October 5, 2012

Post Ramadan Reflections: Goals and Reflections II

Posted in Character, Epiphanies, Hikams, Social Commentary tagged , , , , , , , , , , at 10:35 pm by faith786

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

Assalamu Alaikum,

One goal I had in Ramadan this year was to work on my self-esteem/self-confidence/sense of self-worth. For those of you who know me personally, I have a deep-rooted sense of insecurity. Part of it is fear of failure, part of it is environmental (actually trying stuff and failing at it, applying for 7 jobs and not getting any, etc.), and part of it… I always had inside of myself.

So I decided I am going to work on it. I won’t sell myself short; I will stand up for myself if I think I am wronged; I will work hard and respect others…. and I will now expect a certain level of respect from others. But I also warned myself not to error on the side of being arrogant or being selfish–I only want to have a healthy sense of self-esteem, not hubris.

So in that spirit, I decided to ask one of my professors a question that has been really itching me. This past summer, I asked to be part of a type of project, and he declined in a cryptic manner. When that happened, I resorted to my unhealthy sense of thinking–maybe I am incompetent, maybe I am disorganized, immature, clumsy, etc. But rather than letting those feelings and thoughts (which are all only possibilities, not actual truths) simmer inside of myself, I wanted to stand up for myself and learn the truth. I cannot have a healthy sense of self-worth if I cannot talk about my own shortcomings.

So I went to the professor’s office and we spoke about a couple other concerns, and then I asked him about the cryptic decline. I respected his decision, but I wanted to learn how to improve myself or what can I do to move in the right direction. For whatever reason, he felt like he could not answer that question directly. I was confused and insisted on some reason or quality so at least I would learn how to improve myself. I had to get over this growing fear of failure in myself and the only way to do so is to confront it.

After a while he told me his concern with not letting me work with him on this particular project was because of me, holistically…. Holistically.


If there was any single word that could have completely shattered my self-worth, it was that. Holistically. The reason why this professor did not work with me was because of… me. Of who I am as an entire being. And I have received much criticism in my life, and I try not to let them be taken to heart because words are only sounds in the air that we interpret. But this time, this time it echoed in the deep chasms of my being. This professor was someone I truly valued and looked up to in multiple ways. He taught me a lot and this was his opinion of the issue. The issue was not being clumsy, loud, or unorganized–things within my control. The issue was about being… me. Holistically.

This deeply saddened me and I slipped off the train of following my Ramadan goal of developing my sense of self-worth.

(In all honesty, that train really crashed and burned that day, but I digress–)


So after contemplating about his words for hours, I decided that if I cannot think straight, perhaps some of my logical peers can help me pull myself out of this mental wreck. And that is when I realized God’s beauty does truly manifest in so many different ways.

One person I truly admire put it in a very logical perspective and told me that the professor said a nonsensical statement. Holistic is subjective. Being a human being is not grounds for not working together. Being unorganized, irresponsible, unreliable, those are all reasons. But holistic has no meaning in this context.

Another friend told me that things like this can happen in life and it is a chance to see if you really want something. Getting everything you want the first time does not really test your passion for it. Tribulation does. And then it hit me–

–I cannot learn how to build my self-esteem or self-worth unless it is tested. I cannot really know the value of myself unless it is taken from me or internally destroyed. For me, it was the latter. After that happened, I wanted to quit my work (related somewhat to the content in the project I was interested in), I wanted to drop a class because I was having it with this professor who so deeply hurt me. But after thinking about it, that is the cop-out to my situation. I can either accept his words as truth and let them drag me down, or I can say that he can say stuff like that, but I will still try my best. I will still grow. I will still work had. I will, “get up and try and try and try,” with other things in life.(P!nk) My self-esteem may have fallen, but I will pick myself up now and just work harder and believe in myself more. Our self-worth is precious and we should not let others try to take that from us.

So if you, dear reader, have issues of self-worth and self-confidence like I do, know that my thoughts are with you. And if life ever slaps you in the face like it did for me, know that we will pick ourselves up and we will become that much more stronger. We cannot really achieve our goals unless we are tested by them.

–illal liqaa



  1. MuslimAtHeart said,

    In case you missed it the first time around:

    “Come up to meet you,
    Tell you I’m sorry,
    You don’t know how lovely you are.

    I had to find you,
    Tell you I need you,
    Tell you I set you apart.

    Nobody said it was easy, …
    No one ever said it’d be this hard. …

    Questions of science,
    Science and progress,
    Do not speak as loud as my heart” (Coldplay).

  2. Shiva said,

    I feel you!
    I have a big problem with self-worth and self-esteem and a lot of depression and anxiety results from that. So many of your thoughts and feelings also reside in my mind, so I can relate. It’s difficult for me to help myself, so I don’t think it would be fair for me to try to advise you. All I can say is that I wish the best for you and that there are people out there who totally know what it’s like! We’re always going to face challenges in life. That’s just how it goes!

  3. Jauza said,

    Eeemmm yup, have been in your situation before, probably ‘darker and crueler’.. but recently my ustadz taught me to read this duaa 7 times after prayer.

    From Surah Ali-Imran:31

    قُلۡ إِن كُنتُمۡ تُحِبُّونَ ٱللَّهَ فَٱتَّبِعُونِى يُحۡبِبۡكُمُ ٱللَّهُ

    Meaning: Say, [O Muhammad], “If you should love Allah , then follow me.”

    May we be loved by Allah swt. May we be loved by others. If possible try to read the history of this ayat.

    Of course, on the top of that, we need to add more sunnah in life ie reading Al-Mulk every nite, or Witir prayer etc…

    Alhamdulillah… life is getting better each day…


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