Today’s post is a reflection post. I’m sure you’ll be able to relate to it. It comes after, well, a lot of reflection…. It doesn’t matter who you are or where you’re from, it’s like we all have to go through this in our life. Once, twice, thrice … until we get the message, learn the lesson, and move on.
It’s like, you set out to do good and spread good, but there is always someone who will shake a pointy finger at you and say, “Well, that’s just not good enough!” or, “You’re wrong!”
You know, it could have even started very young. At school, maybe. Your teacher didn’t like your drawing when you were in reception class age four/five. You thought you were creating a masterpiece with your house and four windows, a door in the middle, a pathway leading to the front gates, a tree and a cat – but she clearly thought otherwise! (And no, that didn’t happen to me and yes I did draw that drawing, and, admit it, so did you!)
It could have happened in later life. Your parents/siblings/friends pointed that pointy finger, rolled their eyes, and chorused, “You just can’t ever get it right, can you?!”
Ever had that happen to you? Like, over and over and …
It’s like a punch in the face and instant knock out. You’re trying to get up and recover and there goes the bell for round two!
Why do we allow ourselves to get hurt this way? In fact, why do we do things to always please others or get approval?
It’s a proven psychological fact (you can google it) that humans have six basic needs. This theory was proposed by Maslow in 1943 in his paper ‘A Theory of Human Motivation’. In later years, Tony Robbins (a Guru of Personal Development by whom yours truly is heavily inspired, motivated, and influenced) came up with his own six basic needs. Both Maslow and Robbins state that one of these needs is love/connection/belonging and another is significance (Robbins).
We want to be and feel loved. We want to be and feel connected. We want to belong, either to immediate loved ones or in larger social groups (social acceptance). We want to be, and feel, significant.
These are almost like our survival tools and, to an extent, a healthy dose of each is required for the healthy and holistic development of a human being.
However, what can happen is that we get to a stage in life where we are always looking for approval and doing things to get attention so we feel significant – important – worthy.
This may even lead us sometimes to do or act in unhealthy or immoral ways. Just so we get that approval.
If you’ve ever been through any of that then know that it’s OK because what you were doing was being human (by the way, I don’t condone immorality).
All humans do this! The correct way to embrace this humanity would be if parents/teachers/guardians gave children the correct form of encouragement and support at an early age – then, even through our failures, we wouldn’t be so messed up today.
That’s why I said at the beginning we’ve ALL been through it.
Because it started young and was embedded in us (usually around age six) and we started to look for acceptance and feel low and sad if discouraged, it stayed with us. It’s in our subconscious. It might even be eating you up right now!
So, even if your friends or family do this to you, then realise that even they have been through it.
It’s like a sad, vicious, psychological cycle!
But it’s time to break FREE. When? NOW!
Allah (SWT) has sent down a book of guidance. In it are treasures.
This book – the Qur’an – is a guidance for mankind and therein lie all the answers.
Do YOU want to stop this ‘pleasing everyone’ and looking for acceptance and feeling significant (beyond what is required as a basic need)? Then for YOU the Qur’an has a message.…
[Say: “Verily, my Salah (Prayer), my sacrifice, my living, and my dying are for Allah, the Lord of ALL that exists.”}
The Qur’an, Surah Al-’An’aam (chapter of the cattle) 6:162
That’s it! That’s the one!
Nadia Leona Yunis is a mentor and coach of Islamic personal and spiritual development for her organisation We Be Inspired and this article was first published on her We be Inspired blog. She is also the Islamic Editor for Young Muslimah Magazine.