By Sayeda Habib
Life is uncertain. We don’t know what any day will bring, but one thing that human beings have a lot of is resilience. We CAN bounce back from anything– even a crisis situation. We know as Muslims, that challenges will come, and that Allah will only give us what we can handle.
We can often make sense of events such as death, disease, or a natural disaster. We know that these are acts of Allah .
And surely We shall try you with something of fear and hunger, and loss of wealth and lives and crops; but give glad tidings to the patient, Who says, when afflicted with calamity: “To Allah We belong, and to Him is our return”: They are those on whom (descend) Blessings from Allah, and Mercy, and they are the ones that receive guidance. (Al-Baqarah 2:155-157)
But what about things that sometimes don’t make sense? What if someone we care for hurts us, or disappoints us. Being let down can be one of the most difficult experiences of life.
Things such as infidelity, having a friend break your trust, gossip, or being let down in your expectations can be exceedingly painful. We aren’t usually taught skills to handle these situations, so if you feel overwhelmed or unequipped to deal with the pain, you are not alone.
We are all unique individuals and deal with things in our own way. However, the first few moments can be critical for us. So, here are a few tips on how to get through those initial challenging moments.
The first response to this type of situation is shock, then pain and anger. Responding in anger may cause you to say or do things you may later regret. Remove yourself from the situation and take a time out. Cool off then decide, is it worth it?
You may have lots of friends and family to talk to, but they may not have the skills to help you through. If you are feeling angry with someone close to you, sharing it with others may complicate matters in the future. Seek help from a friend or a professional who can be objective about the situation. You may be feeling vulnerable at this time and everyone may not provide you with the understanding or empathy you need which can lead you to feel misunderstood and even more hurt. Find someone who will listen, without wanting to fix things for you therefore allowing you to explore your own solutions.
Please do not expect yourself to get over this almost immediately. The body has its own speed of releasing emotions during a painful situation. Feel the waves of emotions that come up. Ask those around you to let you do this and just be supportive. Feeling things through is the quickest way of healing them. If you bury them, they are sure to come up later in the form of disease.
Your body may be in fight/flight for some time. A shock puts our body in this state automatically in order to deal with the threat it feels. This is the time to take vitamin C, and a good range of other vitamins. Fight/flight encourages us to eat sugar and high-carb meals. Aim to avoid those and go for well-cooked meals, with lots of vegetables thrown in.
Nurturing yourself in times of stress is essential. Do some exercise, and also find some time to relax. Take short breaks and do something different. It will help to shift your perspective
We live in an age of instant gratification. This also raises the expectations we have for ourselves. Don’t expect yourself to be “over it” in an instant. Your emotions will take time to release and your body will take time to heal. Give yourself the room to be and take one day at a time.
Take a few days and let your emotions settle, and then find a way to put the event behind you. Write all what remains to be said in a letter to the person concerned, and then tear it up. This process is cathartic and helps put the situation in the past. Make sure you intend to put it in the past. Do not read or save the letter; just let it go.
Difficult circumstances often present us with an opportunity for growth. Ask yourself “what’s the opportunity here?” Allow yourself to figure out how you can make the best of this challenging time. Use this experience to ask yourself how you might develop even more strength, patience and resilience in you.
We can all overcome any challenge, though we will need to be compassionate with ourselves through the process. These tips are meant to give you a starting point when you are dealing with tremendous pain and stress. My best wishes for the journey.
Abu Yahya Suhaib bin Sinan reported: The Messenger of Allah said, “How wonderful is the case of a believer; there is good for him in everything and this applies only to a believer. If prosperity attends him, he expresses gratitude to Allah and that is good for him; and if adversity befalls him, he endures it patiently and that is good for him” Sahih Muslim.
Sayeda Habib is a life coach who empowers Muslims to life a more fulfilling life. She is the author of “Discover the best in you: life coaching for Muslims.” To find out more log on to www.makelifehappen.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org