Published On Productive Muslim
June 30th, 2015
This is the original version
Are You A Pushover?
Why Small Equals To HUGE
“You’ve become a doormat Lilly! You let people walk all over you, drain you and use you! And because you have the memory of a tiny gold fish, you never know when enough is really ENOUGH! Think of yourself and stop being such a pushover!”
Oops I’m sorry you had to hear that. Don’t mind my friend, she’s been a little cranky lately. Believe me that kind of anger usually stems from an insane amount of pain. Sometimes when people repeatedly get hurt by their loved ones, they end up shielding their hearts, terrified of getting hurt again, and refuse to submit to their compassionate natures. Slowly they become numb. They convince themselves that ‘strength’ is synonymous with ‘not caring’, when in fact it’s the exact opposite. A wise man once said, “Love and compassion are necessities not luxuries. Without them, humanity cannot survive.”
I understand why my friend steamed out like that, I actually hugged her instead of getting upset. Plus she makes the best chocolate desserts in the entire universe, so I really can’t afford to lose her LOL. (Yeah, newsflash: I’m obsessed with chocolates!)
I’m also obsessed with quotes, especially the ones based on Islamic teachings. Squeezing a relevant quote in the middle of a conversation makes me feel smart for some reason, I don’t know! Here’s another life-changing quote by a man named ‘unknown’ (See how smart I am?)
Watch your thoughts for they become words
Watch your words for they become actions
Watch your actions for they become habits
Watch your habits for they become character
Watch your character for it becomes your destiny
This statement is pure psychology, proven, tested, dissected and written about in hundreds of books. Come, I’ll show you…
The Definite Pattern:
“How can caring for others give me joy if no one cares about me? This theory is NOT true!”
A disapproving thought quickly turns to doubt or denial.
Thoughts turn to words.
“I’ve got my own mess to deal with so get out of my face!”
The negative thought is voiced out with anger to attack or repel others.
Words turn to action.
“You need to be selfish to survive in this jungle! Toughen up like the rest of us or you’ll be eaten alive!”
Justifications are given till discouraging yourself and others from helping the needy becomes effortless.
Actions become habits.
“Let others figure out how to get by, their problems can’t be our problems!”.
Loss of compassion changes a person. It leads to neglectfulness of our pure and kind inner beings.
Habit becomes character.
“A charity event? Man that’s good publicity! Make sure you take a picture of me hugging the sick kids and those sad wrinkly old people!”
Sometimes the only interest in kindness is shown is under the spotlight, where it’s time to show off how great and loving we are. Fakeness tarnishes genuine bonds of love and leads to a gruesome destiny.
Everything becomes about ‘you’, while you withhold the chance to put a smile on someone else’s face, even if it cost you nothing at all, thinking:
Why should I? I’m not a pushover!”
One Thing Leads To The Other:
Denial of truth à Repulsion à Discouraging people from helping othersà Negligence of our purity and inner goodnessà Showing Off à Selfishness to the point of withholding costless kindness à A miserable woeful life.
Hmmmmmmm interesting theory….
It’s not just the quotes. Take a look at the teachings of all the best-selling self-help books circulating millions of copies around the world. Their authors are celebrated professors, doctors and scientists. They spent years researching, studying and observing before cracking the code: The source of your happiness stems from making others happy. That’s pretty much the gist of it. But 1400 years ago, a blessed prophet who wasn’t a psychologist or a neurologist or a sociologist or any kind of ‘-ologist’ conveyed the Holy words of Allah, describing the same pattern that defines us till this day….
“Have you seen the one who denies the Recompense?
That is he who repulses the orphan (harshly),
And does not encourage the feeding of the poor.
So woe to those who pray
Who are neglectful of their prayers,
Those who make show [of their deeds]
And withhold [simple] assistance.”
(Surat Al Ma’un, Chapter 107, Holy Qur’an)
Don’t Underestimate Those Simple Acts
Just like abuse and bullying can have negative long-term effects on the society, where those in pain ‘pay it back’ with more hurt and anger, kindness can and will do the opposite of that if you ‘pay it forward’. We all have the humanity and compassion ‘gene’, and I just love the word ‘withhold’ in this Holy chapter because it perfectly describes how we suppress our kind-hearted natures when we deny the reality of this life. We forget we are all connected, and that the joy you spread will eventually find its way back to you. Life is a chain reaction. You and me have the power to conquer poverty, hunger, disease and wars by causing a ripple effect with one good selfless deed.
So the next time you pass by a poor homeless woman on the street and avoid eye-contact because it’s ‘awkward’; try pausing your busy life for a minute to ask “How can I help?”. We are the slaves of Allah and we have an important job to do people! We gotta help one another. And now is the best time to start coz guess who’s coming to town? The Holy Month Of Ramadan! SURPRISE! (I was gonna keep it as a secret but I couldn’t hold it in any longer LOL)
The 30-Day Kindness Challenge:
We plant trees to overcome pollution, take vitamins to beat fatigue, vacuum the house to clean the dust… it makes sense to conquer the negative with a positive, and what’s more beautiful than a fresh batch of hope to revive this Ummah? Investing in small acts of kindness this Ramadan should be our ultimate goal. Let’s show the world what Islam is and defeat the hate with love and mercy. It’s effortless, simple and free. You make someone happy which makes you feel better and makes the world a better place. Win. Win Win. This isn’t just about the mega bonus of Ramadan’s multiplied rewards! (Actually it SO is, who are we kidding?)
Here’s a list to get you started:
For Your Lovely Parents:
- Thank your mom every day for the food she cooked and make yummy noises! (Cooking while you’re fasting is not easy! Trust me)
- Ask your dad daily “What can I do to make your day better?”
For Your Precious Grandparents
- Umm hello! Call and visit them! Make them feel special before they’re gone.
For Your Spouse and Children
- Hide a note with a funny joke or compliment in your kids’ backpacks or clothes.
- Text your husband or wife saying ‘I Love You’.
- A minimum of three hugs a day for each member of the family (I’m serious! Sometimes all we need is a warm embrace)
For Relatives, Neighbors and Friends
- Send flowers (or Konafa) to a distant relative with a card saying “Just a little something to make you smile”
- Mown your neighbor’s lawn or wash their cars.
- Tell your friends how much they mean to you and make du’aa for them.
For Co-workers and Other Professions
- Bring homemade cookies to work (with chocolate chips please!) Don’t worry, we will save them till after Iftar!
- Praise clerks, assistants and workers and thank them for their hard work.
- Leave a nice comment on articles you enjoyed (Uhmm Hint Hint)
For Absolute Strangers
- Greet people with a smile (It’s a sunnah for God’s sake!)
- Give up your seat for an elderly or a pregnant woman.
- Hand out balloons to kids on the street
For God’s Beautiful Creations
- Leave a bowl of water outside for the birds. (That’s when I had to explain to my son why animals don’t fast)
- Make Tasbih (glorifying Allah) outdoors. Trees, insects, even the mountains and soil will join and bloom. (Does that sound weird?)
For Those In Dire Need of Ma’oun:
- Leave a couple of colors and coloring books in the waiting room of a public hospital.
- Do some fun story telling at an orphanage and bring them toys or snacks.
- Share a meal with a homeless person and sit with them on the ground.
- Listen to someone who is sad or lonely.
The ideas are endless. Just doing one simple act of kindness a day without expecting anything in return can truly change the world, and is beyond joyful and fulfilling. It’s in fact the number one reason behind success, inner peace and sound sleep! Helping others feel better is simply the meaning of happiness because…
“Is there any reward for good other than good?” (Surat Ar Rahman 55:60, Holy Qur’an)
So believe in your Lord’s promise, have compassion, pray from the heart and invest in those simple acts of kindness during this blessed Holy month.
And if that makes you a pushover, well….
Consider yourself the luckiest person on Earth for being one!
Lilly S. Mohsen