Maggie has a wounded heart, an old wound that has never healed. If we push her to invite the one to gave her the wound to her house and serve her freshly cooked food along with a broad smile, then we’re oppressing her. Let Maggie’s wound heal first.
How does Maggie heal her wounded heart?
When my sister was about a year old, she had a minor accident. She’d learned to walk quite early, and would roam around the house causing havoc when my mother wasn’t looking.
So one day, my mother left a pot of boiled water, and somehow my sister managed to reach it. She touched the pot’s rim with her wrist, and ouch! She got a serious burn, which soon formed into a scab.
What happened next is my sister developed a curiosity for the scab, and started to pick at it. No wonder it took a long time for her wrist to heal, longer than if she’d left it alone.
Wounds of the heart resemble physical wounds in many ways, and this is one of them. If you keep picking at it, it won’t heal.
In the last article, we saw how Maggie received some serious psychological hurts from her relatives when she accepted Islam. Even after many years have passed, Maggie still doesn’t feel healed. Instead, sometimes the hurt feels as fresh as it used to be when she was first wounded.
Why? Because Maggie won’t let it heal. She keeps picking at her hurt. She picks at it every time she tells herself that she should forgive them, when she feels guilty for feeling hurt after all this time. She picks on it every time she goes to see them and forces herself to smile at them and plays along with their pretense of innocence.
So the advice that I would give Maggie is:
1- Stop Picking at Your Wound
Let yourself feel hurt. Stop pretending. Acknowledge that the wound exists, or else you will keep carelessly bumping into it. Don’t feel guilty for having the wound. It’s not your fault.
Don’t push it. Give your wound time to heal. Leave it alone.
After the final conquest of Makkah, the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) became perfectly normal with almost everyone who accepted Islam. Except the killer of Hamzah. Though he did pardon Wahshi’s punishment, the Prophet was so disturbed after the murder of Hamzah, so grief-stricken, that he couldn’t forget it.
Despite Wahshi becoming a Muslim, he couldn’t see him without remembering the tragedy. In fact, after taking his pledge, he requested him not to show his face again.
If it were us, we might argue that we should become best friends with someone who accepts Islam no matter how bad he used to be, because now they are our brother or sister. But in fact, the Prophet’s reluctance perhaps indicates that there are limits to what our hearts can bear, and going beyond that entails oppressing one’s self.
2- Talk to a Counselor or Psychologist
Once you acknowledge the genuineness of the hurt, it’s time to take steps to heal it. A psychologist will help you through the healing process, just like a doctor helps you heal from physical injuries.
A word of caution: Before choosing a psychologist, make sure they understand your religious values.
3- Face it
If possible, have a direct confrontation with the ones who hurt you. As a believer, we should never be rude or revengeful, and it’s possible to have a confrontation without doing so.
Example: “Remember the time when you shut the door on my face, Auntie? I still have flashbacks of it and it makes me hurt, every single time.”
This can be the easiest way to end the conflict once and for all, but it is not recommended for every situation though. Sometimes it can leave you with a greater wound. Your psychologist will be able to help you decide what course to take with them.
4- Let Allah’s Rewards Tempt You
Allah doesn’t burden us by making forgiveness of our oppressors mandatory on us, but He does promise great rewards for the ones who are able to achieve that great feat.
O you who have believed, indeed, among your wives and your children are enemies to you, so beware of them. But if you pardon and overlook and forgive – then indeed, Allah is Forgiving and Merciful. (64:14)
The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said:
Be merciful to others and you will receive mercy. Forgive others and Allah will forgive you. (Musnad Aḥmad 7001, Daily Hadith Online)
Remember that we are all human, and we all have our flaws. May be your flaw is different from mine, and may be my flaws are different from those of my relatives.
How would we like it if Allah overlooked our flaws and entered us into Paradise?
Let that be a potent encouragement in your path to healing and forgiveness.