Self-development, which is difficult to attain without first mastering self esteem, is an important skill designed to help you live your best life.
Self-esteem helps us build a support network to help us through the daily setbacks that are a part of life. Self esteem is how a person feels about themselves. It develops over time and with experiences, but it can also decline.
Thus making sure that your self-esteem remains high is something that we must work on every single day. Making this commitment can sometimes be exceedingly difficult.
However at some point in time, we come to the realization that we must treat ourselves with respect and kindness, and in addition to this we must treat those around us with the same respect and kindness.
Having true faith gives us an advantage over those without faith. Kind treatment and respect are the mainstays of Islamic manners. Muslims believe that Islam is a way of life and that God knows what is good for us and has accordingly set out guidelines that can only be of benefit.
Sometimes we struggle to understand what good can come from things that make us sad or embarrassed. But as believers, we know that everything God expects from us is good and for our own benefit, and He will never ever put us through something we are not able to bear.
Indeed amazing are the affairs of a believer! They are all for his benefit. If he is granted ease then he is thankful, and this is good for him. And if he is afflicted with a hardship, he perseveres, and this is good for him. (Muslim)
God does not burden any human being with more than he can bear. (Quran 2:286)
Many adults may have read the words ’embarrassed and sad’ in the previous paragraph and taken offense thinking that worshiping God does neither of those two things, which of course is totally correct.
But I urge you think back to your youth and remember how hard it is feeling conflicted about what you want to do and what your friends want to do.
Try to remember the even harder dilemma of combining everything you want or need, with the demands of your parents and schools, and your obligations as a believer. High self esteem helps us prioritize the important things.
Having complete trust in God and understanding that He wants the best for us is the first step towards a fulfilling life.
Build Your Self Esteem
The second step is to work on building your self-esteem. When you feel good about yourself, you feel good about your decisions and your lifestyle.
Building skills and knowledge are important ways of transitioning into adulthood. We would be wrong to think that Quran does not address these issues. Or think that Prophet Muhammad did not understand that the leap from childhood to adulthood is a difficult period.
There are many websites and books for young adults and teenagers that offer advice about raising self esteem. Most of them offer good, sound advice, often with psychological evidence to back up their claims.
However, not many of them offer Islamic advice, or draw parallels between modern day psychology and the traditions of Prophet Muhammad. It is never too late to change the way you think about yourself, nor is it ever too late to start implementing ways to build your self-worth and self esteem.
Try not to think about yourself in a negative light. Instead of thinking about your less desirable traits, focus more on your good points. List them if you need to and look at them written down on paper. If you begin to criticize yourself, stop immediately. If you are really finding it difficult to recognize your good qualities focus on the things you think are your least bad qualities, and go from there.
Sometimes negative thinking is so entrenched; it is a hard habit to break. Negativity is a dangerous perception, it colors your thinking and paints everything in a bad light. So try to distance yourself from people who are negative all the time.
While our own thoughts are very powerful and can reverse the negativity around us and have the ability to change things for the better, constant negativity is able to change things for the worse.
Recognizing that your characteristics and traits are God given allows you to see the positive aspects of your life, and be grateful and optimistic about the present and the future.
Positive thinking and an optimistic outlook can become a fortification against depression and anxiety, and the many other ills that plague the 21st century world.
Prophet Muhammad was a beacon for the power of positive thinking. He was always optimistic, even when he was warning the people about the consequences of sinful behavior. He also gave us excellent advice about positive thinking, reminding us to think good thoughts, be hopeful and to stay away from things that do not concern us.
Whoever believes in Allah and the Last Day, let him speak goodness or remain silent. (Al-Bukhari)
Hoping for good is also an act of worship of Allah. (At Tirmidhi)
When you begin to make your list of positive qualities, you might discover some things about yourself that you really find it difficult to like.
That does not mean that they are negative qualities. What we should understand is that while God clearly knows the wisdom behind your qualities and traits, but you may not, at least at the present time.
Learn to distinguish between the things you can change and the things you cannot. Work on loving and accepting those things you have no control over. Self-acceptance is the next big step towards better self-esteem.
One of the hardest things in life is to love and accept ourselves for who we are. Often times especially when we are young and inexperienced we tend to be over critical, telling ourselves we are not good enough or not deserving enough.
Put a complete stop to this thinking and remind yourself on a daily basis that you were created by God for a purpose and for that reason alone you are enough.
God understands the dark threads that weave their way through our thinking. He is our Creator and wants us to be successful in this life and in the next.
It was We Who created man, and We know what his own self whispers to him: for We are nearer to him than his jugular vein. (Quran 50:16)
Prophet Muhammad reminded us that God is kind and likes kindness in all things. (Al-Bukhari)
Therefore be kind to yourself.
(From Discovering Islam’s archive.)