“How excellent the affairs of the believer: his affair, all of it, is good for him; and this is not the case with anyone except the believer; if prosperity comes to him, he is thankful (to God), and if adversity falls on him, he perseveres patiently: so it is all good (for him).”
–The Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) as recorded in Sahih Muslim
Islam does not expect us to feel good and happy all the time. Why are we taught to be patient if we are supposed to feel good all the time? Patience is a quality of a Muslim because we will face hardships in life.
Here are 3 reasons that negative feelings can be good for you:
1. If you are patient with your negative feelings, this raises your spiritual station in the sight of Allah (swt).
The end of Quranic verses 8:46 and 2:153 state, “Surely, Allah is with those who are patient.” And consider these beautiful verses:
And most certainly shall We try you by means of danger, and hunger, and loss of worldly goods, of lives and of [labor’s] fruits. But give glad tidings unto those who are patient in adversity – who, when calamity befalls them, say, “Verily, unto God do we belong and, verily, unto Him we shall return.” It is they upon whom their Sustainer’s blessings and grace are bestowed.
–The Holy Quran, 2:155-157
The ability to be patient with your negative feelings is a gift from Allah (swt):
“…Whoso would be patient, God will give him patience, and no one is granted a gift that is better and more extensive than patience.”
–The Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) as recorded in Bukhari, Muslim
2. Negative feelings are necessary for you to feel positive feelings.
Dr. Brene Brown, in her ground-breaking book, “The Gifts of Imperfection,” states that we cannot enjoy our positive feelings without feeling our negative ones. Many people “numb” their negative feelings (i.e. don’t let themselves feel them) and this actually prevents us from feeling good feelings!
So, the next time you are going through a negative emotion, appreciate that this negative emotion actually enables you to feel your good feelings!
3. Your negative feelings can help you to learn more about yourself and to improve your life!
Negative feelings can teach you something about yourself. They might tell you about an area of your life that needs improvement. They can also help you to learn more about your subconscious and unconscious mind. Many psychology experts believe that negative feelings stem from your unconscious self. When you are more aware of your negative feelings, you learn more about yourself.
A great example would be the negative feelings we might experience during married life. 🙂 Often we overreact to situations with our spouses, and this overreaction is really a signal that some unresolved and unconscious emotions are involved. Perhaps we don’t feel appreciated or we don’t feel respected. Usually problems in marriage have to do with unfulfilled emotional needs. When you realize what emotional needs are not being met, you can talk about this with your spouse and you will understand yourself better (i.e. what makes you feel happy in life!).
So the next time you are feeling any negative emotion, turn that negative emotion into your best friend by:
a. Using it as a cue to be patient for the sake of Allah’s pleasure
b. Appreciating it as something you need to feel good feelings
c. Using it to learn more about yourself and to improve your life
Special Unrelated Note: This is the month of Shaban, and it’s a great month to fast to prepare for Ramadan. Consider this hadith:
Usamah ibn Zayd said: “I said, ‘O Messenger of Allah, I do not see you fasting in any other month like you fast in Sha’ban.’ He said, ‘That is a month to which people do not pay attention, between Rajab and Ramadan, and it is a month in which deeds are lifted up to the Lord of the Worlds. I like for my deeds to be lifted up when I am fasting.'” (Narrated by al-Nasa’i). According to a report narrated by Abu Dawood, he said: “The most beloved of months for the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) to fast in was Sha’ban, and his fasting in Sha’ban was continuous with his fasting in Ramadan.” (Classed as saheeh by al-Albani)