In this counseling answer:
“Your self-awareness is a huge first step towards personal growth. Below, you will find some practical steps you can take to continue to refine your character.”
As-Salamu ‘Aleikom sister,
First of all, it’s wonderful that you are asking this question. You have a strong desire to beautify your character further, with a desire to feel good about who you are and also a desire to put people at ease when you meet them by coming across as friendly. Your self-awareness is a huge first step towards personal growth. The fact that you have already been practising the discipline of “silencing your mouth”, as you said, so as not to say words that aren’t positive for your Hereafter is further a reflection of the faith in your heart, ma sha’ Allah.
Here are some practical steps you can take to continue to refine your character.
You can be silent, but you can smile and your eyes can be kind. When you see someone from afar, even without speaking, you can smile at them. Make it a habit to be a smiling person who exudes warmth and safety to others.
To take this a step further, make a silent du’aa’ for someone you see as you pass them. They will never know you have made a du’aa’ for them, but your heart will be busy thinking positive thoughts of other people.This energy will inevitably benefit you and those around you.
2) Walk like a queen
A queen, I like to imagine, is poised, strong, and wise but also incredibly feminine. She carries her feminine energy with dignity. When she walks, it’s with dignity. When she speaks, it’s with dignity. When she interacts with others, it’s done in a dignified manner that is also authentic to her personality.
The redeeming quality is dignity. I think of Khadeeja, Mother of the Believers, like this. I think of ‘Aisha like this. I imagine Fatima like this. All women with different personalities, strengths, levels of expression and talents yet all dignified.
Imagine for a moment that you were a queen. Right now, I’d like you to sit like her. How does a queen sit? Does she slump her shoulders? Or sit with her back straight? How would you hold your head? Would your jaw be clenched or relaxed? How does she walk upon the earth?
3) Explore Your Beliefs about Being Feminine
Imagine for a moment life without you “walking like a man” or cursing or exerting masculine energy in general. If that was gone, what would you feel?
Sometimes, women take on tougher qualities because being tough developed as a survival mechanism. Coming across as more tough can be an attempt to protect yourself from what you feel is your weaker side – being more feminine.
To understand why masculine energy dominates your life now, consider fully your beliefs about being feminine. You can do this by completing the following exercise in a journal:
Complete each sentence without over thinking or pausing to think about what the answer should be. Just answer without it comes out. Some of these repeat on purpose to see what answers develop as you move deeper into the exercise.
Being feminine means….
If I were more feminine I might end up….
Masculine energy means…
If I was more feminine I might end up…
Being feminine means…
Being strong means I have to….
Women are never supposed to ….
Men are never supposed to…
Being feminine means I always have to…
Being feminine means…
Once you’ve completed this exercise, find out if anything is surprising to you and stands out. What have you learned about yourself? Which of these beliefs could you challenge?
4) Choose a Role Model
Is there another woman who you really admire? Whether that is someone from the past or the present, finding a role model is a great way to inspire change within ourselves.
When we love characteristics in another person, we can study them and test out adopting some of the things about them we admire most while still remaining true to ourselves.
For example, I have a friend who is extremely warm and friendly and seems to make friends everywhere she goes. I admire her warmth so much ma sha’ Allah. So, I work on becoming more like her. Even when I fall short, I have discovered that channelling her in my mind has supported me in being more vulnerable in giving warmth, kindness, and openness to strangers and people I don’t know very well.
One of the very reasons that the life of our Prophet Muhammad (saw) and his companions, both the men and the women, has been left in such detailed records is so that we can also model ourselves after them. Perhaps you can take some time out to watch a video about them and find some inspiration to work with this week.
5) Influence Your Record
As you know, everything we say and do is recorded by angels. If you remember that the words you speak are written down, it may help you decide to refrain from using words that aren’t dignified. Remembering this can also further inspire you to even more good deeds knowing that they will be recorded for you.
“Man does not utter any word except that with him is an observer prepared [to record].” (50: 18)
As human beings, we are always a work in progress. While you focus on your personal growth, make note of what you are doing right, what gifts you are blessed with, and all that makes you a beautiful person.
May Allah (swt) bless you to develop your character and being in a manner which is pleasing to Him and fills you with contentment and confidence.
Disclaimer: The conceptualization and recommendations stated in this response are very general and purely based on the limited information provided in the question. In no event shall AboutIslam, its counselors or employees be held liable for any damages that may arise from your decision in the use of our services.