by Hafsa Tanveer (in collaboration with Team AYEINA)
Ibn Qayyim said: ” Be certain when you break no one will heal you except you. And when you are defeated no one will give you victory except your determination. Your ability to stand up again and carry on is your responsibility.”
I have always loved people, cared so much and worried too much. I know many of you can relate with this powerful yet hopeless feeling. This “love” gave me strength at times, made me joyful and even encouraged me to do the best of the best. But I will also include the intense heartbreaks I have felt. I do not blame the people for this behavior but rather myself for always placing my most precious flesh into the wrong places. It belonged to Allah. And love of Allah doesn’t come until you love yourself enough to earn the pleasure of your Lord instead of people.
Steps towards Self Love
During an intense emotional episode of my life, I was introduced with this sentence “Love yourself”, which to me felt completely absurd. I made an appointment to meet myself and I will lead you to a journey of about 15 minutes, where I will explain the appointment you need to make with yourself too:
Yes, I know our hearts have been used several times, crushed in the most heartless ways but you know what? Our behavior should only increase in love and positivity, not because we will appear to be beautiful to others but because Allah swt sees it all. Because only He will know how much we have been through and we are still keeping our heads up and spreading goodness. This is not easy but it is also not impossible. You have the ability to control your whims or let your heart become its slave.
Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said: “Look at those who are beneath you and do not look at those who are above you, for it is more suitable that you should not consider as less the blessing of Allah.” [Ibn Majah]
2) Pray and stick to the sunnah
Pray, pray, and pray with your heart pouring out with love and affection for Allah swt. You can’t love yourself if you don’t love Allah. If the foundation is frail, the building will collapse and destroy everything which surrounds it. We need to strengthen our connection with our Creator and then leave everything in our duas. Our mind needs to know that we need Allah all the time, either that’s happiness, trauma, misery, mystery, whatever it is, we need Him. The sujood feels like the best place in this world for a broken heart.
“And seek help through patience and prayer, and indeed, it is difficult except for the humbly submissive ” [Qur’an – 2:45]
In order to bloom in the most beautiful colors, you will need to polish your brain, a lot! Reading provides the insight into many different worlds which we never knew existed. It helps our brain grow and learn before committing mistakes, it teaches us lessons and hence increases us in knowledge.
Abu Bakr (RA) said: “The more knowledge you have, the greater will be your fear of Allah.”
4) Stand up for what’s right and safeguard your heart
You don’t always need to say, “yes” to be polite. You don’t need to trim your limits for different people. You cannot put ethics and morals on the side for someone. You simply can’t let your most precious gift be used by someone else! Your heart is a gift by Allah and this is your responsibility to keep it safe from every harm, from every evil. Every piece of you is not yours it should be returned to Him in the best ways.
‘Aishah said: “I did not know until Zainab burst in on me without permission and she was angry. Then she said: ‘O Messenger of Allah, is it enough for you that the young daughter of Abu Bakr waves her hands in front of you?’ Then she turned to me, but I ignored her until the Prophet said: ‘You should say something to defend yourself.’ So I turned on her, (and replied to her) until I saw that her mouth had become dry, and she did not say anything back to me. And I saw the Prophet with his face shining.” [Ibn Majah]
Get a manicure and pedicure appointment, join a gym, do swimming, or go horse riding. Spend time with your family and laugh with them till your belly hurts. Indulge in arts and crafts. There are many things you can do to make yourself happy and feel loved.
6) Forgive yourself and stop self-harming
You skipped two meals because someone just crushed your heart. You did not read the Quran because your mind was too distracted. You have cuts on your arms which you hide it with those long sleeves but you still laugh in front of others, just to hide and disregard your pain. But why? This will only consume you more, suck up all your energy, and leave you feeling worthless. You need to take your problems seriously and deal with them maturely and not ignore them, because my dear reader, you are YOUR superhero! You need to be one! You need to save your life and not encourage pain to grow on you!
“…and do not throw with your hands into destruction . And do good; indeed, Allah loves the doers of good…” [Qur’an – 2:195]
Yes, you are! Know that Allah al-Wudood loves you and He is always there for you! Remember you are here for a reason and you need to fulfill that obligation and return to Him.
“We have certainly created man in the best of stature.” [Qur’an – 95:4]
8) Avoid peace-breakers and negative energy
You can’t be fully happy if you allow negative people to eat away your life. You can’t say I am loving myself if you are in a toxic or abusive relationship. You need to let go of people who take your peace away from you. I am not encouraging to cut ties but to create safe space and proper boundaries. You have to implement distance and accept that sometimes holding on does worse that letting go.
The Prophet (ﷺ) said: “A man follows the religion of his friend; so each one should consider whom he makes his friend.” [Abu Dawud]
If you are loving yourself for Allah’s sake then this part should be extremely easy! Give out love. Be that light in absolute darkness and instill hope in every heart. Protect and love everyone and promise Allah swt to never do anything to anyone which have hurt you in the past.
Prophet(s.a.w) said: “None of you believes until he loves for his brother what he loves for himself.” [Tirmidhi]
10) Remember the Aakhirah
The more you remind yourself of the final abode the less this world will worry you. Every heartbreak will automatically become something you would discuss in your dua. In every hardship, your prayer and patience will become your strength. The actual life starts after we enter our graves – this dunya is merely a distraction.
“…And they rejoice in the worldly life, while the worldly life is not, compared to the Hereafter, except enjoyment.” [Qur’an – 13:26]
Ask your soul, mind, and heart if it is happy, stable, and in a peaceful state? May Allah swt bless us with the ability to love ourselves and enjoin the good and forbid evil. Ameen.
Author’s Bio: Hafsa is an American Pakistani – Alhamdulilah a Hafiza and a full-time university student majoring in Psychology. She loves helping the community by teaching poor kids for free.