Self Love Sunday, Series, Uncategorized

Self Love Sunday

Today, we’re going to talk about the fantasy self.

What’s a fantasy self, Nahlah?

I’m glad you asked! A fantasy self as I’ve come to understand it (aka can’t be bothered to Google it) is a version of ourselves that we create based off of who we think or who others think we should be. This can look like you wanting to be a doctor because your parents want you to. It can also look like you trying to get into painting because you like the idea of yourself as an artist. It could also be that you force yourself to be the life of the party because that’s what your friends expect of you.

What is the reality behind all of this? You don’t really want to be a doctor, you want to go into cosmetology. You get so bored with painting and would rather spend that time playing ball. You’re not the life of the party at all, but a homebody who’s idea of a real good time is spoken word poetry night. These are just a few examples, but this idea of the fantasy self can apply to literally everything down to the clothes in your closet. You know you aren’t going to wear that jumper because it’s not you, but someone complimented it once and you see yourself being the type to wear it.

The problem with the fantasy self is that we waste time stressing out and trying to be someone that we’re not. Instead, we can own up to who we really are, what we really like, what we really want to do and be so much more fulfilled; not to mention successful.

So, how do you even distinguish between your fantasy self and the authentic you?

There is no magic process. I did it by sitting myself down with a notebook and writing out basic questions to answer. I won’t say to put the first answer that comes to mind because a lot of times, we’ve conditioned ourselves to give the replies our fantasy selves would give instead of what we really want to say. I like to start with simple questions. It’s kind of cringey, but I will ask myself what my favourite colour is, what kind of movies I like, what my favourite food is, etc. It’s like playing 20 questions with yourself, you’ll feel like you’re on a first date. Starting out with the basics helps you get into the habit of being honest with yourself because there’s not much to lose. It’s a lot easier to admit that your favourite colour has been yellow all along and not blue, as opposed to you realizing that you want to style hair 5 years into attending medical school. This sounds silly but trust me, it gets you where you need to go.

You have to come to a place where 1) you own up to who you are and 2) you’re in tune with your feelings. I used to have this thing where I wanted to be a really artistic intellectual person through the types of movies I watched and the books I read. So I would force myself to watch independent films and I would buy all these classic books to read. The reality was that I was so bored trying to get into independent films and I never picked up those classic books. At my core, I was fighting against that version of myself and it was obvious if I paid attention to the feeling in the pit of my stomach (best described as bored nausea).

Where did this side of myself come from? It came from growing up as a creative child. I was always making stuff and writing things and painting. My parents ran with it and I was always described as artistic and was close friends with many artists in school. Am I still an artist? Yes, but in a different way. And you don’t have to be into obscure films or literature to be an artist. I like cartoons, okay? Let me live.  

It’s time to confront this fantasy version of ourselves. If we can fully realize who we really are, we will be a lot happier Insha’Allah. We won’t be wasting any more time and energy trying to run in the wrong direction. This is also a topic that has become a pretty popular discussion within the YouTube community, so if you want to know more you can find plenty of videos on the topic over there!

I wish you the best!

Standard
Self Love Sunday, Series, Uncategorized

Self Love Sunday

Assalaamu alaikum, lovelies!

Today is the second instalment of the Self Love Sunday series and I want to talk about an attitude adjustment. This is something that I believe most of us have struggled with at one point in our lives and apart from being told to get over it, there aren’t many helpful resources on how to get to the root of the issue. I’ve struggled with this myself and it’s been really frustrating trying to figure it out but I think I’m getting there. So, I’ve put together a little list below of what I’ve learned so far. This is a crucial step to self love. When we can come from a positive, easy-going, selfless mentality we make life easier for ourselves and those around us. Our relationships can succeed, our projects can flourish, and our impact can be lasting. Check it out and let me know what you think!

1) Say no to your insecurities

Insecurities lead to overthinking and sensitivity, which can cause to distrust and push others away. They make you can “energy vampire” and a burden to be around. Will cause you to react to the stories you create in your head and will cause confusion amongst everyone around you as well as put you on the path to relationship destruction. Ways to overcome your insecurities are: remember that people are not out to get you; learn that you teach people how to treat you; focus on yourself and what you’re doing rather than being nosy about others and focusing everyone else; put time into developing your accomplishments and life experiences to build confidence.

2) Control your emotions

Catering to emotions can lead to taking things personally and becoming defensive. In order to defend yourself and fight back, the attitude comes in for the kill. While your so-called “enemy” (really just a friend in the mood for a laugh) teased you good naturedly, you responded with a hurtful comment thereby taking the fun out of the moment and putting a chip in the relationship. How to even begin to reign in the wild wave of emotions? Practice patience and do not react right away. Remember that these are simply words and they can’t harm you, so there is no need to defend yourself. Don’t take anything personally. If you have to fake it till you make it, go ahead. Remember that it is not you vs. the world (or your friends/family/spouse) but a moment; whether this moment ends up being good or bad is up to you. Look into the stoic philosophy. It’s a fairly simple one that can be summed up by embracing a certain level of apathy, detaching from one’s emotions, and preparing for the worst while also taking nothing personally.

3) Be grateful

Every morning, write a list of what you’re grateful for about a person or situation that has been pushing your buttons. Choose to see the bright side in every situation (don’t ignore reality but don’t wallow in it either). This will also help you realign your priorities and get out of the self-centred mentality. When something doesn’t go your way, be grateful for something else instead!

4) Stick to your mindfulness practice

Praying five times a day, zikr, meditation, journaling, working out without music/entertainment, etc. Do these things every day, no excuses. Try to make this routine the first thing you do when you wake up so you get off to a good start. Become intentional about every word you say and every action you take. Learn to withhold reaction and separate yourself from the situation. Practice thinking before you speak. As the saying goes, “Be quick to hear, and slow to speak.” Saves you every time.

5) Embrace new challenges (and old) and find ways to make a positive impact

Taking on challenges builds character and doing good for others realigns perspective and priorities. Activities like these teach valuable lessons on selflessness, teamwork, perseverance, patience, positivity, generosity, compassion, and kindness. It also gives you meaning outside of yourself which will help put you in the right mindset to move forward and be the best version of yourself.

You can have a bad attitude and not even know it. It may only come out around a certain person or rare situation. Having a growth mentality will not help us avoid that person/situation but will allow us to recognize them as a challenge that brings out a toxic trait within ourselves that needs to be addressed. My husband brings out a lot of good in me but he also pushes just the right buttons to bring out my bad attitude some days. Before meeting him, I didn’t get a lot of opportunities to overcome this bad habit in myself because the opportunity for it rarely show up. When it did make an appearance, I just chalked it up to a bad day. I lived on my own, I was single, and nothing too serious was going on in my life that caused me so much stress that it spilled out into my relationships, alhamdulillah. But relationships with other people are essential for self-development. When you’re close with people, they show you all sides of yourself (not just the good parts). After meeting my husband, it became apparent that I had been spoiled a little bit in life and needed to work on how to respond to frustration and someone challenging me in a perfectly normal way. I had to figure out how to deal with stress when someone else is involved.

It’s been a long road and I can honestly say that I wasn’t the best version of myself. But that’s okay because we all have those moments in life. What matters is that we keep pushing forward, always with a growth mentality. What I’m grateful for is that I have Islam to show me the way, I have an amazing husband who keeps it real, and I have a lot of really cool opportunities to put into practice what I’ve learned. Subhan’Allah.

Standard
Self Love Sunday, Series, Uncategorized

Self Love Sunday

Assalaamu alaikum, everyone and welcome back to another Honest Hijabi moment! Today I want to talk about self-improvement/self-love and how to begin. I put improvement and love together because I don’t think we can have one without the other. I don’t believe that self-love is solely accepting ourselves as we are and not pushing ourselves to be and do better. Showing love to our minds, bodies, and souls takes work and sometimes that work is not easy. So to begin, the steps below talk about the mental work we need to do. For a long time I didn’t realise how powerful having control over my mind would be. Oh how I wish I could go back to 14 year old me and drill that into my big stubborn head. But I’m learning it now and let me tell you that it comes with so much freedom that you never realised you could have. So without further ado, let’s get started!

Step 1: Set up a solid base to work from.

We all know the saying that goes “Without a solid foundation, a structure cannot last.” Or something like that. Same thing goes for us. If we try to glow up only through shallow methods while ignoring the deeper changes that need to take place, our transformation will be temporary. A shallow glow up would be buying new makeup, changing up your hairstyle, and buying new clothes. Fun? Yes. Trans-formative? Absolutely. Impactful and long lasting? Not so much. So for a glow up that never stops glowing, we start with mental and physical health. This involves strengthening our deen, meditation, practising mental self-discipline, therapy, getting your levels checked, getting adequate sleep, eating healthy, getting physical, etc. This can also go deeper into letting go of relationships, things, and habits that bring you down. From this we can create a much smoother canvas to start painting ourselves onto.

Step 2: Build your character.

This one should be simple but some of us, like myself, didn’t have the best role models in this area growing up so we have to learn on our own. Character basically encompasses your moral values and personality. Having good character can look like being kind, keeping promises, acting with compassion and empathy, being generous, following through, being honest, being loyal, etc etc. These are really good traits to build up in ourselves but come with a lot of practice. These will carry you forward in life and bring you across all kinds of people and situations that will allow you to grow your personality as well. When we have these traits in place, we can build our personality around it to be whoever we want to be. We will also make friends easily and gather up beautiful life experiences that add more to us.

Step 3: Get to know yourself and stop over adapting.

One thing with growing up shy is that you tend to form a habit of adapting to those around you in order to blend in and survive in social situations. Couple this with my parents’ lack of social skills and a smooth social life and I entered my 20’s so bored of myself. Of course I had a personality but I was always so concerned with stepping on people’s toes or messing up that I suppressed a lot of it. I only gave answers that I thought people wanted to hear and therefore, no one ever really got too close to the real me. It’s hard to make friends that way and only makes you feel bad about yourself. So, stop it. Stop adapting so much to the people around you that you disappear completely. You are beautiful as you and you have every right to be yourself and have opinions as they do. You’ve worked on your character so if you act and speak through that, you have nothing to apologise for if someone chooses not to like you anyway.

Also, start journaling so that you can become familiar with your inner thoughts and feelings. This is also a great way to ramble and get all of the word vomit out of your system (just in case you struggle with that like I do). You can also conduct mini interviews with yourself where you write down lists of simple, easy to answer questions about you and answer them as truthfully as you can. This really helped me figure out what I liked and what I’m like so that I can stop being a doormat who just says “I like everything” whenever someone asks my opinion.

Step 4: Detach from other’s expectations and criticisms of you.

Something I wish I had known a long time ago is that you cannot become attached to what other people think of you. You shouldn’t become attached to the people themselves either. Just think of this: if you didn’t care what other people thought of you, what would you go out and do with your life right now? Go write that question down and then answer it in writing and reflect on it. What would you do without all of the unnecessary attachments to unnecessary people and their opinions? If that person is not close to you and they’re not someone that supports and encourages you, then what their brain comes up with about you doesn’t matter.

I used to want everyone to like me so bad so I would end up so attached to how they perceived me. I wouldn’t even really care for these people myself but for some reason I still wanted to be a certain way so they would like me. I would still sacrifice my precious time to go bore myself hanging out with them just to get some kind of invisible reward. This isn’t to be mean or dismissive of anyone. This isn’t about being petty and snobby and nasty to people. This is about learning to set boundaries so that you can live your best life. If there are people that are freely putting you down or expecting a lot out of you without giving much in return, then they are not the people for you. Why are you so worried about what they think of you? What do you think of that person? Do you like them? Are they fun to be around? Are they worth your time? You are not at everyone else’s mercy when it comes to your own well-being and social life. These are things that you build up for yourself and it’s time to be more discerning about who we let onto the building site.

Step 5: Don’t take yourself too seriously.

This is so important because taking oneself too seriously can undo so much work and make things stressful and weird with those around you. While it’s important to set boundaries and make necessary changes, remember to have fun with it and maintain a good attitude throughout the process. When you need alone time, don’t just shut your loved ones out. Let them know it’s all good, you just need some time to yourself. If someone jokes with you about what you’re doing, don’t immediately take it to heart in a negative way. Usually they mean well and as long as they’re respecting your new boundaries, it can be fun to laugh about it and bond over it. People gravitate towards chill, easygoing people and the more you can laugh at yourself and have fun with life, the more you’ll be that person. So those are my 5 quick steps to starting self love.

Standard