In this counseling answer:
• You may need to address your past abuse of being bullied.
• Return to your counselor and discuss with him the fact that you still feel very much depressed and continue to suffer from low self-esteem.
• Widen your Islamic social circle in order to meet a variety of Muslims.
As-Salamu ‘Alaykum brother,
Thank you for writing to us with your concerns. It is common for many young men (and women) to feel rather insecure, have some low self-esteem and/or suffer from some degree of insecurity. However, you mentioned you have a history of being bullied, which may amplify these feelings as well as causing other emotional and mental distress regarding your concept of self.
The Effects of Bullying
Bullying is abuse and can have long-term effects. According to the American Academy of Experts in Traumatic Stress, bullying can lead to ‘Anger, Depression, Anxious avoidance of settings in which bullying may occur, greater incidence of illness, lower grades than non-bullied peers, suicidal thoughts and feelings, reduced occupational opportunities, lingering feelings of anger and bitterness, desire for revenge, difficulty trusting people, interpersonal difficulties, including fear and avoidance of new social situations, increased tendency to be a loner, perception of self as easy to victimize, overly sensitive, and thin-skinned, self-esteem problems (don’t think well of self), and increased incidence of continued bullying and victimization”.
While you may experience some of these symptoms as well as others that are not listed, the point my dear brother is that you may need to address your past abuse of being bullied. Bullying often occurs at a time in a young person’s life when he/she is formulating their self-concepts. If not resolved, these negative self-concepts induced by bullying can carry on into adult life.
Check out this counseling audio:
I suggest dear brother that you return to your counselor and discuss with him the fact that you still feel very much depressed and continue to suffer from low self-esteem. Therapy is of utmost importance and may need to be modified.
I would also like for you in sha’ Allah to sit down and take a serious look at yourself and your life. I want you to separate the true you from the negative messages you have heard since you were young. I would ask you to write a list of all your good qualities, all the kind, charitable acts you have done, all the ways you have succeeded in academia, jobs and family relations while also listing the things you can bring to a marriage. I am confident that once you clear out the negative messages in your head, you will see the truly wonderful man you are.
In addition, taking assertive training classes is a proactive way to learn ways of speaking and interacting with others that will empower you to have healthy boundaries. Get your social and other needs met, and function with others at a higher level. You will gain a lot of confidence if you master the skills of assertiveness. By becoming assertive, you will not only gain confidence, but you will be able to better define and assess your strengths and improve upon any goal you may have (such as marriage) for assertiveness improves one’s sense of direction and ability in life.
Widen Your Social Circle
While I agree with you that many sisters have ridiculously high expectations, there are many sisters who do not and are more grounded and realistic in their needs for a spouse. Those with high expectations may define themselves single in later years, as often, these standards are too high to meet.
I suggest in sha’ Allah that you widen your Islamic social circle in order to meet a variety of Muslims who may be more down to earth in their requirements of a spouse. The US is big, so you will have a variety of choices, cultures, and locations to explore. Utilize your local mosque for assistance in finding a compatible mate, or look into your local Meet Up groups for Muslims in your area. However, I would suggest that you first resolve your self-esteem issues, begin to love yourself for all your fine qualities and seek to strengthen your relationship with Allah (SWT) and ask for His mercy and guidance as well. As we’re in Ramadan, now is a perfect time!
We wish you the best dear brother. Please let us know how you are doing. You are in our prayers.
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.