How to Find Courage to Help Others

In light of all the tragic and heart breaking events happening to people all around the world, of all faiths, I and many people reading this are infinitely blessed. Therefore, we can have a great amount of guilt and feelings of helplessness at the high level of suffering and plights happening around us.

Indeed, Prophet Muhammad says “Whoever wakes up safely in his home and is healthy in his body and has provisions for his day, would have acquired all the worldly possessions he is in need of.” (Al-Tirmidhi).

I am writing this though to help form a new lens. People around the world are being tested with losing their homes, their families, and their lives. Many are losing everything dear to them.  So then, what is our test while being blessed from head to toe with safety, shelter, food, and family? As well as countless other blessings…

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Our test is how we will use those blessings to make this world a better place. Showing our gratitude for the blessings God has entrusted us with by bringing more goodness to humanity.  Our test is what will we leave behind when we die and what kind of difference will we have made?

Let’s not be stopped by guilt, feelings of helplessness, and despair. Life goes on and we must join it. We must go on to cultivate courage and build a better world because that is our job. Yes, that is my job and your job and your neighbor’s job and ultimately, everyone’s job.

And it is He (God) who has made you successors upon the earth and has raised some of you above others in degrees (of rank) that He may try you through what He has given you”

Qur’an 6:165 

What are you responsible for?

Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said Every one of you is a shepherd and is responsible for his flock. The leader of people is a guardian and is responsible for his people. A man is the guardian of his family and he is responsible for them. A woman is the guardian of her husband’s home and his children and she is responsible for them…(Bukhari, Muslim).

Thus, once again we each hold a responsibility and the unbearable suffering we see happening in the world needs to move us and motivate us and push us to take on that responsibility and do our part.

Figure out your talent, your skills, your knowledge, and your experiences that you can use to help others around you. Do you write, speak, draw, design, educate, mentor, parent, fundraise, advocate? You can and will do something. You just need to find it and run with it.

Are you blessed with choice?

Each and every one of us may have reason to feel hatred, anger and fear, but we can absolutely choose to spread love, hope, and courage instead, in spite of all the suffering we see around us.

We can choose to advocate for justice, equality, and peace through respect, foresight, and wisdom.

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Choose to teach our children compassion, kindness, and empathy because we want them to live in a better world than we did.

We can choose to trust that in the end, there is An All-Seeing, All-Hearing, All-Compassionate God that is taking care of every single soul that walks this earth.

Choose hope. We can choose love. And we can choose courage.

And one of the greatest types of courage you may have to find is the courage within yourself to do what you were always meant to do, to use your God-given talents and blessings, to make this world a better place.

Find that courage, embrace it, and let it fuel your ability to make a profound difference for the betterment of humanity.

And if you’re still feeling fearful, uncertain, or anxious, please try the following steps to cultivate courage in order to build a better world:

1) Accept your fear

Fear is a natural human response that keeps us safe from life threatening situations. However, fear is also a ‘learned behavior’ which is fed by our environment such that our brain has almost become trained to be ‘fearful’. 

To ‘re-wire’ our brain, if you will, we need to accept and allow ourselves to feel our fears instead of avoid or fight them.  Then we need to ultimately face them, while of course keeping in mind safety of oneself and others as well as God given boundaries.

Most of the time and in this particular case, it is not the fear of wild animals or jumping out of airplanes which you suddenly have to overcome, but overcoming the fears which are common to many people such as the fear of failure, or fear of what others think, which stand as obstacles in our path to courage. 

And the way to overcome such fears is to simply go ahead and try, even if you ‘fail’, and even if others think negatively because at the end every ‘failure’ is a stepping stone, and ultimately we should not worry about the creation, when we have the Creator on our side.

2) Talk to a trusted person about your fear

Sometimes you don’t really know what your fears are or why you have them until you have a chance to discuss it with a trusted, experienced friend, coach, therapist, or mentor.  You may even wish to discuss it online if you wish to remain anonymous.

As adults, when you face certain situations, whether they be in your marriage, your parenting, or your work, and act in ways that ultimately demonstrate there is fear deep inside, you may need a trusted individual to help you dig back in and identify the events and feelings that caused that fear so you can overcome it and move on to demonstrate more healthy patterns of interactions with others in your future experiences.

3) Take the time to reflect

Taking the time to reflect and be mindful can help you overcome fears. Through our daily prayers and supplications, this can be best practice for getting over fear. When praying, share with the Creator of the Universe our deepest fears and ask Him to replace those fears with courage and strength.

Visualize yourself overcoming your fears and having more courage and doing the things you have always wanted to do knowing that they will bring goodness to humanity.  The mind is a great tool to reason with, but remember to not ignore what your heart is telling you about what you love to do and need to do.

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About Um Hadi
Um Hadi has BA in Psychology & Education and acquired certifications in Leadership, Life Coaching, Adults Training, and Relationship Coaching. She is currently completing her Masters in Educational Leadership.