When you suddenly starts questioning yourself again, what do you do? Have you ever felt like whatever you’re doing now feels like it’s going nowhere? Whatever you’ve worked hard for somehow led you to this ugly but familiar moment again: stuck and unsure. Emotional, you’d make rash decisions because in your heart, that is what’s best for you.
I’ve experienced this recently ironically after I’ve briefly shared a story on how to be happy. Somehow, as someone who creates contents on a regular basis, whenever you are not authentic with yourself, your creations start feeling like it’s forced that you’d have to just do it because it’s just work or because you have a deadline. I know I don’t create my best when I am not authentically happy or… simply just empty.
In my last sharing about feeling happy, I’ve realised at that time I was not being real to myself. I was losing sleep… I wasn’t eating right and I stopped caring for myself. It’s worse when you’d have issues when you are not spiritually full as our strength I believe is based on our relationship with Allah. So whenever I’d have moments of questioning myself, I’d ask myself these questions:
1. What is the one change that happened this week that made me feel this way?
As much as I’m learning to accept changes, I know myself enough that I often need time to receive and accept change. However, sometimes, changes can be great especially when it’s time to let go (that’s a whole different topic)
For instance, just last week, I honestly felt terrible because I ruined my sleep pattern. I ruined my routine and I just couldn’t function well. It’s hard to be optimistic when you are tired and drained out. Then if I’d dig deeper, what’s causing this change in sleep pattern? Is it because of my physical health? Too much screen time?
Pro-tip: Download an app/Have a notebook that tracks your mood and note down any changes that might affect your mood. The more aware you are about whether the change is affecting you, it will be easier for you to process these emotions.
Bonus: For my ladies, are you expecting to have your period any time soon, so you’re feeling more exhausted and emotional than usual? (So learning about the pattern pre- and post- menstruation is so so so crucial, ladies! This was my big realisation that stopped me from blaming myself entirely). It’s crazy how only learn this in biology but we don’t really understand entirely how the changes in our body can absolutely make us feel worse about ourselves even when externally everything is actually OK.
Basically, when you are shedding on the inside, expect to feel extra exhausted and don’t feel bad about being unproductive at work.
2. Am I taking care of myself according to my needs?
We are all wired differently. Some people prefer to go out and talk to people to fill themselves up. Some people prefer to have their alone time. Sometimes, it could be your physical health. It could be what you’ve been consuming or eating. Sometimes, it can be as simple as due to dehydration.
In any case, we need to understand ourselves better so that we know exactly what’s lacking whenever we feel out of balance.
I know when I am fulfilled when I have a morning routine, clear about what I need to tackle during the day and manage my time well. That means I am at my best. I know I feel terrible when I have to deal with too many overwhelming changes and when I interact with people too much i.e not having my own time to declutter and reset. I also know I feel terrible when I am being unkind to myself or other people.
Pro-trip: Take personality tests (my personal favourite is 16personalities because it’s detailed and helpful to me to find my best and weak spots). I also find it rewarding to have an accountability partner or some friends who I can have meaningful conversations with as this is one of the ways to fill myself up.
Bonus: To help you understand yourself better and have meaningful conversations, my friend Teah and I are combining these into a podcast!
3. Lastly, how is my relationship with Allah?
This is by far the most crucial question. We can be taking care of ourselves mentally and physically, but we can still feel empty if we are not filling ourselves up spiritually.
How is my relationship with the Quran? What am I listening to? What am I watching/consuming myself with? How is my zikir?
I know that even when I am physically tired, but spiritually high, I’d still feel optimistic and would be able to be productive. I know when I am spiritually high, I’d be more aware of how I treat myself and others.
Pro-tip: Just start somewhere. Anywhere. Talk to Allah. I mean just give it all out and talk to Him regardless of how you feel. He is there for you, you must remember that. If you’re on your period, listen to the Quran recitation or read the translations. During your free time, recite lots of istighfar. Start your day with morning zikr. ANYTHING at this point would work. Once you get the feel of it, you would want more and more.
All in all, just take a moment to reset.
Whatever you are going through right now, know that it’s not permanent nor is it there to punish you. I honestly believe that Allah loves us so much that He just wants us to return to Him. Every test and challenges that come to you are not there to punish you but to build you. I know some things make no sense right now, but if you just try applying one of the above tips, I wholeheartedly believe you can feel better. You’ve got this!
Let me know if any of these work out for you in the comment below or contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
I’ll be more than happy to talk to you.