I remember the first time I heard those words. I was being bullied by a few people in school. They were absolutely ruthless. They really just wanted to bring me down. They had even approached my juniors to tell them not to be friends with me. Save to say, I was devastated.
“Alia, they’re just jealous.”
I have to admit, those words gave me some comfort. Those words reassured me that there was nothing wrong with me. That there was a spark in me that was just too bright for others. That I was actually superior in some way.
However, as I grew up, I began to realise something. Those very words can also be very damaging. “They’re just jealous” meant that I could just disregard others. It meant that I could simply ignore any possibility that the way they were acting could be a reaction to my own actions. It meant that none of their words could be remotely legitimate.
What if there was a really good reason why people act negatively towards us?
I have to make myself extremely clear – I do not condone bullying AT ALL. Bullying breaks down a person. Bullying can cause you to be lonely, depressed, anxious and even sick. The effects of bullying can be carried forward to adulthood. If you’re a victim of bullying, I urge you to seek help. What I am quite uncomfortable with is this – we are extremely displeased and defensive when someone criticizes us but deep down inside we are pleased when someone praises us.
All good and all bad come from Allah. We should train ourselves to stop being so concerned about the opinion of the creation. Every step that we take, we take with guidance from Allah. Don’t let the creation be a hindrance for you to move towards ihsan. I have a small favour to ask of you. The next time someone acts negatively towards you, don’t ignore it. I urge you to take a step back. Ask yourself if you could have done something to elicit such a response. Is there some truth in what the person is saying?
Our dearest Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “You will not enter Paradise until you believe and you will not believe until you love one another”. Ma shaa Allah. Loving one another is a condition of our faith.
My fellow seekers, remember this – hurt people hurt people. You have the power to stop the vicious cycle of hurt. How? We add spoonfuls of compassion during our interactions with everyone. We make dua for others. We put a dash of kindness into anything and everything we do. We pour heaps of empathy into our hearts and ensure that we help, in the best way we know how. We don’t give up. That’s the perfect recipe for curing broken hearts.
Not just their broken hearts, but ours as well.