Ever had that feeling, like the weight of the entire world is on your shoulders, for every individual decision and task in front of you?
It’s overwhelming, frustrating, and often easier to just push aside. I know, because I feel it almost every day. With working on building my career and dreams, trying to stay on the ball with my deen, maintaining a healthy lifestyle of working out and eating right, fulfilling my commitments and responsibilities towards my family, fighting my own personal struggles, and still trying to find a little time to myself, overwhelming is a part of my default condition. But, to that, I still say Alhamdulillah, because there are so many people in the world that have it worse than I do, and whatever struggles I face are ones that Allah has guaranteed to be a method of purification and expiation of sins.
Narrated Abu Sa’id Al-Khudri and Abu Huraira: The Prophet said, “No fatigue, nor disease, nor sorrow, nor sadness, nor hurt, nor distress befalls a Muslim, even if it were the prick he receives from a thorn, but that Allah expiates some of his sins for that.”
That’s an amazing blessing and definitely eases the heart! Alhamdulillah! But, it doesn’t solve the matter of being overwhelmed. Often, fear of failure, or the possible resulting stress from tackling our issues, holds us back from moving forward. I’ve personally found that these fears then lead many to push aside dealing with something that’s on their minds, in hopes that it will pass on its own, or that it’ll fade in its importance to a person over time. Of all the times I have seen people do this, not once have I seen things pass or fade over time. Instead, the opposite happens and emotions, thoughts, and that weight I mentioned earlier, start to push down on a person’s mind and heart. Eventually, it becomes too much, and the weight becomes even more overwhelming than before. Obviously, that’s the opposite of what we want to see. We want to overcome our struggles. We want to control and remove our feelings of being overwhelmed.
The best solution I’ve found to overcoming this feeling is:
- Step away from everything for a moment and clear your mind
- Pray Salatul-Isthikhaarah
- Figure out the pros and cons of the decision you are facing (do this for each matter individually)
- Do your research about the matter – whether you’re deciding on a school to go to, on a career to pursue, on a person to marry, on what you should cook for the family dinner, etc. – whatever it is, do your research and ask around if needed (getting a second opinion or some advice isn’t a bad idea either)
- Clear your mind again, and make dua asking Allah to guide you
- Ask your heart what it’s more inclined to, and make a decision towards that
It sounds simple. That’s because it is. When facing something that’s overwhelming, the best thing to do is to break it down to its basic components. This way, you get a fresh start and an opportunity to really think things through clearly, without all the muddy waters of the experiences you’ve faced as you came to your overwhelming position.
Making dua is something that I want to really put emphasis on because it truly is the core of our success. Remembering Allah in our daily lives, seeking repentance, and having complete and clear certainty, optimism, and clarity in Allah answering your dua are all keys to finding success and reducing the stress we so often become overwhelmed with.
To feel overwhelmed is normal and happens more often than we’d like. It’s inevitable. But, with matters like this, that are inevitable, I believe it’s important to find a strength and balance through achieving control in our situations. Control often implies a restriction in something, but in this case, it means to be at peace with your life, to work your hardest towards your goals, and to, all the while, be content with Allah’s plans for you.
Remember, anything is possible. All that’s needed is faith, dedication, commitment, hard work, and patience.