Changing For You, Or Because of You?

Dear readers: if you are a woman, proceed to read as is. If you are a man, feel free to replace every term “woman” with “man” (and vice versa), “sisters” with “brothers”, and “she” with “he”… this post will still remain completely relevant and applicable.

As If Paint Splattered

Dear sisters:

I do not know very much, but I do know this… A man may change for two reasons: for the woman, or because of her. There is a difference, if you’ll pause to think about it.

For

When he changes for her, it implies that had he not met her, the idea of personal change would not have occurred in the first place. It means that he thinks of reform to please her, because he knows that her acceptance of him is conditional on that missing character element. But this does not necessitate that he truly believes he should be this way in any case; it is with the intention of just to appease another. And sooner or later, he can – and often does – easily unravel to return home to his former self; his real self that never actually changed on the inside, which the outside had misled her to falsely assume.

Because

Now when a man changes because of a woman… this is a man who has been electrically inspired, or positively influenced, by a woman as she is… and being who she is, her existence encourages him to strive for what he also believes he should be. His change is deep, real, and courageous, because he does it from an inner conviction and successfully conquers his inner demons that had prevented him from changing earlier. Yet with or without her, he would have sought it out anyways – this inner good that was hidden from the world – and meeting her simply acted as a catalyst for that change, and likely many more. As they grow together in age, so will they grow together in their emotional and spiritual growth, for they have a shared divine vision; a vision that she believes in, that he believes in. His change is more than trying to sweep a lady off her feet. It is firmly rooted in something genuine.

But…

Story after novel after movie, we are shown how the “good” woman falls for the “bad” guy and yet luckily for her, he willingly changes to become the dashing man of her dreams. Rarely do we see the male character as delving back to his darker mood swings, his inconsiderate behaviors in the case of a dispute or typical argument; oh no! He is changed for good. (Thanks to the damsel’s graciously beautiful self, of course.)

Due to these constant messages we are bombarded with, young women, real women seeking real relationships, can be found trying to implement this “romantic” idea in their partners. Hence, a “good” girl will be attracted to a “bad” boy not because he is everything she’s not, but because she is everything he can be; because she hopes that he will change, for her. To her, this proves he is really in love with her, and once superficially changed on the outside to win her over, she is convinced he will ever remain the new and improved changed, good fellow.

Honey.

.

Don’t let the media and music industry lull you into false security where there are clear red danger signs. Many a man full of unpleasant and terrible traits is still charmingly able to put on an act – the act of a better man, a gentleman – and charm you by saying that you changed him. This will make your heart melt a little, as he knows it will. But what you need to shed light on – did he change for you, or because of you?

For me, because of me… what’s the difference?

It’s great that you realize there is a difference to begin with. In summary:

If he changes because of you, then thank your merciful God that He has chosen you to be an illuminating light and source of beautiful ease for someone’s difficult dark path. If your heart was already in it, then don’t be afraid to go ahead and give this sincere gentleman with the right intentions the love and support only you can uniquely give.

But if he has merely changed for you, and not for himself… not for God… then be very, very cautious. He may revert to his old ways at any time, and extinguish your light as he shatters the lamp that was your heart in the confusing process. And then you’ll realize… I should’ve known. He only changed for me, not because of me.

~

So most of my posts emphasize the wisdom of the heart’s instinct, but where your heart’s security itself is at risk, you’ll need to trust that overly rational, analytical, slightly dry voice that lives in your mind more and more. If it makes it any easier, just remember:

The mind can know precisely what is the case, but the heart is usually a little behind. Be patient with yourself; eventually it’ll catch up.

Splash of Paint

And Allah knows Best.

-A.S.

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Protecting Your Heart

“I want to darken in the skies… Open the floodgates up… I want to change my mind… I want to be enough…

I want to let the rain come down, make a brand new ground

Let the rain come down. Let the rain come down, make a brand new ground

Let the rain come down.” (Sara Bareilles)

Around the Corner

Do you know what I think is astonishing?

Never does a “bad” life event – defined as that which gives you unpleasant feelings in the pit of your stomach or emotional injury – occur, than it is rapidly or simultaneously followed by a flurry of goodness moments. The trick to letting the happy sprinkles of delight wash away the hurt needs a bit of practice to master – but once you learn it, it stays. That “trick” is to remain focused and aware on the certainty that right now is its own special gift; it is irrelevant to a month, day or even a minute ago; you are not alive to live it simply so you can relive the past, but to use it as an opportunity to seize whatever wild awesomeness is about to hit you.

Shams Tabrizi’s Rules of Love, Rule 28:

“The past is an interpretation. The future is an illusion. The world does not move through time as if it were a straight line, proceeding from the past to the future. Instead time moves through and within us, in endless spirals. Eternity does not mean infinite time, but simply timelessness. If you want to experience eternal illumination, put the past and the future out of your mind and remain within the present moment.”

Time and time again, I let “negative” experiences of disappointment, failure or heartbreak shadow the following days so darkly that I couldn’t appreciate sweet luxuries like the warmth of the sun, the soft gentle breeze, or even the blessed rain, on my face… as if I had no choice in the matter. But now, (I think) I know better.

.
Over the Highway

There is a pattern, you see – a pattern I have began noticing, a pattern of merciful opposites. No sooner does a heavy burden weigh me downwards than a positive force, in the form of a success, pleasant surprise, or interaction with a kindred spirit, suddenly materializes to lift me back up. Rarely is a deep, painful ache in my heart felt than it is quickly joined by a flock of colourful butterflies, overwhelming gratitude and a resulting serenity with their peaceful coexistence. It’s all about balance.

But none of that will make a difference, really, if you are determined to believe the world is out to get you. Those conflicting emotions in you will not strike an equilibrium if you won’t let them settle; instead, they will form a tornado or chaotic hurricane within. And even if the reality is such that the world really is out to get you, you can’t succumb to the dreaded fear that He is, too. The moment you think that God can’t love you, then simply, it doesn’t matter who else does. Do not believe in what destroys you.

a lie is simply a lie.

it draws its strength from belief.

stop believing in what hurts you.

-power (Nayyirah Waheed)

On the contrary; I believe God wants us to soar above our mediocre aspirations. He makes us grow through conflicting states, so that we may learn balance with our two wings.“We are far too easily pleased. God wants better things for us. He finds our desires not too strong, but too weak” (C. S. Lewis).

Increasingly, when a disappointment befalls me, I try to be more hopeful than ever. The harder the fall, the higher the rise will be, will it not? It’s a blessing to know that my heart is in none other than God’s hands.

He is the only One Who really understands how to best protect it, and so He is the Only One Who has the right to truly hold it. In better hands, my heart can never be.

Trust that God is protecting your heart.

Even when it feels like it’s shattering in pieces.

Gush

~
And Allah knows Best.

-A.S.

Leash For My Heart

Staircase Break

I found myself musing this week over the state of my heart when it wanders off.

Sometimes I’m on something I can only liken to a spiritual high. Not the highest, surely… but it is close to what I imagine bliss to feel like. There’s simply nothing that is able to shake me away from this tranquility, happiness and love.

But sometimes it’s not that magical. You wake up and all you can think about is the one topic, the one subject, that you know you shouldn’t even be stressing about… because it’s not in your control. You’ve done all you can do, and what’s left on your part is tawakkul. (Oh, that powerful one word: tawakkul… you’d think it would be as easy to carry out as it is to write.)

The heart is a wondrous thing, it can be pulled in such extremely opposite directions that I often wish I had some sort of mystical leash that I can wrap around it.

(Here, little hearty… come back here! You’ll hurt yourself.)

But sadly, these useful leashes do not exist.

Or do they?

Rope of God

I love metaphors because it gives me an opportunity to reflect deeply on them as my imagination runs wild. Since what popped out instantly to me in this verse is the idea of rope of God, I allowed my thoughts to leap across mountains & fly through the clouds, until something settled and made a little sense in my consciousness.

(Please be aware I am representing no opinions here but my own. And I am not a scholar of any sort.)

What if we were all people stuck at the bottom of a pitt, needing to be rescued? The presence of the rope alone will not benefit you – you must take action, grab the rope and climb it.

Good grip? Still not enough; you have to hold firmly with conviction. You must hold on to it with certainty, without ignorance or blind faith. You may not see what is at the other end of the rope, but you are confident it’s a way out. To do it half-heartedly and without passion is very dangerous; slipping off the rope is always there as a risk, if you don’t believe with all your might that holding on is worth it.

The rope of God”.  

Could the rope be the combination of the Qur’an & the Sunnah? Islam is inward and outward. If you don’t act while knowing something is the truth, you simply won’t benefit and will continue to wallow in your own self-pity. You’ll be stuck at the bottom of the pitt with the rope dangling down to you, but if you don’t have faith that what you have leads you to the Light, to tranquility & bliss, why would you bother holding onto the rope and climbing it to possible disappointment, gaining nothing more than blisters along the way?

Islam is not something you can have blind faith in. Sure, there are certain metaphysical matters you may need to take a leap of faith – with the understanding that humans are souls that are trapped in physical bodies, and thus, we do not and cannot perceive all. Yet we are given enough to see, to observe, and to contemplate whether Islam’s final Prophet (peace & blessings be upon him) is truly a sign from God, and is truly a mercy to mankind. It turns out, for me at least, he is. Grabbing onto that rope is suddenly a means to an end, and not the end goal itself.

Now suppose you are at the bottom of a pitt of hopelessness, but your dilemma is not faith-related. Rather, it is something worldly… your career is going downhill. You are overwhelmed with a million things you have committed to with very little time on your hands. Relationship problems. Health declining. Self-esteem. And much more…

The heart may wander off far away from you seeking reassurance to these things, and the biggest problem is, without control over your heart, you know it’s getting even more lost and in despair. All you can think is how useful it would be to have a rope around it… and drag it back where it should be… Where heart agrees with mind…

That rope. The rope of tawakkul. Are you finding it? Look for it, but remember that it may not only be dangling before your eyes, but it might even be inside of you.

Inward and outward. Hope also comes from within yourself.

Bouquet

And Allah knows Best.

A.S.