Being human can be quite a paradox. We claim we want to be happy yet we don’t let go of the things and people that leave us feeling sad. We stay in the job we dread waking up to and we remain in a marriage where we feel invisible and unloved. We want to find unconditional love but when we find it we doubt it will last and so avoid it. We yearn to connect with someone but are afraid to take the risk that comes with it. We want to be seen as a whole and accepted but refuse to show ourselves as we are.
So why do we sabotage our own happiness?
1. Lack of trust in Allah
Allah swt is AlMujib -the one who loves to respond to prayers. We want to find love yet we don’t pray to Allah for it. We enjoy talking about stories such as when Allah separated the sea for Joseph, the story of Jonah surviving in the whale’s belly and the story of prophet Muhammad when he pointed at the moon and it split (peace be upon them all). In fact we tell children these stories and teach them that miracles exist; that Allah is great and he can make anything happen. All he has to say is ‘Be’ and it is. Yet for some reason we don’t ask for our own happiness. A sign of truly believing the prayer has been heard by Allah and that he will respond is to then prepare for it to materialise.
2. Believing we don’t deserve to be loved.
This can be for many reasons such as growing up and being told you aren’t worth anything, that you amount to nothing or being blamed constantly for whatever goes wrong leaving you feeling you only bring bad luck. It is harder to believe you deserve love if you have often been rejected and hurt by those around you. It could also be because you have had your heart broken in the past and now you fear it will happen again and so to protect yourself from the pain you are avoiding it all together. You decide to give preference to embracing the loneliness and the emptiness but not allowing yourself even a chance at happiness. And so you find yourself willing to hold on to toxic relationships where you are receiving little to no love but not willing to let go in fear that you won’t find any love at all. You tell yourself a little love is better than none. Change your mantra. Tell yourself you deserve to be fully adored and loved. You deserve to be swarmed by positive attention. The reason that love isn’t in your life isn’t because you don’t deserve it but rather because you are refusing to make room for it in your life.
3. Fear of showing our vulnerable side.
When it comes to relationships we want that deep connection with the person. We can all have the depth in our relationships; where we feel that one person can see right through our soul and still love us; a connection where we can talk about whatever crosses our mind. But this of course comes with a risk. To gain that connection we must invest. We must share our raw feelings, share our past experiences -the awkward ones as well as the ones we regret. There is a cost for everything. One can be a millionaire and be well known in social circles yet never experience a depth in relationships. Creating depth in our relationships does not require money nor intelligence but rather emotional investment. To connect deeply with someone and experience unconditional love we need to change how we relate. It’s about letting someone in past the surface and being able to share not only your dreams of the future but also your fears of it. To be able to share your accomplishments of the past as well as your failures and missed opportunities that you regret. It’s baring your soul in the moment. Sharing your confusion, your immediate thoughts and expressing the feeling in the moment. It is only by doing these things we gain the depth we all yearn for. And yes it’s scary. It’s showing yourself for who you truly are without any masks or even protection. It’s saying this is me. Raw me. And that’s terrifying. Will the person accept us? Will they manipulate what they know about us? Will the person even want to talk to us? And we fear rejection so we protect ourselves and keep on the masks. Sometimes we allow someone a peak but we never remove it completely.
One thing I have come to realise is that the reason we fear showing our true self to others is because we are yet struggling to accept that part our ourself. We are uncomfortable with different parts of our identity so we wonder how someone else can accept us when we are unable to do so ourselves. Let me tell you something; we can never truly accept love even if it comes to us if we deep down don’t love our self. No one is perfect. We all have weaknesses, we have let people down, we all have a part to us we are ashamed of. What we forget though is that it’s part of being human. Once we start accepting who we are and becoming comfortable with all parts of our identity we find it easier to show our true selves. It comes down to one thing: becoming aware of how imperfect and vulnerable we are and then owning it. Once we own who we are it is easier to share with others. And then a beautiful thing happens. When you openly share yourself those around you feel safe to do so as well, resulting in you relating in a genuine and warm manner. That’s how we find depth in our relationships.
4. Holding on to ideals in our head but not embracing opportunities in reality.
We hold on to ideals and our dreams. In our imagination there is perfect love and happy endings. A place where happiness lasts for eternity. It is safe to love. The reality seems quite the opposite. Not only do we see relationships fail around us due to people breaking promises and being manipulative but we experience it ourselves. We realised how much someone meant to us and taking the huge risk of rejection we told them sincerely how much they meant to us. We placed our trust in someone. And only those who have dared to love will know that it is less painful trusting someone with your bank details and finding they have cleared out your account than it is to trust someone with your heart only for them to betray you. Words can never describe that pain. There are no words. It’s why the broken hearted create music and paintings. The feelings are too painful. No words can describe the pain so we create music and art to express our emotions. It’s tragic. And so we decide to never allow anyone close to our heart again. We barricade our fragile heart, pushing everyone away; deep down hoping someone will be able to reach into it and earn our trust but never truly giving anyone a chance. We hold on to the past and in doing so we miss out on experiencing genuine love in this moment.
It also becomes easier for us to create a huge list of qualities the person must have. It may seem organised but in reality it’s our attempt at monitoring who we love. We decide to analyse and assess love instead of allowing ourselves to feel it. We look for perfectionism knowing it doesn’t even exist and in reality we are deliberately making it harder for our selves to find love. Maybe It’s easier to pretend we are seeking love but not finding it than admitting we are too scared to get even close to love. Because of this we will always find some kind of excuse to never accept it. Hence, on the surface it looks like we know exactly what we want and are seeking it but in reality we are creating barriers to it.
5. Imagining what could go wrong.
We avoid taking risks due to over analysing and thinking of everything that could possibly go wrong. Instead of being in the moment and going with the flow we don’t want to take the risk as we can’t predict whether it will last. We allow our mind to remind us of what could go wrong. Infact you would be able to write a book titled ‘1000 reasons my relationship is going to fail’ yet struggle to believe in the one reason it could be the most beautiful relationship of your life. It could be the love you have always yearned for that is unconditional, genuine and has depth you have never experienced. You will never know what something could turn into unless you step out of your comfort zone. So leave your past where it belongs, take a deep breath and take that leap of faith.
Allow yourself a chance at love.
Lots of love
The Lady in the Purple Hijab