Life coach, Sayeda Habib, encourages you to recognise your worth as a Muslimah in the first article in our new series.
Let me tell you a story about a sister named Amina. She is a homemaker and full time mother with four wonderful children. Her husband is a good provider and her lifestyle would be the envy of many. She also had the opportunity to perform Umra with her whole family last year.
When she first came to visit me she said "I know that people would think that I am the luckiest woman in the world. I know that I have everything material that I could ever want. I donít know why, but things just don't make sense" she said. "I have everything someone could want, and yet I feel so worthless."
Does this story sound familiar to you? Do you know someone who is dissatisfied with her life? She is a great mother, a good friend, has a wonderful, caring husband and in-laws - yet there is a sense of sadness forever lingering beneath the surface. She feels that no one appreciates her, and that she has done nothing much with her life, that she is a failure.
She has low self-esteem.
If you know someone suffering in this way, know that she is not alone. Low self-esteem is more common a condition than we realise. Developing a sense of self is an important human need. Our sense of self is our foundation for achieving all other goals in life; it allows us to dream. When we believe that we are worthy of something, we will make the efforts to go and achieve it. If we feel that we do not deserve it then, chances are we will not even try.
But what is self-esteem? It refers to our belief about how worthy we feel we are as human beings. A woman knows that she has a healthy self-esteem when she understands that she has been created by Allah swt and she deserves to live life just like anyone else. Self-esteem and self-confidence are terms that people use to reflect a two parts of a whole: feeling worthy within and letting that shine through to the world. This comes from knowing that we are not perfect, and that this is ok.
So is being OK a sign of arrogance? Arrogance comes from thinking oneself to be better than others. Comparing ourselves to others only happens when we feel that we are lacking something. An appropriate level of self-esteem helps us accept WHAT IS and work to improve what we can.
So how do you begin to enhance your self-esteem? The first step is to acknowledge where you are. Take a few minutes to sit by yourself and ask yourself these questions: On a scale of 1 -10, how do I rate my level of self-esteem/ self-confidence? (Use the term that feels right for you.)
Draw a scale and mark this point.
Next, identify the point of the scale where you would like to be and make a note of that.
You now have the starting point to take action.
To begin with, take a few minutes at the end of each day to write down what you achieved that day. Date the page, and start with the question "What did I achieve today?" and record what comes to mind. You may find this challenging at first, but I invite you to stick to it even if you can think of only one thing such as cooking the dinner or handing in your project on time. The important thing is to recognise your achievements, no matter what their nature is. I recommend that you write daily, until noticing your achievements becomes second nature to you. You may find that you begin to feel better about how you are spending your days, and even ordinary tasks will begin to take on new meaning.
The first step to building self-esteem is to begin by noticing and appreciating the things that we already do. Notice your achievements for yourself and you will radiate that confidence on the outside. Remember that this is a journey that will take time. Focus on each day as it comes and you will find the journey becoming easier with time.
Sister Amina learned about this technique through her coaching. She has been practising it for some time now and is starting to notice what she does around the house. The last time she was here, she said, "I finally realise that I make the house run smoothly. It really is up to me." She has begun her journey towards healthy self-esteem and now perhaps it is your turn.
This first step will open your mind to noticing the positive. The next step will allow you to focus on a deeper level. You will learn how to nurture yourself and invite this from others. The next article in this series will focus on helping you to begin the next part of your journey. In the meantime, begin focusing on your achievements and inshallah each day will be a bit more joyous and meaningful than the last.
Sayeda R. Habib
Sayeda Habib is a Life Coach and Hypnotherapist. She specialises in working with the Muslim community through workshops and individual sessions. She has been featured in Rapport magazine, Eesha, and Venus Television and been the agony aunt for BBC Radio Gloucestershire.
Sayeda says, "Muslims know that Allah's will supersedes everything and yet He has granted us free will. Allah loves us to strive towards our goals; whether they are material or spiritual. We need to make an effort to better our lives and then rely of Allah for the rest. I have seen people overcome personal and emotional trauma, find peace, contentment and happiness and life coaching has played a part in them achieving that. I feel privileged to be making a difference to others. I believe that Allah swt has shown me my life purpose. To find out more about Life Coaching for Muslims or to get in touch with Sayeda log on to www.makelifehappen.com , call 0870 067 1722 or email Sayeda@makelifehappen.com.
This article was first published in SISTERS, the magazine for fabulous Muslim women. Visit the SISTERS website at www.sisters-magazine.com to read more articles - and download a complimentary issue!