Understanding resilience and what keeps us stuck

Bismillah,

Have you ever wondered what makes it possible for some people to overcome difficulties more easily than others? We may look at a situation and say, "SubhanAllah, I can never imagine going through that and being okay" while another person may think our challenges are relatively small. It turns out resilience is a big factor in how we respond to adversity.

Resilience is the ability to bounce back from difficult experiences with strength.
According to the American Psychological Association, "Resilience is the process of adapting well in the face of adversity, trauma, tragedy, threats or significant sources of stress — such as family and relationship problems, serious health problems or workplace and financial stressors."

Resilience is a practice that can be learned through our mindset and behaviours. Resilience does not mean that we will not experience sadness or difficult emotions, but that responding to our life events with resilience can strengthen us and help us bounce back with greater resolve.

Think of 3-5 difficult experiences from your past. Give yourself credit for standing strong in spite of what happened. Recognize the strength it took to move forward after those times.

Now, identify 1-2 challenges that are making you feel stuck at the moment. Remind yourself that the same Allah Almighty who helped you overcome the past challenges, can help you today as well. Solidify this belief in your heart and remind yourself further that in spite of your current state, you can certainly move forward with Allah's help. Nothing is impossible for Allah (swa). 

If we are really honest with ourselves...
Sometimes our own habits and beliefs can keep us stuck. By digging deeper, you will find that there are some common fears and self-limiting beliefs behind our patterns. These can include:

  • Fear of failure
  • Fear of others' opinions and judgement 
  • Fear or rejection
  • Fear of being exposed 
  • Fear of the unknown
Just imagine how much lost potential can be sitting inside of us when we give in to these fears. We have to be honest with ourselves when we are giving into these limiting beliefs and instead, think of the ways we need to honor ourselves in this ONE amazing and beautiful life we have been given! 

Try this: Identify 1 or 2 goals that excite you. Something you want to do because it brings you joy, meaning, growth, or greater connection to your purpose. Now think of all the ways you canmake small steps towards your goal and enjoy the journey, if... 

So for example:
  • I can write my own short story if I attend writing workshops in my area, commit to writing every day and ask for feedback when I'm ready.
  • I can memorize Surah _____ if make the intention, give myself a date to finish and work backwards to make it happen, and have an accountability partner.
  • I can workout every day if I remind myself how great I feel after a workout, schedule it in to my daily plan, and set reminders to help me reach my goal
  • I can create an investment account for my future if I schedule time to learn about the tools available to me, take the first step, and automate the process.
  • I can spend more quality time with my family if I remove distractions from my sight when I am with them and plan quality activities we can all enjoy.
This is a powerful mindset strategy that I hope will be helpful to you in many ways. It allows you to get really clear on what you need to do to reach for things you want, while also removing those limiting beliefs. 

In the next email, we will go further into becoming more aware of our beliefs and cognitive distortions. For now, I recommend finding some time to work on the two key practices shared here and really start to embody the "I can.." mindset. 

Till next time, 
Asma

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