We all go through a lot in our lives, and each and every one of us has struggles that test and challenge us. Our perception of life in general, our own lives, and the lives of others plays a large role in forming our moods and in our attitudes towards life. It can be the difference between depression and happiness…something I can say because I’ve gone through it myself.
Years ago, doctors diagnosed me with clinical depression. I couldn’t understand it, because I thought I was just going through a rough patch in my life. Sure, it lead to some physical health problems, landing me in the hospital for a few hours and whatnot, but ultimately, I didn’t think it was much more than just me needing to calm down and face life differently. Without a doubt, this was a wake up call for me, and since then, I’ve strived towards living my life with a new outlook – one that was more inclusive of being at peace with my life’s conditions and circumstances.
I decided that I wanted to initially give myself the opportunity to overcome this depression through meditation, prayer, and learning to strengthen my mind and will power. So, I began taking small steps towards making changes in my life, such as bettering my habits when it came to prayer and worship, spending more time in meditative thought (reflecting on the beauty and blessings of Allah’s creation), keeping myself away from negativity in the form of thoughts and people, and trying to calm myself and remembering to rely on Allah through everything.
Taking these steps weren’t easy, but they changed my life, and not only did I overcome the depression without any medication, but since then, my life has become much easier to handle. There have been many additional challenges and tests since then, each one often more difficult and trying than the last, but because of this approach towards my perception and how I dealt with things, life has run quite smoothly for the most part.
Perception Of You
Throughout all the things I’ve faced in life, Alhamdulillah, I’ve realized that my first priority should be to take care of my own peace of mind. Only when I have my mind calm and intact will I be able to address the other aspects of my life with wisdom and ease. There are so many things we face in our lives, including criticism from others, things demoralizing us because they don’t go our way, and more. These are all tests, and we should recognize them as being such. Then, with an optimistic view, we should work towards learning from these experiences and find peace in knowing that they happened for a reason. For example, the criticism of others is often a reflection of you doing something that stands out from the norm. Filter your actions through your beliefs and values (in the case of my fellow Muslims, filter it through the Quran and Sunnah), and if they are sound, move forward trusting in yourself and Allah, and don’t pay any attention to the opinions of others, especially if those opinions don’t sit well with you.
Be confident in who you are, and although that is easier said than done for a person who struggles with confidence, you should still make an effort and recognize that you are a person of value. I personally believe that many of us could reach much higher levels of success and happiness if we were optimistic and just a bit more confident in who we are and what we are capable of accomplishing. Keep that in mind and try to embrace this as your reality. Then, as time progresses, try to catch yourself when you feel in doubt of anything related to you. You will eventually see everything become more and more clear, making your life more calm and peaceful.
Perception of Life
Let’s be honest. Time and time again, we get hit with things in life that we feel we aren’t deserving of, or that we feel we can’t handle. It’s a fact and is nothing to be ashamed of. However, it is also important for us to recognize that we need to maintain an optimistic outlook on all of these things that make up our lives.
“How amazing is the affair of the believer, for his affairs are all good, and this applies to no one but the believer. If something good happens to him, he is thankful for it and that is good for him. If something bad happens to him, he bears it with patience and that is good for him.” – Prophet Muhammad
With an optimistic look at life, you’ll see your struggles as opportunities, your tests as challenges, and consequentially, your life as a whole, being in favor of your betterment. How do you know that when you’re in that rush and you have to stop at an intersection because of a red light, you are not in fact being protected by something worse that could have happened had you not been stopped? How do you know that your divorce wasn’t something you had to go through (along with that marriage) because it was what you needed at that time in your life, and because it would make you better prepared and more grateful for your future? How do you know that the car accident you got into that lead to you having injuries that resulted in you having to leave your career was not a protection from Allah in readjusting your career path towards something that would be better for you? There are so many examples of different scenarios we face, all ranging in depth and weight, but if we look at all of them with optimism and faith, we’ll only have gratitude and peace to take away from it.
Perception of Others
Think back to when someone told you that your struggle wasn’t that of a big deal, or when others would make you feel as though you are overreacting over something they would handle “so easily”. Didn’t feel all that good, did it?
When looking at the conditions of others, don’t be so quick to judge, because the impact of every persons’ struggle is relative to their own capacity and abilities.
“Allah does not charge a soul except [with that within] its capacity. It will have [the consequence of] what [good] it has gained, and it will bear [the consequence of] what [evil] it has earned.” – Quran (2:286)
Every soul is different, every being is different, every struggle is different, and every situation is different. When you see someone struggling, or stressed about something, speak to them with kindness, remind them of the beauty of optimism and faith, and comfort them, even if their struggle is something you look at as being minor.
With this optimistic and positive approach to speaking to people and yourself, and in dealing with the things you face in life, you will find yourself at peace more often, and will see ease in dealing with things that you would have never thought possible in the past.
This is a HUGE topic and takes time to perfect, so if enough people in the Lower Mainland of British Columbia, Canada are interested, I’ll hold seminars on this topic in the near future. Let me know through posting a comment below. This is not only limited to Vancouver residents – if there are people or organizations anywhere in North America that would be interested in a seminar/workshop related to this or any other topic I’ve spoken on, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or by going through my contact page to arrange an event. And finally, anyone interested in having one-on-one workshops with me in getting out of a rut or in becoming a better you, can contact me through my contact page or the email address mentioned above. Thank you!