Many times, across different types of relationships, we face some turmoil and challenges that may bring about animosity, chaos and intense emotions. One major cause of most relationship problems is communication. However, there’s one other issue that is critical in relationships yet remains rarely identified; our attachment styles.

Attachment is the emotional bond between an infant and parent/guardian and it is through this bond that the infant gets their primary needs met. According to renowned psychiatrist John Bowlby’s attachment theory, the relationships with our primary caregivers during our earliest years have a major and long-lasting impact on our social and intimate relationships, including connections made at workplaces. How we bonded with our parents and guardians sets the stage for how we perceive and build all our relationships thereafter.

There are four attachment styles, the last three are considered insecure:

1. Secure attachment

2. Anxious Preoccupied attachment

3. Dismissive Avoidant attachment

4. Fearful Avoidant attachment

It should be noted that parents don’t necessarily or intentionally choose these attachment styles. Most of the time, they’re unaware and it is just automatic behavioural patterns passed from one generation to another .i.e. an anxiously attached parent might have an anxiously attached child due to unhealed generational trauma and they raise their kids the same way they were. Nonetheless, other factors might also affect which attachment style a child adopts as they grow up, such as trauma, life experiences, environment, or the close relationships they have with others.

1. Anxious Preoccupied (High anxiety, Low avoidance): Also known as anxious ambivalent in children, is often associated with an inconsistent parenting pattern. The caregiver tends to give mixed signals by sometimes being responsive to the child’s needs and sometimes being misattuned or unavailable to the child. This may be very confusing for the child, make them feel unstable and regard their parents’ actions as unpredictable or unreliable. They may become very distressed when separated from their caregiver, and even when he/she returns, they continue to display anxious behaviour and do not appear comforted. 

Please note that this doesn’t mean that the parents intentionally neglect the child’s needs but it could be that the caregivers didn’t meet the child’s needs in the way that they wanted. As such, they opt to throw tantrums and become clingy to get their attention. These children tend to be very sensitive and self-sacrifice to take care of others even at their own expense. 

When one grows up with this style, one may have some of the following characteristics:

  • Fear of rejection
  • Need for constant reassurance
  • Being needy/clingy
  • Fear of abandonment
  • Depending on a partner for validation and emotional regulation
  • Codependent tendencies
  • Jealous tendencies
  • Low self-esteem
  • Highly sensitive to criticism 
  • Needing approval from others
  • Difficulty trusting others
  • Difficulty being alone
  • Feeling unworthy of love and not being good enough
  • Self- critical and indecisive 
  • Overthinking tendencies 
  • May develop anxiety disorders as adults

2. Dismissive Avoidant (Low anxiety, High avoidance): This attachment style is formed when the child’s caregiver is absent or emotionally distant or busy or disinterested in their emotional needs. The child could be expected to be independent and the caregiver might also disapprove if the child shows any display of emotions. When the child is upset, their distress is regularly ignored or dismissed. Because their needs aren’t met, the child perceives that as rejection. They thus learn to detach from their feelings because they don’t trust that their caregivers will be there for them and they rarely seek comfort from parents/caregivers. So even when they’re separated from their parent they react fairly calmly and do not embrace their return.

As such a child grows up, he/she may develop some of the following:

  • Super independent 
  • Have a hard time trusting others
  • Fear of intimacy or closeness (Most of their relationships are surface level)
  • Uncomfortable expressing their feelings
  • Have commitment issues
  • Emotionally unavailable
  • Often feel self-sufficient and don’t need others
  • Feel threatened by anyone who tries to get close to them
  • May distance themselves or shut down during conflict
  • May find relationships to be suffocating

3. Fearful Avoidant (High anxiety, High avoidance): Also known as disorganized attachment, this style is often associated with childhood trauma or abuse. Fear for their caregivers is also present. The child grows up in a chaotic, threatening or abusive environment and because the caregiver shows inconsistent and unpredictable behaviour the child starts fearing for their safety. The child might seek closeness to the caregiver but at the same time, pull themselves away from them, due to fear.

When such a child is separated from their caregiver and then the parent returns, they may act oddly, by approaching them then turning away from them or freezing or even hitting the caregiver. All this is because of the childhood trauma they’ve experienced. In short, the parent is considered a source of both comfort and fear and thus the child adopts disorganized behaviour.

A child with a disorganized attachment may grow up to have some of the following symptoms:

  • Fear of rejection
  • Fear of intimacy
  • Inability to regulate emotions
  • High levels of anxiety
  • Difficulty trusting others
  • Signs of both avoidant and anxious attachment styles
  • In relationships, they almost always expect and wait for disappointment, hurt and rejection to come.
  • Contradictory and unstable behaviours i.e. might be clingy one moment then dismissive at another.
  • They both desperately crave affection and want to avoid it at all costs.
  • They want to love and be loved but are afraid to let anyone in.
  • Likely to develop mental disorders such as personality or mood disorders or even substance abuse and self-harm.

4. Secure Attachment style (Low avoidance, Low anxiety): A child with this attachment style grows up with reliable caregivers who were quick to soothe, comfort and meet their needs. This creates trust towards the parents. The child feels safe, seen, understood and valued. They know they can depend on their caregivers to be there for them consistently and support them to explore the world around them to attain autonomy and independence.

The child feels safe to ask for reassurance or validation without punishment from the caregivers. When such a child is separated from their parent, they become distressed but upon their return, they welcome them warmly and with positive emotions.

As adults, those with this attachment tend to have healthy relationships and positive traits such as:

  • Ability to regulate emotions
  • High self-esteem and confidence
  • Great and effective communication skills
  • Comfortable being alone
  • Comfortable with closeness and mutual dependency
  • Easily trusting and bonding with others
  • Goal-oriented
  • Show healthy and balanced behaviours in relationships
  • Ability to open up and seek emotional support
  • Being easy to connect with
  • Ability to manage conflict well
  • Strong capacity to reflect on how you are being in a relationship

Take note that attachment styles aren’t everything in relationships and can be influenced by other factors as well. 

These styles are not permanent and can change over time through different experiences and variables in one’s life. For example, an individual with an insecure attachment can change to become secure when they’re in a relationship with an individual who has a secure attachment style and influences them to feel safe and calm as well. The opposite of this is also possible. Also, attachment styles are not mental disorders, even though they can make one more prone to certain disorders.

Nonetheless, we cannot undermine the impact of these styles on our relationships. Many times, people have unhealthy behavioural patterns and are unable to regulate their emotions without understanding the root cause of it all; attachment styles. These styles affect how we function, behave, think, connect with others and even feel. Inadvertently, they also affect how we raise our children and which kind of environment we provide for them. To break this dysfunctional cycle, it is important for each individual with an insecure style to actively work on changing to become secure.

How can one change that? Below is your answer.

Here are a few tips to acquire the secure attachment style:

1. Self-awareness is the first and most important step towards healing. Do some research on the topic so that you may understand the different attachment styles further and yourself better. YouTube can be a good place to start for we have many resources there concerning this topic. Personally, I love ‘The Personal Development School’ on Youtube for how they explain these matters, but the resources are so many.

Do understand that sometimes an individual could have different habits that are associated with different styles and this is because of the different experiences and traumas we face at different phases in our lives. We have several online quizzes on attachment styles that can help you in finding out which style you predominantly have. One link where you can conduct the quiz is here. They usually show you percentages of the attachment styles that you have according to your tendencies and habits. The biggest percentage shows your most predominant attachment style.

2. Once you have understood your attachment style, you should do some much-needed self-reflection and take the time to analyze your own emotions, habits, your triggers, how you deal with conflict, communicate and your interactions with other people. Pay attention to the emotional and physical sensations that come up around emotional intimacy. You could have a journal specifically for this and you could jot down what’s going on with you daily. This helps in not just understanding oneself but also gives you some relief from whatever emotions you carry with you.

3. This journey might not be easy so you must be ready to do the work however hard it might get. It is important to accept your weaknesses, unhealthy habits and the things you might need to work on. Be self-conscious about your thoughts and emotions and learn how to regulate them, soothe yourself, and positively interact with others.

4. Most of the time, we tend to attract people who will represent all the suppressed parts within us, or the parts that we wish were stronger within us or parts we’re ashamed of and wish to change. So for example, if someone is quiet and emotionally detached, they will attract a partner who is emotional and expressive. If someone is controlling and demanding, they attract a partner who is pleasing and submissive. If someone has a hard time asking for help, they attract a partner who asks for help all the time …etc.

A good example of such a case according to attachment styles is that anxious preoccupied individuals and avoidants tend to subconsciously attract one another despite the two being very opposite. The anxious one is impressed by the avoidant’s independence and mysteriousness as they wish they could depend less on others and be more self-reliant. The avoidant on the other hand is attracted to the anxious person because they provide endless love, warmth and intimacy-something they didn’t quite have while growing up.

But the problem is, the two individuals have very different needs when it comes to relationships. The anxious one wants closeness and intimacy from their partner and tends to be clingy and needy, while the avoidant one is intimidated by closeness and really values their independence and personal space. So despite their attraction, the relationship tends to become a chaotic trap of triggers and unmet needs. The two genuinely struggle to provide their partner with what they need. The avoidant feels the anxious one is too much, while the anxious one feels their avoidant partner is not enough for them. In fact, they call it the anxious-avoidant trap/dance/cycle, because the two individuals feel stuck. They have a hard time making it work but also a hard time moving away from each other. (You can read more about this here)

 It is thus very very important for a couple to understand their individual attachment styles and how they could be triggering each other. It is not impossible to make such relationships work but they need a certain level of self-awareness and willingness to grow and change for the better.

The two of you must have open and effective communication about your needs, worries and concerns so that you can also support each other in your healing journey. It might get very uncomfortable, especially for the avoidants but there is no shortcut to the process. The good thing is, the outcome is totally worth it!

Side note: Many times, the partners we’re seeking have traits and behaviours like one of our parents. The reason for this is that we’re trying to find an outcome that will be different from how it was with our parent. For example, if your father was inconsistent with you, you’d subconsciously find a partner who will also have inconsistent habits. The hope here is that you’ll be able to make them grant you the stability and consistency that you lacked in your childhood and thereafter heal your childhood wound.

We subconsciously get into such relationships in an attempt to heal that part of us that is insecure about our worthiness and to prove that we’re lovable after all. And sometimes it becomes a lifetime pattern of seeking such partners.

The way to avoid this pattern of attracting people who have unappealing behaviours like your parent, is by first trying to understand what you’re trying to heal. For example, are you trying to be loved by an abusive partner? Are you trying to attain affection from an avoidant? Once you identify what your core wounds are, then you can seek what you need from people who are actually capable of giving what you need-accepting you and proving to you that you’re not too much.

5. Working with a therapist may be the best way to go about this for they will guide you on how to regulate yourself and change for the better whilst taking into consideration your unique life story and personality.

6. If it might be hard for you to work with a therapist on this, you can enrol in online courses that are specific to your attachment style and they can help you navigate all types of relationships and emotions to attain a secured attachment. There are also some attachment-style workbooks that have practical exercises to deal with your style. Among the websites that offer such courses and workbooks include https://www.attachmentproject.com/ and https://university.personaldevelopmentschool.com/ among many others. There are also courses that are specific for couples of different attachment styles-showing them how their pairing works and how to navigate their relationships in a healthy manner.

7. Do understand that sometimes parents aren’t aware of how they’re emotionally affecting their children and are simply doing their best (abusive parents are a different case here). So you can acknowledge the effect they had on you, without blaming them for it. Most times they can’t undo anything they did and it is best if we all just looked forward and focused on the healing journey.

8. Regardless of the painful experiences of your past that shaped who you are, as an adult, it is best to leave the past where it is and take full control of your life now. Healing is an intentional choice that each one of us should make. So don’t allow your trauma to permanently ruin your emotional stability and how you relate with others.

9. Start working on building closer relationships with people by listening to their needs, worries and concerns as well. You could develop a step-by-step approach on how to effectively communicate with others, how to let them in and meet their emotional needs as well.

10. Do not beat yourself up for your shortcomings and don’t try to change everything at once. Have a system/plan which takes you step by step without overwhelming yourself. Remember that this is a long process and your effort is much appreciated. Involve a close friend or partner or even a trusted family member so that they can act as your support system and also hold you accountable. Most importantly, remember that consistency is key! Don’t expect your partner or your friends to do the work for you.

By consciously working through your unhealthy patterns and triggers, you can create satisfying relationships. So don’t give up! This is your personal project-strive to take intentional steps towards healing and healthier relationships.


Kp_counseling (on IG)










via http://selfcharge.blogspot.co.ke

I used to believe in Love.

Now, am not so sure.

All I could think of when I heard the word was frankly something out of the Notebook, The fault in our stars or more relatable, the Vow. But what I didn’t consider was that Love doesn’t end there; with two partners and a life ahead of them; but also extends to partners we hold close to our hearts, those who we loosen up around and get awkward and downright mandazi (1) with them, those whom our love touch to care for and stand by, preferable over all others… you guessed it, Friends.

I’ve had my fair share of stories and experiences from others to amp the notion of ‘there is no such thing as “best friends”’ so for now am going to go with it. So that squad you’re willing to spend your quality time with, there is a connection that keeps you together and makes you prefer their company over anyone else’s. This connection exists regardless of there being any partner(s) involved or not; it’s a natural thing. There’s a clear line between a friend and an intimate munchkin pumpkin honey sweetie teddy bear cutie pie; you get my point. So you know who to go to when a little drama crosses your way. But you know, the thing about friendships, whether besties or accomplices, there is always the alpha of the group. The one whose needs comes first and whose likes are cherished to overrule that of the other(s). If you’ve never heard of this then ask yourself one question, would you go through all the trouble your friend(s) has gone through, favors done for you all to put a smile on their face?

If you don’t feel any entitlement to do all of them because hey, it was from their own free will, right? Yeah, know that you are the Alpha of that squad. If you’d do it all over again cause, come on, this is my squad you’re talking about here, well, am letting you know that your friend(s)’ amusement supercharges you to bend backwards and do things not less than amazing to achieve it. Let me rephrase, you’ll always be second priority. I know, unbelievable. But come to think about it….not really. I mean, do you even remember what you’d like to eat when you are in a restaurant, or is it cause your friend(s) also liked it at one point?
Please, don’t let me speak for you. Though am sure you know who you are between the two by now. As long as your friend(s) help(s) you forget about your struggles and keep(s) you smiling, it’s all good…right? #Food_for_thought

Hey, it’s okay. It’s simply how us humans were made. It’s totally normal for us to “serve” anyone we deem more awesome than ourselves, basic human psychology. No sweat. Except,  the Prophet aleyhi swalaatu wa salaam replied as such when he was asked who his best friend is, and he said, ‘Aisha’ (ra), who was her wife, and after being asked who followed, he added, ‘ Her father’, who was Abubakar (ra), referring him also from his wife. Now this is no special answer in the norm. But what’s fascinating about this reply is that Abubakar (ra), was the man who he travelled with after leaving his home town to another one, where they faced unlimited dangers and he even got stung by a scorpion for him. He was the man that accepted his message without a single ounce of hesitation when everyone around him scorned it. He was the man that believed the Prophet’s journey to the heavens and back in one night with no need of any proof. Scratch that, Abubakar (ra) was a very good friend of the prophet aleyhi salaam even before he became a prophet, and let’s not get into the number of battles he fought beside the prophet, upon him be peace. So what’s up? I mean, Bro, after all that?

What is up, is that even though their friendship was strong, Abubakar (ra) only met with him when they met, you know, see you when you see me. But his wife Aisha (ra), oh she met with him all the other times; not it be at his highest or lowest, happiest or saddest, be or not be. I mean she was inside his life just as deeply as he was in hers. See, the thing about marriage is that it takes you from the comforts of your house and privacy and puts you smack in the middle of someone else’s. Your personal space is not personal anymore, your schedule isn’t yours anymore, you have to worry about more than just you; cause you were just fine with how you were….In totality, you give up your previous life for this strange new one, with someone strange, all cooped up in a strange new space…Duude…But with time, with time a friendship brews. You start knowing each other, understanding, adapting, enduring…the displeasure, dislikes, repulsion of your opposite views slowly disintegrates as you battle life on each other’s side, standing by one another and being there for each other…It’s you Vs. the world, and alas, a bond more rigid than Love itself and its totality… a bond forged from the roots of Endurance, the stem of Friendship and the branches of Love… a bond soo unique the most richest of languages gave it its own name, Al Mawaddah(2), unbreakable…Subhanallah, praise be to the Most High.

Now you understand the Prophet aleyhi salaam’s answer, upon him be peace…Now you understand why he chose his wife over his life-long friend…Now you understand why she was his best friend…

Fascinated much?

This is the true meaning of friendship. Knowing each other to the core and having to deal, even if you don’t want to. And for this reason, is why, in this world of now, any other friendship will never be as equal sided, just like how 1400 years ago, a friendship that meant dying for one another could not match that of a wife, and her husband.

That bond, that is why I believed in love. I cannot still comprehend the intensity of the connection.

So, why halter in its belief now? I mean, what happened?

Stay tuned for Part 2 to find out…

1. Used to mean crazy stuff
2. Affection, love, friendliness
3. (ra) : May Allah be pleased with him/her

Photo Courtesy: http://www.loverofsadness.net/

By: Husna Lali

Remember the “Forever Alone” memes? Or the ‘mother’s’ joke that goes like “inner beauty doesn’t get you free drinks?” Not a joke anymore. Here’s why; but wait before we do please buckle up. This roller coaster will go only one way, up or down. Feel free to choose which one of the two. You’re either going to hate me for rubbing salt to that injury/ bruise that huge-like the China wall-ego and brand me a wannabe feminist or thank me for opening up your eyes to show you you deserve better/make you mend your ways.

It’s the 21st century,lower primary school kids have their ‘feelings’ all over the place, and mind you it is so normal it is frightening. I remember back in primary,having this huge crush that lasted ages, and by ages I mean years on a guy who got transferred to some other school and we never got to talk to each other way until early/almost mid 2012. Was he worth it?? Not so sure. Is it realistic?? Are you seriously waiting for an answer to that? Did I date him? Nope. But I did do some other guy. And by ‘do’ I mean go on a couple dates with him and isht.

I am going to talk about dating, and boyfriends/girlfriends and all these before marriage relationships. I won’t base it on religion. ‘nuf’s been said about that. From masjids, to IRE lessons to very strict parents who would make a very very big deal out of it to brothers who’d threaten to kick both your asses if he ever found you with some guy. I am going to base it on logic. It’s mind versus heart here. And the Genesis begins.

You know that thrill and those dopamine waterfalls that run through your nerves watering and blossoming each and every single fiber of your being? Crazy isn’t it? It went ahead and killed all your other logic senses and made you see the world in colors only you could paint, dreams only you could see and a language only you could speak and understand. You would be ready to sacrifice your own integrity and commitment just to see it work out, weren’t you? Well, been there done that. Fortunately or unfortunately I needed that just once to understand like really, it was all a mirage in this scorching desert called love. It was just some kind of a hypnosis that you seriously need to wake up from. Flick on that divergence switch and like Tris realize that it’s just a simulation. Unreal. (Divergent Fandom’s members will get this reference). It is all hormones getting excited and acting up like some chemical reactions/experiments you did in Chemistry and Physics.

Different people have different sets of DNA and other biological explanations on Genetists would care to point out. That we all know right? Ideally my levels of hormonal reactions and fluctuations are completely different from my sister’s even though we probably have a 51+% match. Again girls’ and guys’ hormones are also waaaay different from each other, making how we perceive to things differently. For example, a guy would take in pain and handle it differently from how a girl would. Makes total sense. So you can imagine how it does to a person who’s in love. Don’t get it twisted. I am for one, not against love. I absolutely love love. But is pursuing it worth my while? Is it going to diverge my focus from something that really matters, and capitulate me by gripping me with its demonic hands and make me a prisoner of my own being?

So you do fall in love, that cute guy from school, neighborhood, Facebook/Instagram, Friend of friend. The first weeks is all about the guy waiting for you to get online just so he can text you and tell you sweet words, cheesy lines and you get so invested in that relationship it turns out to be one of the very important things you got to do in a day.

I dare you to look back at such times, after you’ve been in a relationship for a few months, or give it years and then tell me if the thrill is still the same. In one way or another, interest is lost and by the time you realize it wasn’t worth it, it’s going to be too late; and a lot little.

I am going to point out only two reasons as to why you shouldn’t date; instead get married:

1) It’s a diversion to your life goals. As dead shot from comic says: “It’s a bullet to the brain (He meant love; but that’s just it). So you have goals in life; you want to be that teacher, media person, doctor, lawyer or engineer but you also wanna be that hopeless romantic actor, only this is a reality show. You can’t be two at the same time, as much as people claimthey can multi-task and isht. Take one step at a time and everything like the thought through chess pieces, will fit in the jigsaw of life.

As Lady Gaga says, if you ever think of choosing between your career and a love interest. Choose wisely because not a single day would you wake up to your career saying, “It’s over between you two” (Google the exact quote). I am not even a nerd, who would say I spend my free time studying, but I know that pursuing love is not worth this tie. That time will come, and when it comes you’ll know it.

Someone/some of you would say, it’s because I am afraid of love. That might be true. but then, putting all matters of the heart aside, why waste time on uncertainty, when there is the naked, crystal clear, staring right at you option of standardized certainty waiting for its turn to be coveted. Most of us have misunderstood or taken for granted what love is. Falling in love is not just falling for the appearance and the time spent together. Those are just spices to the word love. Love is devotion, caring, uplifting, compassion and most of all, building each other. You cannot be doing all this if you are diverging focus on what matters in life and call it love because come a time when shit is getting complicated, you can’t /won’t just rely on hormonal influx.

2) It’s definitely bound to become one sided. In a few-living together and merry making months of being in an illusion, one of you is obviously going to wake up and in turn burst the bubble. This could be because they realize the thrill is over, because yes, you let your guard down and got comfortable and there is no more masking your true self. And the other person becomes disinterested in the other, or it could be because they need to try out new things but you won’t do it with the one person you once found cute because there is another one ready to give just that. It doesn’t happen that way in a marriage and I am sure you know the “how’s the knot” narration because that union was built in a knot in the first place. It was meant to last forever in a marriage and you have witnesses. As for the dating period, it was just you, your boy friend and Iblis pumping his way down your vein. And this is where the one-sided love comes in.

I have been a Sydia shipper (the teen wolf fans will get this) since 2011 and believe me, I know the agony of waiting for someone to notice you, to notice your worth, to notice your existence in their life. As Stiles says, “unrequited love is a bitch.” So if it’s just a crush on a person, and it feels that way. How about someone whom you consider to be in a relationship with. FYI am talking about this on a shipper’s perspective; and it is tiring. You editing images of them and be like “one day yes.” “Drown your thirsty soul in the ocean!” says the little sensible voice,”because that thirst is unquenchable and you know it. “Get over it , and find yourself a Malia.

Guys (am not saying all) can be pretty much jerk-asses for all they know. The minute they know you’re into them, that’s like an agreement you cannot come out of. They can make you do stuff, (sometimes not even directly but they push you to) like post your half-naked pictures, post pictures of him, write your heart breaking story (after you are hurt) in the social media hoping that he will see it or someone will forward it to him yet all people will ever do is have pity and talk about you. Sweetheart, you’re a princess. Know your worth. Keep that head high because your tiara’s falling, for all the wrong reasons. By all means, if it’s anything that you should let fall, it’s that deadest of all weights you’ve been carrying around, waiting for it to realize your worth or even worse, making excuse for him while you’re at it.

There’s some post from @ silent perception, and it said something like, it’s not nature for a guy to sit around and let the girl do all the loving, caring and all devoting shit required in a relationship, while he sits around ignoring you like some celebrity who’s never met their fan. Most guys be ignoring their girlfriends because as they all put it, “Bro’s before hoes.” First, she’s not a hoe, and second, if you (lady) know your worth and have some self love and esteem, you would know there’s something called (“Homie-hoe-stasis”) and I bet we all know what that means. So the next time he avoids you severally in a row, and claims, he’s hanging out with some ‘bros’, just know he doesn’t deserve every second you’re wasting on him. Life is too short to waste on things that have no soul.

With this said, I might have seemed against loving/caring and giving your all in a relationship. Love, by all means love; but then again unless it’s passionate thrilling, satisfying, erotic and most of all mutual, there are so so so many mediocre things in life and love shouldn’t be one of them.

Photo Courtesy: Salem_Beliegraphy

Every word, every sound you make has great weight more than you can perceive. It’s like they have gravity in the air and a slip of the tongue could cost you your life. It is precisely why I don’t believe in ‘We are friends, remember? No please. No thank you. No sorry.’ In fact being a friend should give you more reason to say thank you, sorry and please. For I very well know the importance of these words. I know the impact they can make in another’s life. I know what it means like to be appreciated, being empathized or given your due respect. And most of all, I know what it feels like to know you are loved.

Unfortunately, this is where most of us go wrong. The assumptions we keep making about our loved ones, ‘ah, my mother loves me so much she will eventually forgive me’ or ‘He is my best friend, he won’t mind if I took this from him. I will inform him later.’ But these are the same kind of things that end up breaking people apart. The idea that someone will just understand you even without explaining yourself. It may be true; some people may understand your unsaid words, but have you ever thought of their unsaid words? That maybe your best friend didn’t really like it when you took his money without requesting for it? That maybe he just can’t face you and tell you that he needed it for something else? Or the fact that your mother was so deeply alarmed by your words yet you just assumed she will forgive you? Have you ever considered what it feels for her to forgive you even without you apologizing? As much as you may think that nothing may really go wrong when you are free with someone, do keep in mind that there is something called ‘long term frustrations.’ The more you take someone else’s emotions for granted, the more the pain builds up in them. However little the pain may be, it slowly keeps growing, whether it is in days, months or even years but it keeps building up and in the end comes that big fight that messes up everything created in years. It is in such situations that you may hear of two best friends or very close friends, or even family members who just stopped communicating for mysterious reasons. This is why; the fault in our communication.

I really admire people who speak out exactly what they feel about the second party; in fact I don’t mind being confronted with the truth someone has to say to me so long as they do it in a matured manner. This is because I really value my relationships with everyone and I would do anything to ensure they are only getting better. I’ve heard dear people call me names and such, but as much as I hurt I never hate them for what they say to me and about me. They are just showing me, the ME from their point of view and it is totally okay if their point of view is negative because you can’t really please everyone in the world. Nonetheless, they make me scrutinize myself more and want to rectify myself where necessary so that my relationship with them only gets better.

However, we have those who can’t really open up and it is upon you to think and feel for them. Put yourself in their shoes and imagine how it would be for you in such and such a situation. You don’t really have to be overly empathetic to understand anyone, you just need to act like a human being who has a soul. So without being reminded, remember to use the simple words like ‘please, sorry and thank you.’ Remember to think of other people’s emotions before yourself but yet still; without forgetting yourself entirely. Always remember to communicate!

Photo Courtesy: Unknown

We are in the 21st century and majority of the youth are either in love, in a relationship, married, confused or totally lost. This is one of the worst realities of us; the current era youth. Whereas at our age, our parents and grandparents could not dare court a girl, or at least make it public; nowadays that is the trend and actually without it, you are considered out of fashion or old fashioned. This whole ideology of love is actually what branches to a lot of other fitnah like zinah, sometimes drinking, clubbing and drugs, sometimes rebellion against parents and much more. We as the youth have revolutionized the concept of love; some have commercialized it and some have made it seem the filthiest word on earth yet love was originally pure in its earliest form whereby love meant respect to oneself, respect to the girl, respect to the parents of the girl and even respect to the whole world evolving around her. Love originally meant taking the main path to her parent’s house and knock at the door but now the youth decide to take on the short cut and sneak out the girl from her home via the window. This is where all immorality begins and all principles are broken. The youth however have their own many ways of justifying dating and all the impunity related with it, with the Western justification of ‘You Only Live Once’ (YOLO) quickly forgetting the promises God has kept for us for the hereafter. Nonetheless, we can never refute the reality of existence of love. As much as it is controllable, it is, most of the times, unavoidable. But actually the problem of the youth isn’t love but how to deal with it. When a young person goes to their parents and confesses about their love to a particular person, most parents immediately camouflage and become annoyed at the words of their children especially when it is a girl. Our society has made it seem that it is totally okay for a young man to actually talk to his parents about a girl he loves even when he is still very young for the responsibility of marriage. Parents would listen to him and advice him on waiting and all that but now, change the picture, let the girl of the same family same say the same words to her parents and they would be angry and never trust her again etcetera etcetera. The reality is, it has already happened; parents should actually appreciate that their daughter or son didn’t take action in his/her own hands but instead approached them so they can help her out. It is high time parents realized that the technology world is ruining us and that they need to have more of these heart to heart talks with their young ones. When parents keep it formal with their children without finding wise ways of teaching them how to teach them deal with adolescence and peer pressure, that’s when the youth explore the world themselves; totally submerged into the world of fantasy and forever love and dating and all that they see on televisions, internet and social media. This just shows the importance of parents giving room to their children to talk and express themselves freely; this actually saves a lot of trouble onwards. Khadija, Peace Be upon Her was the one who requested for the prophet to marry her, even though she was much older. It is no shame when a girl asks for her parents to do the same for her. The shame would be when we don’t teach our children how to deal with their emotions and what are the limits that should not be crossed.

However, another sad reality is that some parents don’t care or simply don’t mind when they see their sons taking out girls for dates or when they see their daughters preparing to go out; our own parents, who are supposed to be our role models, are drowning along with us.

So in this era of fitnah, the few responsible ones decide to marry early so as to avoid falling in sin. Yet still, even as they marry, they still have the corrupted Westernized ideology of marriage and take marriage like the dating life they see their pals going through and this is how we have several young people are getting divorced as fast as they got married. However, for others who approach their parents so as to marry, their parents tell them it’s too early and that they should wait until they are more responsible or done with studies etcetera; which is true, but nonetheless, the parents fail to realize that stopping their children from marrying or getting married when they want to, may lead to zinah. This is why the prophet p.b.u.h. said that whoever amongst us can marry then they should do so and this is because he knew the amount of fitnah the young people have to deal with.

Our religious leaders have the greater duty as much as parents to help and advice young people on how to deal with adolescence and peer pressure. Most sheikhs actually give lectures about these issues but they rarely give solutions; in fact many just criticize the actions of the youth which in return make them become even more rebellious towards the rulings of deen. Sheikhs have to choose a more gentle approach on how to advise the youth but most importantly, show and teach how to deal with this kind of fitnah Islamically. They have to bring themselves down to their level and talk the same language as we the youth do so that there can be more understanding between the two parties.

The Muslim lady in her hijab is the queen of Islam; the image portraying the identity of Islam, she is mother of tomorrow and the daughter of today. Society has always had this misconception that being a Muslim lady means getting married, having children and taking care of your family, which is totally true. Nonetheless, it is sad that the society is against the idea that a Muslim lady should have dreams or ambitions. It is rather puzzling that the society has the belief that when a Muslim lady is attached to her deen, then she wouldn’t bother venture into the world of knowledge and working and creating change but would just be confined to her husband, children and home. Again, the society have the belief that when a Muslim lady ventures into the world of work, then she is not really attached to her deen which is also totally so wrong. It is by this that a lady with dreams is often found in a tag of war between two worlds; the world evolving her deen and her career. And many would ask this question, ‘how do you balance the two; how do you balance your career and your deen?’ Many think that in order to be an ambitious career lady with dreams then you have to give up your deen and vice versa; which is what challenges the Muslim lady. In the career world, colleagues expect the Muslim lady to dress trendily or shake hands with non mahrams etcetera while in the Islamic world, she is expected to only concentrate in her home and family affairs only. Yet they forget how the sahabiyaat; Aishah, Fatima, Khadija peace be upon them, amongst others were active in all societal issues. Khadijah peace be upon her was a very successful business woman, Aishah peace be upon her was known for her knowledge of deen and memorization of ahadith. She, together with Aishah, Umm Salim and Umm Salit were proficient at nursing the wounded. Different sahabiyat accompanied the prophet peace be upon him on his military expeditions and took part in battles both on land and at sea. Asma’ bint Umais was famous for interpretation of dreams while Asma’ bint Yazid was an expert in making speeches. Khawlah, Maleekah, Thaqafiyah and Bint Fakhariyah used to trade in the oriental oil-based perfumes known as ‘itar (As explained in the book ‘Great Women of Islam by Mahmood Ahmad Ghadanfar). These are but a few of the Sahabiyat; there are many more who took part in both religious and societal issues. It is high time that the society realized that being a career woman doesn’t make her any lesser Muslimah or mother or wife or daughter; the two can very well be balanced. Instead of treading on with such ideologies, the Islamic society should appreciate the Muslim women who are trying to create change in our world; both Islamic and secular world. Muslims should instead create more comfortable job opportunities and environments for Muslim ladies to work within. They forget; teaching a woman is teaching the whole nation yet teaching a Muslim woman can as well be as teaching the whole universe. Let the Muslim ladies explore their talents and imaginations; let them build the society.

The challenges of Islam and Muslim youth could go on and on to fill a whole book due to the seriousness and complexity of the problems. Nonetheless, the general solution for all the named and unnamed problems is for Muslims to come and find solutions on common ground. As much as we have our many differences, we can never miss something of common interest to join us together and join our brains in finding genuine solutions to help Islam and Muslim youth. As Allah (S.W) says in the holy qur’an in surat Imran (103): ‘And hold fast, all of you together, to the rope of Allah and be not divided among yourselves…’ Truly, Allah (S.W) has said it well


By Lubnah Abdulhalim

Photo Courtesy: Salem_Beliegraphy

In life you will meet people who will be different from you; people with different perspectives of life, different thoughts, different lifestyles, different definitions of happiness and so much more. Not everyone is going to agree with you. Every person has their own journey so learn to respect the differences between you two.  They don’t have to be your enemies nor do you have to befriend them by force, just be okay with them in such a way that you are mature enough to respect the differences between you.

Whereas someone may declare you to be bossy someone else will just call the same thing as good leadership skills. Someone may declare you to be mean; another would call it a tough personality. Someone may call you a cry baby while someone would just call it as sensitivity. Someone may call you foolish while someone else would just see it as humbleness from you. Someone may declare you to have arrogance while to someone else that may as well be your smartness in disguise.

When a person is able to understand your pattern; your way of talking, your way of asking, your way of laughing, your language, your perception of issues and viewpoints without having to justify yourself, then those are the people to hold close in your life; because majority of the rest of the people you will come across in your life will always have the first negative instinct on everything that you do. Many will critique your work, your words and your actions. Many will twist all your positive intentions to be horrible ones. Many will judge you in odd ways but you have to accept the reality of it; that you will meet more and more such people. No need to hold a grudge against the person who doesn’t understand you for what you really are. No need to have hatred for those who hold twisted judgments of you. It happens, not only to you, but to everyone. But if you want to have eternal peace then learn to honestly forgive the differences between you and the other person/s because sometimes, it is not their fault that they don’t really get you. It could be their background or lifestyle or their environment that doesn’t allow them to see life the way you do. So do not hate; embrace the differences instead and make them your ‘okay people’.  You never know because sometimes, making peace with such people may give you both the space to study and understand other viewpoints from each other. You may be surprised to know that you could also learn a lot from your ‘okay people’ more than the people you freely bond with.

Life isn’t about finding the right people always but also learning to embrace the other people whom we don’t agree with by your differences. Respect your different viewpoints and learn to accept that not everyone will be on your side. You may not really love them and sometimes not even like them, but respect between you brings your relationship with them to a whole different level. Sometimes all you need is those two important things; respect and time and maybe you will also be able to accept your ‘okay people’ into your lives permanently. So give it time and appreciate all kind of people in your life. That is the way to find peace.