Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Being an Only Child

People are moving on with their lives yet I am still at a standstill. Sometimes this makes me feel sad and other times it makes me dig a little deeper into my realm of existence. As people are busy with the external aspects of life, I am busy with my internal aspects of life. All this time has allowed me to figure out who I am not only as a Muslimah, but as a human being.

 I guess I can say that all this time alone has given me the opportunity to really understand and learn what it is like to live life as a Muslimah. I feel like if I started a family early on and lived that "family life" like everyone else, I would have been too caught up with my external surroundings and totally would have neglected my Self- wa Allahu 'Alim.

I think being an only child has really helped me connect with My Self. It has forced me to become very introspective and because I always had/have time alone, it has allowed me to get in touch with myself. It has allowed me to reflect and respond to my inner cries, my inner struggles, and my inner aspirations.

Growing up, I was always very social. I enjoyed interacting with others and I always thought going out with friends or going to family gatherings was something exciting. At that time, being alone was something boring to me and I would romanticize the idea of being busy running around from point A to B meeting X, Y, and Z. Just thinking about that in my head right now makes me feel exhausted!
In high school I always envied the busy bodies and I always wanted to have a very active social life. I couldn't because I lived too far away from my school and my parents were quite overprotective. So when I was more independent, I went all out and made myself into that socialite that I longed to become.

That life was so exhausting. People became exhausting to me and I began to embrace that low key life I once had in high school. How funny is it that when I had what I wanted, I didn't want it anymore?! I was all partied out and I preferred to just spend my time with one or two friends doing something that required very minimal effort. I didn't like big groups of people and even though I could socialize and people often mistook me for an extroverted social butterfly, I actually preferred to stay home and be away from annoying humans. I just recently found out that this is what we call "introverted."

When I first became Muslim, I somehow forgot that I was a natural introvert because all I wanted to do was meet new Muslims. I thought that going to social gatherings was something that I really enjoyed doing. It turns out, after a while, I retracted back into my introvert shell.

Since I have been back in Toronto, I have embraced that fact that I am an introvert. Loud people annoy me, big groups overwhelm me, and long hours of being out exhaust me. I prefer to be at home in my room and keeping to myself. I don't have to answer to anybody (except my parents lol) and I can do whatever I want, whenever I want and nobody can bother me (unless I allow them to). I am an introvert and I am proud to be one.

Being an introvert has many beautiful benefits and it is only these past (almost) two years that I have realized what a blessing it is to just enjoy your own company, without all the outside noise (well literally in my parent's place there is a lot of noise but I have learned to drown it out). When you can just sit and think about life and reflect upon yourself and your actions, it really allows one for self growth.

At first I thought that spending too much time by myself and being "idle" would make me more depressed because I would focus only on the negative aspects of my life.
For a long while, this is exactly what happened and I would drown myself in my own self misery. I would compare myself to other's lives and feel sorry for my own "boring", "lonely" life. Of course, I am not free from that still (lol) as I am a human being so weak by nature that it is only normal that I will retract into this from time to time, but Alhamdulillah, Allah has helped me along the way and allowed me to see the benefit in being alone.

I now realise that being an only child has really benefited me in more ways than I can imagine. It has allowed me to realise that I can turn loneliness into solitude. Solitude for me has become solace. It has allowed me to hold myself accountable for my actions. It has allowed me to reflect upon life. It has allowed me to embrace and enjoy my own company. It has made me realise that at the end of the day, I will return to Allah alone. Nobody will be in that grave with me and nobody will be standing beside me on the Day of Reckoning. It will just be me, myself, and I with my Lord.

Alhamdulillah, by the Mercy of Allah, I have found the advantages and full benefits of being an only child and they all work in my favour - Allahumma Barik. Of course there are sometimes disadvantages because I can easily detach myself from others and because I seem to put my needs before anyone else, I may come off as selfish or self-centered. But to be honest, I feel like we all need to treat ourselves sometimes like we are only children (even when we are not) because it is only then when we focus on ourselves and keep ourselves in check that we can live an effective life as a Muslim.

Don't get me wrong, though, I do wish sometimes that I had a big family and children of my own because as busy as that kind of life can get, it does have its rewards and benefits as well. But because this is what Allah has given me, and even though I saw it as a negative thing for a long while, I have come to embrace it and accept it thanks to Allah. Through the pain, the tears and the sadness that I experienced by myself, Allah allowed me to see the benefits of being in the current situation that I am in.

I always had low self- esteem and self confidence issues because I thought acceptance comes from other people and from my external environment. But as I spend more time alone, I realise that, as cliche as it sounds, acceptance comes from within. When you accept who you are, that is when you are able to make the necessary adjustments you need in order to be a better Muslimah. Often times we think that we have to become better for the people around us but when we do that, we will only end up in failure. When we know ourselves, then we can get to know Allah and once we know Allah we can be a better sister, daughter, mother, wife, and friend. We cannot know Allah before we get to know ourselves because if you think about it, it was only through me knowing myself that I was able to open myself up to knowing Allah and finding Islam and knowing it was the true religion; I knew my life was empty, I knew the parties and drinking were destroying me, and I knew that there was something more to life. It was because I knew these things about myself that brought me to Allah and Islam.

Sometimes we just need to connect with ourselves by ourselves for ourselves because at the end of the day, nobody will do that for us. Using the excuses I once used to use, " I don't have a strong Muslim community near me", "there are no good Muslims around me", " I live in a non Muslim country" are not sufficient enough. Do you see the way the prophets used to struggle when all there were were non Muslims around? They did not live in the luxury of many Muslims at the beginning of their journeys of spreading Islam! Our connection with Allah does not rely on the people around us because as I mentioned, on the day of Judgement, we will be alone before Allah and in the grave, we will also be alone. Who can we rely on then?

Every time I write these posts I want to remind you all that I DO struggle, I DO cry, I DO feel sad and I DO fall into despair.
Sometimes it may read as if I have everything all figured out and that I got it together. That is not the case at all. I struggle each and every single day. Even as I write this, my emaan is struggling. I do not want you to think that I am some strong Muslimah who has the best relationship with Allah.
The only reason I write is because it makes me feel better and it helps me organize my thoughts. I write because I want others to know that my situation has forced me to dig deeper within and to try to find coping methods so I don't wallow in self pity. It has forced me to look at the positive aspects of my life even though many times I feel like there are none.

I feel it is important that I express this because a lot of the times, when we read people's blogs or we are on social media, we think that the person behind the screen is someone who does not struggle or go through hardships. We think that they are some pious person who knows how to deal with life. Well, that is not me and I don't ever want anyone thinking that is how I deal with life. You do not see what goes on behind this screen and you do not know what kind of challenges I have to face. So whenever you read any of my posts, please take it at a surface level. If you can benefit from it or it makes you reflect upon your own life, then alhamdulillah- ultimately this is my goal.

I wish that everyone who reads my posts will always be honest with themselves and ask themselves the same questions that I have been forced to ask myself during these challenging times. Do not wait until it is too late and do not keep making excuses for yourself because at the end of the day, your life will pass you by before you know it and as soon as your busy life slows down, you might be hit all of a sudden with all these things you never thought deserved any attention. When that happens, it may break you and you may not know how to deal with your life. That has happened too many times to the people around me and because they neglected themselves for so long, they fall into severe depression. Do not let yourself get to that point. Always try to find time to reflect and be alone with yourself even if it is for 20 minutes a day. Hold yourself accountable and be responsible for your relationship with yourself and with Allah.


3 comments:

  1. thanks for sharing this story

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  2. may allaah grant you happiness in both worlds. Beautifully written, really.

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  3. JazakAllahu khairan for sharing your perspective as an only child and the advice you've given about being introspective. It's easy to try to distract ourselves with things from the dunya in an effort to escape from our true feelings, especially during jahiliyah. Islam has given me a consciousness that I never had before. The reminders you have given are so helpful, alhamdulillah. BarakAllahu feek.

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Assalamualaikum, please be mindful about what you are about to write. Think about it before writing and make sure it is something positive and beneficial, otherwise it will be deleted and ignored. JazakiAllah kheyr ! Sisters ONLY! xo