When reading the word “heart” in a title, it usually means that you’re going to be reading about something related to love and relationships. In this case, however, that is far from the case. In the last little while, I have struggled with my own happiness. I’ve been unsure of so much, and with having lived a lifetime feeling as though I am destined to fail due to the opinions of many around me and through my own “downfalls” in life, everything seemed to have piled up and beat me to the ground. Fortunately, I had my faith holding me above the water, as well as some family and friends that helped me stay afloat, but overall, in my relationship with myself, I have been insecure and severely lacking confidence.

It’s funny how ironic my situation had become, being a person who has lived most of his life helping people through comforting and advising, to be the same person who needs comfort, advice, and help. Ah, how things often work out. I have faced many difficult times, especially in the emotional and mental realm. Still, I personally look at it as a blessing, because it is only through having truly experienced the ups and downs of life that I’m able to help others in similar situations. Of course, there is plenty I have not or have yet to face, but I believe that for all of us, what we face is simply God’s gift to us. Not only does what we face build us in strength and character, but it acts as evidence to the fact that there is nothing God places in our path that we are incapable of overcoming.

“Allah does not charge a soul except [with that within] its capacity.” – Quran (2:286)

The struggles and successes are drawn out paths towards strength and success, a blessing from God. It’s just a matter of us believing in ourselves enough to pull through and push forward.

What I’ve faced throughout most of my life is being very different from the rest. How I’ve approached every aspect of my life has made me an outcast in most cases. From my childhood when I was more intrigued by contemplation and solitude than by sports and competition, to my youth when I wouldn’t indulge or even try things like drugs and alcohol as many of my former peers did, to my adulthood when I would approach a career and lifestyle in a way that was so far from the norm that only a small percentage of the world’s population pursues. These differences made it difficult for me to relate to anyone, thus reducing the number of people I was able to connect with and share a beneficial relationship with. Those who did stay around me often made me feel as though I was a failure or that I was living in a fantasy because of my approaches towards life. They used their pessimism and lack of patience and understanding to make me feel as though I was destined to be left behind while others my age became successful.

All of these had broken me time and time again, and this last time, I felt as though there were too many shattered pieces for me to stand a chance at rebuilding. I was so unsure of everything happening in my life that it was as though I had entered some form of paralysis. I didn’t know what to do, and if I gave my mind the opportunity to dig deeper into that hole of thought, I began to fall in, ultimately entering a freefall with no parachute to save me from a fatal impact. The fall was long, until I realized that since this is a matter of my mind, I was able to create a “parachute” and use it to land safely before beginning my ascension back up to stable ground.

This is when every thought in my mind was bridged together, and a solution was seen. I was missing the glue that connected it all together, and made me who I am. I realized that it is my mind that is perhaps my greatest asset – eternal gratitude and praise is due to Allah for it. I now understand and accept that the purpose of my being and my mind is not to be embraced or supported. I need to simply live, love, and dream. I have to do that with all that I am. God will handle the rest. He will bring those meant to be in my heart towards me, and will distance me from those who could harm me. All praise is due to Him.

Since recognizing this, I now find myself breaking out of the vicious cycle of unhappiness and negativity, and I can feel the weight of the world (that my mind had created or allowed to fester and grow) leaving me. I focus now solely on spreading happiness and seeking happiness through doing what pleases me, within the bounds of what pleases Allah, as He is the One from whom I have received the gift that is my life.