...Whose the fairest of them all?
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs!
What a fairy tale, eh?!
I grew up on all these Disney fairy tales and all things Disney. I had the entire book collection and I guess Snow White was my favourite (as was Cinderella and Rapunzel and Sleeping Beauty and you know the rest...).
But today's post is not about my childhood Disney love it's about...YOU.
I want to ask you a question.
Do YOU love yourself?
You do? Ok cool, excellent. So why do you love yourself?
And if you just said no then why don't you love yourself?
If you said something like, 'I love myself because I'm beautiful and everyone tells me I'm beautiful' - then I'm sorry to say so dear, that's not quite the answer I was looking for. (And there's nothing wrong with you being beautiful or someone telling you that you are beautiful - that's cool!)
If you said something like, 'I don't love myself because I'm _________ (insert self sabotaging words) and everyone says I'm ugly' then dearest you too, that's not what I wanted to hear.
See, the reason why I ask you this question is because I want to know what's your perception or definition of love for yourself or self-love.
So if someone tells you that you're beautiful is that the only reason to love yourself?
And if someone says you're ugly or YOU look in the mirror and 'see' ugly because of x, y, z feature which is not what you want then is that really a reason not to love yourself?
What do YOU see when you look in the mirror?
And why are you waiting for someone else's validation of you?
Did your fellow being create you?
Ok, so I know, I know - don't scream at me or the screen - its nice when someone acknowledges us and tells us we are beautiful because it really lifts us up - high in the sky.
But this high is not a forever high!
"To be beautiful means to be yourself. You don't need to be accepted by others. You need to accept yourself." Thich Nhat
Take the story of the queen in Snow White. When she asked the mirror who the fairest one was the jeany beany in the mirror was forced to say 'You Oh Queen' (or something like that - I haven't watched or read Snow White in decades) and then the queen was happy. She had to be validated by someone (or something) to accept herself.
But as soon as Snow White stepped up onto the scene it was a whole different ball game!
We spend too much of our valuable time looking for validation from others.
Yes both females and males!
Yet we don't really accept ourselves.
Its only when we finally accept ourselves with all our flaws and warts and whatever is when we finally become liberated or free.
"You say that you are just a body, but inside of you is something greater than the Universe." Imam Shafi (rahimullah)
I know I've quoted this quote many times in the posts before but honestly it really touches me to the core...deeply.
And you know I'm all about 'Soulful Therapy'.
We spend all that time caring and looking after our external selves that we forget our internalness.
The queen in Snow White may have been 'beautiful' on the outside but on the inside she was EVIL, NASTY and MEAN!
(She was nasty...!)
Allah (swt) does not look towards our bodies, nor towards our appearances but towards our heart. (Hadith Muslim)
The thing is that - even though Allah (swt) created our bodies and our beauty - our external - what He (swt) is looking at is our internal state - our heart - and then our deeds.
I say heart first because we know (Islam teaches us) that actions come from intentions. And so where are our intentions formed? Yes, exactly - internal - the heart!
We can pretend as much as we want and fool as many as we want to but God knows our internal state - He (swt) knows the state of our hearts.
Let's fix up now insha'Allah.
On the other hand we have the issue where we want others to love us yet we fail to love ourselves!
Its not arrogance to love oneself but its about accepting YOU as you ARE!
Stop hurting your own self and not loving yourself. You have to love yourself first to love others.
Its the only way!
Otherwise you'll spend a life of sadness, misery and always looking for validation.
The next person who is always validating you has their own issues to deal with.
Enough is enough!
Time to love ourselves again.
Starting right NOW!
Give yourself permission - it is ok and safe to do so - and bismillah.
Tips and Action Points:
1. Take a deep breath in, hold and on the exhale release all negative thoughts and beliefs about yourself (or what others have said about you).
---> Do this three times until you're in a relaxed state.
---> Feel that burden being lifted off from you and feel all the negativity fall away like leaves fall from the trees on a windy day.
2. Write down all the negative words which are hurtful and others have said and then trash it in the bin!
---> Take another three deep breaths and this time inhale and exhale both happy and positive words that YOU would use to describe YOU.
---> Write down a positive and true statement about yourself.
---> And YES there is a positive statement about you!
---> Remember before you began this task you gave yourself permission?
---> Write something like; 'I give myself permission to love myself and truly be me as God Almighty has created me in the best form to worship Him firstly and then achieve both greatness and goodness and I love myself alhamdulilah'.
3. Mirror, Mirror on the Wall...
---> Go to your favourite mirror in the house (yes the one that you have your imaginary conversations with about everything!).
---> Take your positive written. statement about yourself with you.
---> Before you look into the mirror say 'bismillah' and read the dua for looking into the mirror.
اللَّهُمَّ أَنْتَ حَسَّنْتَ خَلْقِي فَحَسِّنْ خُلُقِي
Allahumma anta hasanta khalqi fahassin khuluqi
"O Allah, just as you have made my external features beautiful, make my character beautiful as well."
---> Then look into your eyes - hold your gaze and accept yourself!
Read your positive statement three times whilst holding your gaze.
---> Do this exercise once every day for the next seven days and see what happens insha'Allah.
Once you get the confidence you can add to your statement or even look at your features and each time give thanks to Allah for creating you in the best form.
Next time you can hold your gaze and give thanks for all the skills and abilities Allah has blessed you with.
And the time after that you can be thankful for all that He (swt) has allowed you to be, do and have.
The purpose is to become confident within and to accept who you are.
There is something special and unique about YOU that God has created in YOU.
Let me know how this exercise goes for you insha'Allah.
Leave me comment and please share this post with everyone. I know this will help at least one soul you share it with.
This exercise may be well out of your comfort zone or a little scary at first - I hear you - but if you don't try, you won't know.
And remember, if you don't love yourself, then don't expect someone else to! Love YOU first! :)
Nadia Leona Yunis