Challenges Food for thought

‘Do not let it damage you’.

Hi Everyone!

We all are in this Covid19 dilemma together. Yet, many of you are facing even bigger battles, in your lives. Victims of domestic violence are stuck in their homes with hubby dear. Even worse, are those who are stuck with their husband and his family. Together, they all are having a ‘party’ at your expense!

As if that wasn’t enough, lately among Pakistanis there are families of the ill-fated plane crash on Jummat ul wida, who are suffering helplessly.

These days people in USA are fighting another battle of hatred and lawlessness, it is so sad. To be targeted due to color of a person’s skin, is the most primitive behavior. To witness this in the most advanced of countries, who talk about ‘human rights’, is so funny.

Wherever you are, whatever you are doing, there are more challenges to be faced on a daily basis. As I write, last evening, there were two serious issues pertaining to my staff.: one of them is facing a great turmoil. Then, late night, I found out that my manager at my father’s farm has passed away suddenly. So, now, while getting a mare for the farm, I’ll be looking for another manager also. I’m all prayers for them and their families.

I realized, that while it is hard to suffer yourself, it is equally hard to watch the sufferings of your staff, after all we are deeply connected.

Payers and good wishes for all. Hold on tightly. Take a deep breath.

This, too shall pass …. making way for the next challenge! 😉

Lets say, it is about tolerating intolerable things in your life, day in and day out.

I feel for you. This post is for you. I’m sharing something that I learnt from my father, Brig. Sarfaraz Khan, a theory which helps you in facing bad times.

A powerful theory to protect you:

I came upon it, when I was going through a very rough patch in my life. Usually, I never shared with him, and dealt with my problems alone. But this time, when he found out, he said these words to me.

‘Do not let it damage you!’

The most important realization that comes with these words is that you realize that your own well-being  is in your hands!

My father knew what he was talking about. He didn’t have to tell me. I knew that no matter what you or I could be going through today, it couldn’t be worse than what he had been through:

  • He had fought in two wars: the ‘1965 war and 1971 war. Yes, he was a ghazi. Brig Mumtaz, who fought with him at the battle fields, said, ‘your father is one of the bravest officers I’ve ever seen!’ I believe, he Brig. Mumtaz, himself was also a very brave officer too.  Remember when he came to visit my father, here?  
  • My father was an infantry officer. My mother called them ‘gun fodder’. Meaning that they are the food for guns. Being in the front lines, they would be the first ones to get injured or killed. My father once described how people would be falling all around him at the battlefield. No one knew who would be next.
  • In the POW camps in India, my father was taken to the Tihar jail for over one month, where he was given solitary confinement. It is one of the worst ways to torture a person, along with continuous interrogation. Yet, he came out of it without any traces of torture, while many had lost their minds.

My father came home, a man who was ready to laugh and be loving, and he himself joked about his experiences. He told us many funny incidents in the POW camps. Yes, he found humor in those experiences too. Perhaps that itself is the biggest tip; to be able to laugh at yourself and your circumstances.

You too can find funny aspects in your story. You can find many reasons to have a good laugh at them. Being a proud soldier and a Rajput, I know what a deep blow it was for him. Yet, he took it all as a man. For years, he shaved off his mustache, to remind himself. He had his own ways of dealing with his pain.

You and I will find our own ways of dealing with our painful situations.

My father’s theory worked:

He lived to be ninety-two years old, having lived a full life, according to his own principles.

So, no matter what another person tries to do to you, it is in your power to be unaffected by it. Protect yourself.

Nelson Mandela came out of his twenty eight years of imprisonment to become the head of his home country, South Africa.

Best example of this theory:

The biggest one is that of Nelson Mandela. After twenty-eight years in jail, when asked how it felt to be free, he said that he had always been free. He hadn’t been ‘jailed’. He kept his spirits high for all those twenty eight years of imprisonment; keeping himself free while helping himself develop a wisdom from his experiences. He loved singing, and political interests were also secondary to him. He kept his spirits so high that he was even good to the guards who were paid to be unkind to him!

When he came out, he made sure that he left all bitter memories behind.

‘Otherwise’, he said, ‘I wouldn’t be free.’

How to not get damaged:

After hearing these words from my father, I figured it out myself. You can figure it out yourself too. Only you know what works for you.  

Here are some ways that I’ve found very useful:

  1. Any recurring situation: when it happens next, close yourself from inside. Put a see-through glass between the person and yourself so whatever the person is intending on you, won’t ‘touch’ you.
  2. If the person is abusive: put a mirror between yourself and that person (in your mind of course!) This means that person’s abuse will get reflected back to him or her. Even when you are far from that person, imagine a mirror between yourself and that person, keeping the reflective side towards that person. Do this exercise for about ten to twenty minutes, later on too if possible.
  3. Napoleon Hill would say that you must keep a ‘safe place’ for your inner self where you don’t allow anyone else. Just sit there, when the whole world is crashing around you. You are unaffected.
  4. Try to see the funny side of a situation. Laugh at yourself and others if you need to. Enjoy it. Its okay.
  5. Remember, all this will be over, in a few hours, days, weeks, months or years. You must preserve yourself for better times to come. Make sure that you use the Powerful Weekly Plan here, and take special care of yourself while going through your bad times, eat, sleep and exercise well so you are in best form to face your challenge.
  6. Learn something new that you always wanted to learn. Preferably, skill which will help you deal with current events and issues. So, later on you will remember it as the time you learnt poetry of Iqbal, Holy Quran sessions, a computer program, a language, or listen to motivational videos of Robin Sharma, Qasim Ali Shah, B K Shivani, who are all my favorites. You can find your own, on any subject. This process itself will divert and protect you.
  7. When someone is being abusive, read auzo billa he minash shaitan nirrajeem! It is extremely powerful. Even read it aloud if needed. (It is the devil that is making your adversary do these things.)
  8. Read two naffals namaz often. Say tahajjad prayers and ask Allah’s help directly.
  9. Repeat the word ‘Allah’ slowly in your heart. Read La haula wala quwwata… , ayat-e-kareema, and hasbi Allah ho wa nemal waqeel as often as possible.  
  10. Seek every help you can find, online and offline. Reach out, speak out, do every possible thing. Meet specialists, or seek them out online. Get expert help. Also remember, every ‘expert’ isn’t an expert if what he or she says isn’t working for you. Go and find another source.

Meanwhile, do not let it damage you!

My Reader, stay safe, protected and blessed. ?

PS: This is a salute to the grace with which Syra is reacting to her personal life events these days …

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  1. Shazia Akram says:

    Brilliant! When I read your written piece”Don’t let it damage you” I felt so relaxed.You are really a GEM.Your father was a great man.I have also read your article on him and I was impressed that someone can be even so positive.May Allah grant him highest places in Jannah.Ameen.

    1. Shireen Gheba Najib says:

      Dear Shazia Akram,

      I’m so glad you found it brilliant. It is the key to having a successful life, and I feel good to know that you and rest of my readers got that message. This means that it will certainly be of help to you in your life. It certainly has been in mine. That’s why I wanted to share with my readers.

      Stay blessed and protected,
      Shireen Gheba.

  2. Umair Hussain says:

    “Do not let it damage you” kind of
    self-defense to anybody who is surviving though time in their lives. God bless you for this spectacular content. I owe you ma’am.

    1. Shireen Gheba Najib says:

      Dear Umair Hussain,

      Thank you so much for your appreciation. I am so glad you liked it and found it worthwhile, just as I’ve done it in my life.

      All the best!


  3. Wanted to reply to this beautiful meaningful heartfelt manuscript in detail
    Some how another me and my daughter needed this closure
    Do not let it damage you.
    Shireen who knows better than you how Allah ease and relief and put ointment on bruised heart.
    Subhaan Allah
    On the fourth day of Eid Naqsh got engaged.
    I wish you could see the happiness in her eyes the way I see. And that happiness is mending me and my husband bruised hearts. Shukar Alhamdolilah
    I specially gave Naqsh to read this article of yours
    Thank you for sparing your precious time for readers like us
    I am so sorry due to busy routine couldn’t commented on your few blogs but I couldn’t resisted myself to comment on this one
    I loved it thoroughly.
    Stay safe healthy and blessed.
    You know I love you. ❤️

    1. Shireen Gheba Najib says:

      My Dearest Kiran,
      You have a way of making me realize that in the end it is all worthwhile. If a blog post has managed to heal even one heart, then it is worth all the effort that goes into making it a reality.

      My heart has been healed by others who took the time out to write books, or speak to me. By the same token, it gives me so much happiness to know, my words did make a difference for you. No matter how independent and ‘complete’ we appear, we all need words to heal us. Thank you so much to make me feel so wonderful with your words.

      Can’t express how happy I am for you and your wonderful family. May Allah bless and protect each one of you, grant you all the happiness in the world, and give you long life to witness all the happiness.

      Love and hugs,


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