What is my strength?
Autumn leaves always remind me of change; of shedding those leaves (and parts of our lives) which are outdated.
To get ready to make space for what is to come into our lives. It is a time to ponder and realize…
Last week, I realized that it is important to define ones’ self. Asking questions like: How do I see myself? (All those ‘selfies’ only show my outer self.)
What am I inside? How do I want to be remembered? Lately, – after the passing away of my husband – I’ve realized I’ve started taking pride in my ability to face great hardships and overcame them. Its almost become my identity.
Even now, almost six years on, I’ve taken pride in being able to face any issue that I’ve had. Well, great. But, is it my identity? Am I just a ‘superwoman’? It is now a habit to be sorting and solving problems all the time.
Yesterday my daughter caught me setting a problem straight between two men. It had nothing to do with me, but there I was trying to sort it out for them. Waliya just cut me short. ‘Mum they are two men, the problem is their problem, stop going out to solve their problem. They should do it themselves. You have enough of your own!’
She was so right!
This is what happens when solving problems becomes your identity, then you start looking out for other’s problems to solve! I’ve got to tell myself to ….…. back off!
It is important to realize that problems and solving them is just a part of one’s life. It isn’t life itself nor my identity. It is definitely not what defines me.
The bigger question is: ‘Am I getting side-tracked?’ It is important to dig deep within one’s self to see where one stands. This brings us to find the point where we have to find; ‘What is my innermost strength?’
So, in short when you start defining yourself with your job, family members, friends, or spouse or loved ones – when they leave you or are getting busy elsewhere, you get shattered and break down. Hence the rise in suicide rates in Pakistan.
I’m trying to make a very important point here.
You know something? I’ve known persons from the forces, being quite shattered due to husband’s retirement. They find it so hard to get adjusted to ‘normal’ life. My friend Riffat told me, ‘my friend had a nervous breakdown when her husband retired from the army.’ Imagine. This happens when all those facilities go to your head. Then when that position is taken away, where do you stand?
I remember, when my husband went into hospital, when he was terminally ill. I had to face many problems all at once. On top of all that, a couple of months earlier, I had joined evening classes for MBA and had also started work on a book to be published in USA. So, now my life got tougher and harder. I felt as if I was up against a wall. But in hindsight, yet, it was these two things which also picked me up. I had to work it all out somehow. I was given a bit of leverage by them. Working on these commitments, made me ‘forget’ my predicament. The ability to do them gave me the strength to realize that my mind can still work! The results of my exams gave me a thrill to know that in spite of my circumstances I was somehow working it out.
Working on challenging projects, truly help one to rise and get stronger. Yes, it is a good thing to define yourself in several strong ways.
Take the example of Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah, he was a full-fledged lawyer, however, he gave his life to something higher – the independence of Pakistan. Similarly, Allama Iqbal was a lawyer, why did he have to go into such strong type of poetry which would ultimately bring freedom to the Muslims of the Sub-continent? Yes, that was a worthy identity for him, than that of being just a lawyer. It is the same of all the great personalities of the world. They all had an identity which proved them to be ‘higher’ than ordinary individuals.
It is the belief in focusing one’s life towards the making of something beneficial to the people around you. Yes, that became their identities – not the lawyer or barrister part of their lives, but the leader of people of India. It has been the same for all leaders.
So, in our own small ways, we have to look into ourselves and realize our own identities and not to confuse these with the other parts of ourselves and our lives.
Bulle Shah put it very well…
Kee janan mein kaun?
How do I know, who I am?
Stay blessed and hope we find the right answer. 🙂
World is an illusion and we often associate our happiness with things or people. The big mansions, the shiny luxury cars, cash in the bank, fame , love and recognition make us feel that we are going on the right track and these materialistic things and temporary relationships define our identity as well. However, at the very end of the day, we realize that despite having every single thing, we feel so hollow and shallow inside. Our heart becomes like an abyss and we work like robots. Our sense of purpose and identity gets lost somewhere. Many people don`t even think about it and many ignore it because it is tough to find your own self as the saying goes, ” the longest journey is the the journey inward.” Indeed a great and introspective write-up, it was pleasure reading it. Stay blessed.
Dearest Javeria, you have overwhelmed me with your grip on the whole concept. Thank you so much for putting it all so beautifully. You have really encouraged me, and your appreciation has made my day! May Allah grant you health, happiness, prosperity and may your journey be successful. Ameen.