I used to feel weak and powerless, and sometimes I still do. Scrolling on social media and watching my friends and others live their best lives did not help at all! I would hear from my mother that ‘so and so’ were getting married and I would feel lonely. Sometimes I would come home from a particularly long day, say Salaam to my family with a smile on my face, and just go upstairs to bawl my eyes out. Not over anything really, but it was just this feeling. Then I would feel bad and think of all the other people who have it worse than me (Pro tip: don’t do that) and end up feeling worse about myself.
Sometimes I still feel this way. I have, however, changed my outlook on life and how I deal with feeling weak and powerless. Do you want to stop thinking:
“How can their lives be so perfect”, “ Why them and not me?” and “How are they so confident”
Then STOP doing that! I did too! It is a choice to think that way. Because, as I got older, I realised that life and everything else is about perspective. This was a process. You won’t feel better after one day, and you might not even feel better in a month. If there is one thing I strongly advise against when it comes to mental health, it would be toxic positivity.
But as a Muslim, I believe Allah gave us free will and we can not always choose how we feel, but we can choose what we do about it. So if you ever felt or feel weak and powerless and asked yourself: “How can I stop feeling weak and powerless?” I hope that these next few tips will help you.
5 Steps to work on your weaknesses
1. Find out who you are as a person
Let’s start with something tangible. We’ve established that you feel a certain way, now we need to find the root of this feeling. Have you ever wanted to grab one shirt out of your closet, and ended up with all your clothes on the ground? We are going to do the same for you. I will not lie to sister, this process hurts because you find out who you are. Not just the good stuff but also the real bad stuff.
I want you to take a journal, a piece of paper, the notes app or your Ipad and I want you to write down who you are. This is a big question so we are going to split it into topics:
- Do I belong to a group? (ex. religion, education level, basically any group you identify with. A big group for me was the ‘hijabi’ group
- How do others perceive me? (think back to every compliment and criticism you’ve gotten and be honest!)
- What is important to me (are you a family person? Do you love pets? Do you enjoy materialistic things?)
- What are my values? (Are you someone who prays? Are you a fair person?)
- What are my priorities? (I want to be a good Muslim. I want to be a good daughter)
- What is something I enjoy but don’t share with the world? (I love seeing plastic surgery video’s, they are my guilty pleasure!)
You can find more questions here, but they are not mandatory.
2. When do you feel weak?
There are many more topics, but these questions set up a nice foundation. With this foundation, we can start defining what weakness and powerlessness are in your eyes. Defining it makes it easier to understand and consequently overcome this feeling. Ask yourself the following questions:
- When do I feel strong and powerful?
- When do I feel weak and powerless?
- How do I define a strong person?
- What part of my personality do I experience as weak?
Write it down and really think about your answers. Take your time to answer these questions as truthfully as possible.
3. How do you define ‘weakness’?
If you answered these questions truthfully, you’ve discovered what you think of as ‘weakness’. Let’s dissect your weakness and what it means. I’m going to use myself as an example. I am not a loud person and I have never been one to take centre stage. I’m not shy by any means, but I’m a bit quiet when I’m around new people and especially when I’m around very talkative people.
I would feel weak because I felt like I was not being myself. This weird shy, unsure version of myself is not what I wanted other people to see me as. That is why I would ask questions and listen to everything that was said and ask follow-up questions. After I warmed up to the people I spoke to, I’d be more myself.
Many of these people asked my number so we could hang out! I was so surprised because I did not present myself the way I wanted to. One of these people became a great friend of mine. When I told her about the day we met and how I was surprised that she wanted to hang out with me, she laughed in my face! She told me:
“ You were not that quiet, you asked questions and instead of listening to say something back, you would actually listen to what I said and follow-up on what I said! You were listening to listen, not to answer. No one ever does that because everybody just wants to be heard all the time!”
My initial unsureness makes me a wonderful listener, which makes people feel heard, which makes a lovely person to hang out with. So look at your weakness, whatever it is, and turn it around! Is there anything positive you can turn it into?
4. Accept that your weakness is a part of you and look at it differently
Your weakness is a part of you.
In the end, weakness is based on perception. My perception is different from yours and that’s okay!
The key to overcoming, or rather accepting, your weakness, begins with finding a way to turn them around and make them something you are okay with.
- Think of all the things you consider a weakness of yourself and write them down.
- Be critical of this weakness and turn it around to something more positive.
- Are there weaknesses you can’t turn around into something positive? Then write who you think also has this weakness.
An example of weakness turned around:
I can be quite arrogant. I don’t look down on people, but sometimes I do think I am better in certain things. Arrogance is a sin in Islam and is not something to be proud of. But when I turn it around to see the brighter side, I actually like it! I’m not necessarily arrogant, (although some people might disagree) I am a high-value sister, meaning that I’m very well aware of my worth and I’m not afraid to show it! Yes, I won’t give some men the time of day, but this ‘arrogance’ protects my heart, soul and my valued time. By not entertaining people, I make myself clear very early on which gives them the message that their efforts won’t change anything. I’m actually helping them by not letting them invest their time in me!
Another example could be low self-esteem. You need to work on loving yourself and raising your esteem, that much is sure. But I bet you 5 euros that you are a very humble, modest and mannered person. People with low self-esteem tend to be amazing company because they listen more than they talk and as my friend said:
“No one listens because everybody just wants to be heard all the time!”
5. Learn to discipline your negative self-talk
People always say that motivation is the key to success. I believe it is an important part of success in life, yes, but the actual key to anything is Self-discipline. Discipline drives you to do the work you don’t enjoy but is required. It conquers fear and it keeps you going when your curiosity, motivation, and excitement lessens.
So you need to self-discipline your negative self-talk. It takes consistent effort to truly manage your own behaviour, but it is a well-made investment. Your mistakes make you into the person you are. These mistakes taught you to not do a certain thing again and made your skin that much thicker.
Sometimes we need some negative self-talk. Being critical of your own behaviour is not necessarily a bad thing, but when it because constant it may ruin your self-esteem. We all need balance in life. Femininity cannot exist without masculinity. The light cannot exist without the dark. And you, learning to love yourself, cannot exist without some negative self-talk. Toxic positive is not the answer, but honesty with yourself is.
Summary: 5 steps to work on your weaknesses
- Find out who you are as a person
- When do you feel weak?
- How do you define ‘weakness’?
- Accept that your weakness is a part of you and look at it differently
- Learn to discipline your negative self-talk
Your Classy Muslim Sister’s extra tip
As a Muslim, I’ve noticed that when I feel closer to Allah, I don’t feel as weak. For some religion works wonderfully. When I pray I feel strong. When I make dua and ask Allah to take away my negative self-talk I feel safe. My faith, Islam, really helps me put things in perspective, so for all my Muslim sisters who feel weak and powerless:
Read the Quran, make Dua, pray to god or listen to islamic lectures on this topic.
Allah is there for us, the almighty is here to protect us, we just have to trust in him.
Do you want to learn more about self-love? I write about Femininity, Self Love, Islam, Etiquette and more! Do you want to help the other Muslim sisters in your life too? Share my blog with them and follow me on Social Media!
Your Classy Muslim Sister