I have many things to talk about. Sometimes, I could have running thoughts about three things and I have to decide which to tell you first. This is one such day. And I have picked what I want to share with you. So here goes…
I have said many times that I am on a journey of self-love. While it might seem easy to assume that all I probably do is tell myself how valuable I am and say a bunch of positive self-affirmations, it goes way deeper and the road becomes only more daring and treacherous. Let me give you my example…
I had a really tough childhood, coming from a divorced family and living with my bipolar single mother taught me early on that life was not going to hand over nice things to everyone all the time; when that is the case, you have to demand of life to give you what you deserve. Life also taught me that through so much suffering, we are pushed to question why certain things happen to us and not others? Who makes these decisions to , for example, make Yemen one of the worst humanitarian crises of the century? I believe it is through these constant questions that I found myself standing at life’s or God’s door, endlessly knocking at it, asking to be let into the wisdom and meaning of life, that finally, after many years, God decided, “Heck! Let her in!” I did not just walk in, I raced in and into all the information and knowledge there was to learn. In a span of a very short time, I found myself being drawn to read books that would contain the very information I would resonate with and which would totally change my life in the blink of an eye. No wonder when Prophet Mohamed (Peace Be Upon Him) was first receiving revelation, the first ever verse of the Quran was “Read!” That is basically everything you and I need.
My journey of self-love started with books, but it did not end there. It demanded more. It looked at my history, the people in my life, my limiting thoughts and behavior patterns, my anxiety and all my perfect imperceptions and said, “Mmh, Zeinab, I think today we should work on this… I want to point this out please. Cut that person out of your life, he is not serving you….”
The hardest part as they say is the first step, which was to convince my mind, which has been conditioned to believe everything but love, that I deserve love, that I am important. I remember while trying to say these words to myself, I could feel the tightening of my stomach and some discomfort in my body, the frowning of my brows, all signs pointing to the fact that this information I was introducing to my mind was something my former self and mind were resisting because it was alien, and not because it was forced or untrue.
After I could go through a 20 minutes affirmation video without cringing, which took time and practice, and a little tough love on my part, I stepped into the phase of “correcting” the status quo.
Now that my mind was convinced of the fact that I deserved love simply because I existed, I could not tolerate anything less than that. I started noticing things that were not in alignment with my newly discovered self-love; words other people spoke about me, people’s actions towards me, their response towards my efforts, everything! I will tell you this, there are so many people we allow to step on us, there are far too many bullies we have permitted to walk all over our self-confidence and pride, and what is most surprising is that these people are our closest and dearest. It is easier to assume that our enemies are strangers or people we meet along the way in our life, but the real ones, the ones that will inflict the most damage, or have you struggling with your marriage because you were not given love while you were a child, or struggling with self-expression because you were taught that saying how you feel has consequences, are right under your nose, all these years, rejecting you, frustrating you, making you hate yourself, giving you just enough so they can claim they did their best, all these people, who could do so much harm, could only do so because you were not aware of your worth and value. But once that value is apparent to you, suddenly, here you are, demanding to be treated with respect and love. I think I can safely say, when you decide to love yourself, you are no different than a warrior who puts on their armor and shield, picks up their sword, and sets off to battle. You must fight. It is guaranteed that you will face opposition and sometimes, even threats. You will have to let go of the people who refuse to acknowledge the new you. You will and must be willing and ready to burn some very important bridges in your life. So, my question is, What are you prepared to give up for the sake of yourself?
I stepped up against my dad yesterday, and this was after many years. I simply said to him, “If you cannot love me stop being my dad.” I even vowed to take full responsibility of any results that would come about due to my declaration. This is the result of knowing your worth and your value. You just cannot go back once you decide to love yourself. All the things and people you held tightly to all those years, hoping they would treat you right someday(it never comes, by the way), believing that they will see your worth and love you, have to go! Simple! Let someone know how they should treat you. Let them know you will not accept anything less. Let them also know that if they think they cannot treat you right, that it is okay they can go. Love yourself fiercely, defend your worth and your dignity at all costs, even the cost of losing very important people in your life.
You are the most important person in your life journey right now and always were and will always remain to be!