Have you ever had a moment when you thought, “I could be like so and so if…..” or had an opportunity that you completely avoided, not because it was haram (prohibited), but because of an emotional scar or fear attached to it?  What are the things that hold us back from achieving our fullest and highest potential? What stops us?

Over time, our interactions with other people and in different situations, have taught us about ourselves. Unfortunately, in some situations our interactions with people and through different experiences also leave us with marks or scars as it were.  For example a person who grows up around individuals who reinforce beliefs about the way they look or sound; that they are fat or skinny; that no one could/will ever love them; that they are smart or not. For others, experiences we had in which our actions may have affected others (intentionally and unintentionally); an accident or trauma; loss of something or someone valued to us; violations of our space or property, also influence how we interact with people and the world around us.

Some people are able to experience an incident, as difficult as it may be, and be able to move on with their lives after much effort. But for many of us, these interactions go on to shape, influence and affect our future life.  In fact for many, it restricts what we do- whether we try different experiences, people we choose to associate with, what we believe about ourselves and our self image. In many of our relationships and most importantly our relationship with Allah, we are not able to move on and live up to our potential because of irrational fears, guilt and perceptions because these experiences have left us with emotional scars and baggage.

It is here that the lesson of tawakul or dependence on God and our emaan or belief becomes quite important. We know that Allah SWT is the Most Perfect Creator, His wisdom cannot be easily comprehended, but in the big picture, we should remember that God’s love for us is even greater than that of a mother to her newborn child.

How does it help? Well, we should remember that:

1)      Allah is most Perfect, He created us and we are a part of His perfect creation and plan.

2)      He will not give us a burden greater than we can bear. The experiences we face in life are meant to help us become better than we are, to live and rise to our true potential.

When we allow others to dictate how we feel or what we know about ourselves, especially when it is negative, we are allowing that person (or incident) to come between ourselves and our relationship with Allah. For example, if someone thinks that they are ugly, they need to stop and ask themselves why? If Allah SWT is the Most Beautiful and loves beauty, His Creation is beautiful as well. That person needs to remember that they are a part of His Creation and not allow the negative feelings affect how they feel about themselves. What about people who fear change? Why do we always want everything to be the same? Often times we don’t realize that Allah is the One in Control and that He is with us. If we place our trust in Him and try our best, then we would remember that whatever else comes, is coming from Allah to help us learn something new and better about ourselves.

A believer is someone who is thankful when good comes to them and patient when difficulties arise. We should never allow negativity, guilt, anger, bad experiences to dictate the way we live our lives because inevitably this will hold us back from achieving our true potential.

This Ramadan, as the Shayateen are chained, listen to your thoughts. What are the negative whisperings you believe about you or that hold you back from becoming better? Make this month a time to challenge those perceptions, work on yourself and give yourself the chance to shine and be all that Allah wants you to be.