content with all the little things that you have.
[Feel free to contact me and tell me all about your experience.]

Let us all rise and be thankful for at least we learnt a lot, and if we didn’t learn lot, at least we learnt a little, and if we didn’t learn a little, at least we did not get sick, and if we got sick, at least we are still alive.

Appreciate life even if it is not perfect. Happiness is not fulfilment of what we wish for, but an appreciation of what we have. Life is short, do not let the things you want make you forget about the things that you already have.

A few days ago, I came across an article which read:

A blind boy sat on the steps of a building with a hat by his feet. He held up a sign which said “I am blind. Please help.” There were only a few coins in the hat. A man walked passed, took out a few coins from his pocket and dropped it into the hat. He took the sign, turned it around and wrote some words. He put the sign back so that everyone walking past could see the new words. Soon the hat began to fill up. A lot more people were giving money to the blind boy. That afternoon, the man who changed the sign stopped by to see how things were going. The boy recognised his footsteps and asked “Were you the person who changed my sign this morning? What did you write?” The man said ” I only wrote the truth. I said what you said, just in a different way. Today is a beautiful day and I cannot see it.”

The moral of this story is to always be grateful for what you have. Spend time with the people you love and care about. Send that message, make that phone call, watch that sunset, read that book , forgive anyone who has caused you pain because life is too short and we are uncertain of where we will be in the next second. Be creative. Be innovative. Always be positive.
If life gives you 100 reasons to cry, show life that you have 1000 reasons to smile. Face your past without regret, handle your present with confidence and prepare for the future without fear. Keep the faith, drop the fear and never have any doubts.

Most importantly, do good to others and make them smile. The most beautiful thing is to see a person smiling! And even more beautiful, is knowing that you are the reason behind it!

SMILE!!