Positive vibes only… be positive… hang with positive people. Think positive, positive is the only way. When you’re positive and think positive thoughts, you’ll ultimately be a positive person and feel marvellous! Yaay!
Okay, that’s my exaggerated version of #PositiveVibesOnly
I hear the blogs, podcasts and coaches who say ‘surround yourself with positive people’. That if you want a great life, you need to hear positive words 24/7, 365 days of the year. But when you really think about it, everyone has a positive and a not so positive side.
Yes surround yourself with positivity – but what is that exactly?
Swap positivity with hope
I like to say positive means hope. On those days where you’re feeling really low, you don’t need someone to tell you
“Alright mate, cheer up fella , there are people who are starving in the world” *thumbs up* (I’m saying this in an Aussie accent, I have no idea why)
that irritates me to my core! Of course islamically, we’re supposed to take this advice and cheer up, but in all hindsight, it only aggravates us. Why?
Small talk is annoying
When we’re feeling down in the dumps, positivity ends up winding us up. It makes us feel worse, because deep down we’re thinking
“they’re absolutely right. I’m a terrible and selfish person to be feeling this way. How can I be so selfish”?!
and we end up beating ourselves up even more and thus sinking further into depression. Am I right?
But what if that same person said
“I know you’re feeling low right now, that you’re not worth it. It’s ok to feel this way. It’s going to get better, insha’Allah. I promise you. I believe in you”
How do you feel now?
(Notice how both phrases are in the positive, but only one acknowledges the problem and ultimately gives hope).
Islam teaches us about hope
If you’re a faithful reader of the Qu’ran (I hope you are insha’Allah), then you’ll notice that Allah always mentions the bad with the good and vice a versa. Take for example this ayah about backbiting;
“O Believers! Avoid immoderate suspicion for in some cases suspicion is a sin. Do not spy and backbite one another. Would any of you like to eat the flesh of his dead brother? Surely you would abhor it”. (Surah Al Hujurat 49:12).
Now you’ve probably come across this ayah at least once in your life and felt extremely guilty for backbiting a random sister (we’ve all done it). And then when you read the part about eating flesh… subhanAllah! Now the feeling of dread, guilt, shame, fear begins to run through your mind.
And when you keep thinking of it, the shame and guilt intensifies to the point that you don’t feel like praying because you feel SO guilty and ashamed that you think “how dare I stand in front of Allah after being so sinful”?
Well, those are the whisperings of shaytaan – that’s what he wants you to do. He wants you to fall off your deen, and stop praying. Your salah is a weapon against him (I hope it stabs him straight in the eye – if he has one).
But then what does Allah say at the end of this ayah?
“Fear Allah; for Allah is the Accepter of repentance, Merciful”
Allahuakbar! Allah gives us hope, a chance to redeem ourselves. He Subhanu wa ta’ala said, fear Him (the guilt is you fearing Allah), and then turn to Him in repentance and He will accept it because He Subhanu wa ta’ala is Merciful.
Like Allah said in another ayah “and man was created weak” (Surah An-Nisa 4:28).
Allah knows us better than we know ourselves. That’s why He Subhanu wa ta’ala gives us hope everytime we mess up. Yes Allah admonishes us, but our faith is a balance between fear and hope.
N.B. I’m not a scholar, these interpretations are mine. So any good that comes from this is from Allah alone and any mistake is from myself.
I’m not trying to say that positivity doesn’t work, and we should look to those who are worse off than us – but there are times when we hit rock bottom.
Sometimes we find ourselves in this hole and can’t find a way out. This is when we need the people around us, to lend us a ladder (hope), and not throw down pieces of paper with nice words on it (positive), hoping that it will get us out.
I hope this makes sense.
JazakAllah khayrun for reading.
Need a detox but don’t know where to start? Then subscribe (somewhere on the side) and download my 1 Week Detox Meal Plan.