Little Victories 

Yesterday night was the last lesson for the term before exams and we had the choice to either turn up and prepare for a group presentation or do an individual assignment as a replacement. Earlier I told myself I’d come and when a friend said she didn’t want to because she said she hated presenting, stage fright and all that I managed to motivate to come. For the record I never liked speaking in front of a group and I’d avoid it at all costs. But deep down I knew I had to learn to face my fears and this was one aspect of myself that I wanted to improve on.

And so earlier today when I got to know through an email by our lecturer that the groups were gonna be randomly assigned, I shrinked. Not only would I have to deal with the presentation but the thought of working with other classmates with whom I might have never spoken to spells the word dread in caps in my mind. Shucks. Then I told my friend I suddenly felt like doing the individual assignment. I expected her response afterwards of course haha. What irony is this Syiidah. I can imagine her saying “You were the one who motivated me and now you’re chickening out”. And then she reminded me of our main intention which is to overcome our fear by purposely choosing and putting ourselves through such situations so we can learn. We won’t be perfect of course but that’s not the purpose. The purpose is to choose to be brave when we can sit comfortably by the sidelines. The purpose is to learn through the process and grow. I’ve none to impress but rather to do my best. And she also reminded me that once I’ve set on a decision, I should put my trust in Allah. Ahh I’m so grateful for her alhamdulillah.

Another thing is that this episode reminded me to keep reminding myself to always work towards the person I envision myself to be. I love watching and observing confident, poised and eloquent people and I kinda want to be like them too. In my own kind of way biidhnillah.

And so the night ended and I did present. I’m glad I did. There’s definitely more that I can work on but I take comfort in the fact that I chose growth and progress for myself today. I will get what I intend for insyaAllah one day but I gotta take steps towards it. I was reminded of the fact that a week ago I actually did a group presentation too at another place so if I could do it then I definitely can do this one. So don’t belittle yourself, ever. Don’t bother about others, you know yourself better and this is your own journey. Whatever little progress IS a progress. At the end of the day, the choice is ours. So may we keep on choosing courage, keep on choosing growth, keep on choosing progress.

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An October Weekend & Reminders 

Had a pretty packed weekend. And some reminders and reflections, may it be of benefit!

Empower yourself with knowledge. Seek knowledge and always be learning even if you may have to travel a little bit far. Renew your intentions. At the same time, remind yourself that it’s always adab first before knowledge. Keep a check on yourself and your heart. Istighfar always for our sins are so plenty we’ve no time to criticise or judge others.

Get a hold of yourself when you start to think ill of someone.
By the way, I’m not sure if you know about this peeling gel in the market. It gets rid of your dead skin cells, whiteheads etc. I recently used it and it’s so good. Your face would feel so so clean afterwards and I can’t help but think, if only it is this easy to cleanse our hearts eh 💔 Guess this is our jihad then. Our ongoing struggle and fight to continously cleanse our hearts and better our character.

People will disappoint you, time and time again. Plans will not go as planned. Don’t dwell on it. It may be that you dislike it but it’s good for you. Move on.

Nothing is quite as attractive as a passionate person. Someone may be average-looking to the majority but I personally find that if he or she speaks and exudes positivity and love through what he or she does and believe in, that’s truly beautiful. Through a mental health training I attended yesterday, I saw some really passionate, knowledgeable and sincere doctor, counsellors, caregivers. So much love/passion/enthusiasm, so much life. Inspiring alhamdulillah.

Wanted to attend a talk on manners by al-Maghrib but I only got to know about it on the event day so it was too late. The day after, a dear friend shared with me her notes! How did she know?? Allah knows. And Allah send these beautiful souls. Allah suprises us in beautiful ways, we just have to notice..

What you focus on, expands.

If you’re reading this, may Allah swt ease your affairs and may you have a blessed week ahead 🙂

You know how you look at some people and think to yourself this one just has it all together. You can’t help to think, she/he is so fine/so smart/so kind/so pretty/so fortunate/so mashaAllah and the list goes on, what could possibly go wrong in his/her life? She/he seems so well-off how could she be in a position of pain or to even talk about pain? For one, perception. What they show builds your perception. And what you don’t actually see? So much.

Second, you’re not the only going through some pain/struggle. Other people are too. Even ‘them’. Just because you don’t see it doesn’t mean it’s not there. So don’t feel bad about yourself. Or don’t feel bad about yourself for not being “brave” or “vulnerable” enough to share your pain/story on social media etc. What may be easy for some may be challenging for you. And vice versa. So don’t put yourself down by undermining yourself or whatever you’re going through. The pain you feel is VALID. Your struggles are VALID. Even if no one knows them. Coz you’ve got Allah. We’ve got Allah.

At the same time, learn to share with worthy others.
Remember, you don’t have to share with everyone to feel validated or to feel Heard. Some share with their best friends but for me I’ve no particular ‘best friend’ because I don’t believe in that term. I do have a couple of close/good/special friends I can trust insyaAllah. And may I always remember that. That I do matter. I am worthy of much love. And you are, too. 🌹💕

Don’t Wait to Be Grateful!

Such is the reminder pertinent to myself as of today.

I was reading an article about 3 habits that will change your life and I’m glad I’m already practising one of it now that is, journaling. 
The app that I’m currently using is the Gratitude Journal App and it has been a tremendous tool! The interface is such that when you type in words/sentences of things you’re grateful for, you then need to click a “Yes, I am grateful” button below to save it. I like it as it kinda reinforces the value of gratitude in users. 

I try to do it at least once every day, usually at night before I sleep. In a way, I try to sleep with a grateful heart. It is so much comforting really, than going to sleep with an empty or distressed heart or weeping eyes. Honestly though, some days are harder. Some days I’m just glad I got through work, some days I’m just glad nothing ‘bad’ happened. Some days I just feel so ‘meh’ – like there’s nothing to be grateful for. But know that there is. Even if you can just think of one, or even if you think it’s not significant. If it’s so bad, look at others below you in terms of their living conditions and quality of life. Even if you don’t feel that gratitude in your heart coz we all have our days, helps to just bear in mind and tell yourself that there are some things out there, bigger than myself that are truly good. 

This week I havn’t been updating my gratitude journal app daily as I reached most nights too tired, too late at night to write etc. 

So I found myself entering things into the app past 6pm today and the golden reminder for me is that, don’t wait till night time to set aside time to be grateful for all the day’s happenings. This is because I don’t always have the luxury of time or the energy to it. So when I do get some quiet time to myself, I need to make it a point to pen down the things I want to be grateful to Allah swt for. 
Being grateful doesn’t cause the struggles, worries, negative vibes to disappear into thin air. It is still there. It is up to me, which one I choose to focus on. Focus on your blessings, or your deficiencies? Plus, heard of a super-great bonus from the One who gifts us with all these blessings? Yes. He promised that when we are grateful, He gives us more.  And Allah swt gives in His often subtle ways 🙂 
May Allah swt make us ever-grateful, and in us doing so, we attain His Love.

It’s Never About Finishing 

One lesson that I got from the month of Ramadhan that had just passed is that it’s never about “finishing”. It’s good to have goals that you set to achieve in the month but know that it’s okay if you fall back and your goal is ‘delayed’ a day, two days, or several days short. You know yourself better than others so don’t compare your journey to theirs. What is key is striving for consistency. This is a hard lesson for me to learn because I’m someone who has high expectations of myself and one of my challenges is having consistency or istiqamah.

I’ve been striving to journal down my day reflections but lately, I fall short and I don’t do it but I try to keep to my Gratitude Journal app on my phone every day before I sleep. I’ve learnt not to beat myself up over not being studious enough to keep to certain habits that I’d like to have as I know there are other ways that can still work for me.

I’ve been watching the Faith Revival Ramadhan series by Sh. Omar Suleiman on YouTube and I only discovered it like 2 weeks after Ramadhan and I’ve yet to reach the 10th episode. And that’s fine, the idea is never about “finishing” the whole series by the end of Ramadhan as there’s no point if I do so but I don’t truly gain benefit from it. It’s better that I take it at my own pace, make it a point to really learn and practice what I learnt. The rest of the series will continue this Syawal and perhaps even beyond? Just like how we should sustain the spirit of Ramadhan, the essence of worship itself outside of Ramadhan. The spirit of learning and improving. 

Two of my favourite sisters in faith, Aida Azlin & Fadhilah Wahid, who started the Ramadhan Reminders podcast based on a book by Habib Umar al-Hafiz also had their own challenges. Even though they initially mentioned posting a new podcast daily at night, their busy schedules and family commitments had them to change to every alternate day instead and from what I’ve read recently, they are planning to continue on these podcasts for the rest of the year until they finish the whole book! MasyaAllah. May He make it easy for them. 

I think the essence of all these is that while we strive toward improvement and our plans, we need to realize that perfection is not a goal. We will never be perfect. Some days easier, some days harder. Other days you feel like zero. But the point of aim is your end in mind. Who are you doing all this for? To please who? For whose benefit? Don’t give up, keep on trying. Keep on striving. Life is not a race of who’s faster. It’s never about “finishing”. Get on at your own pace and have faith.