Hindsight, Insecure Thinking and Tawakal: a message of hope on the road to feeling fabulous
Feelings of insecurity can come from many sources, both real and imaginary. You may feel unsure about whether other people really like you or whether you’ll get to keep your job. Or you may just be generally insecure. Whether the basis of your insecurity is real or not, the feeling can be crippling unless you know how to handle it. The general life insecurities result in chronic worry and stress which has negative impact on our physical, mental and relational well-being. Mainstream Psychology talks about addressing this insecure thinking with Optimism – mindfully choosing to see the best possible outcome and seeing yourself handling whatever issues arise the best way possible at the time.
Fine you may say – some people are just more optimistic by nature. But actually optimism is NOT a personality trait it is a modifiable and learnable STATE of being. What this means is that seeing things in as positive way as possible, not stressing on the outcome are all based on our thoughts and thus are in our control.
Secular Psychology with its emphasis on individual self-change suggests handling insecure situations like job interviews, with a mental strategy of ignoring the negative self-talk, find external reasons for past failures (ie. the last interview did not go well because I did not get enough sleep, as opposed to me being inherently unimpressive). Taking a vacation from self-blame can be the key to giving yourself the latitude to succeed, even at difficult tasks. By building your optimism, you can tackle feelings of insecurity through “proactive behaviors” that nip them in the bud.
Since becoming Muslim, I have come to see the limitations of the individual locus of control paradigm central to Secular Psychology. Yes our feelings are based on our thoughts in the moment and yes we can control our thoughts. So the key then is what we are thinking, the conclusions we are making to how we can feel secure and at peace no matter the uncertain situation we may find ourselves.
I have realised these past years from leaving my toxic marriage and returning to Australia with only a suitcase of useless Desi clothes to no home or belongings. That I stood facing a completely uncertain future with nothing but a light trust in Allah. I vaguely believed that all would be ok in the end, but I falsely believed that my future was from my efforts. So hundreds of job applications and dozens of job interviews but no job and no financial security in sight, chasing my tail like that proverbial mouse on a wheel; mentally stressed and physically sick. I felt incredibly insecure because I was acting like I was the one who controlled the outcome, and that the lack of result was then concluded to be a deficiency in me which naturally compounded the stress.
So what has Trust in Allah got to do with changing our insecure thinking?
Hindsight is a wonderful thing – I look back at last year with no home, unemployed, no income, going through divorce; when I was going through it I felt scared, hopeless and helpless. I kept trying, knocking on the door of opportunity, putting myself out there and chasing certainty and stability.
I put all the burden of outcome on my tiny shoulders and judged myself lacking when I could not deliver or when self-recrimination became too much would shake my fist at the unjust world that did not help me.
Hindsight is beautiful, because today writing this I can see that Allah has always put me where I needed to be, that He has always provided and that the outcome has always been from Him. I have never been without food, I have never been without shelter, and have never been without clothes on my back. Indeed, there have been many times that I have been down to $1 with no idea of where or when the next will come. And I still have moments where I will start to worry if I will have enough to pay the rent and buy food because an extra bill came my way.
But the key difference to how I am now when these worries come up is that I can look back at the trials and SEE that Allah got me through them. He never abandoned me. Once I let go of believing I had any control over the outcome and what that result would look like, then I was able to sit back and enjoy the scenery while going on the journey Allah has mapped out for me.
Allah is the ultimate travel guide, who knows better than ourselves the best sights and experiences for our growth. For sure, we need to pack our own suitcase and carry it for the journey, seeking Allah’s guidance about what we need to bring for our ease, comfort and enjoyment.
Yes, we need to take care of our physical, mental and emotional health so we can be as fit as possible for the Allah defined journey.
But what we do not need to concern ourselves with is where we are going or how we are getting there. We also do not have to worry about who will be joining us on the journey; just about how we treat them.
The point of hope
Having hope in Allah (swt) is the core of optimistic thinking and brings with it a deeper and firmer ground than simply being optimistic in oneself and one’s abilities.The beauty of feeling deep within that no matter what kind of a ‘hot mess’ you may be in; that Allah has you covered and Allah’s solution is awaiting you a bit further down the road; all you have to do is walk in hope.
When I had my hindsight and epiphany, I did not actually have to DO anything to feel different, I did not actually have to perform some act of thought gymnastics.It is not about never having an insecure thought again, but rather when it arises seeing that it is coming from shifting the outcome back onto myself and reminding myself that just like before Allah will provide and better than any way my little mind could imagine.
I would love to help you grab hold of your hope in Allah, embrace self-love, combat anger, find forgiveness and reclaim your passions. Join me and 10 other sisters in my 6 week program aimed at supporting you as you implement the 5 key mindset shifts needed to feel fabulous no matter what is going on in your life.
Book your place here: http://manifestingmuslimah.ontrapages.com/fab40+6weeks