Keep to forgiveness, and enjoin what is right, and turn away from the ignorant.
The Holy Quran 7:199
One of the main reasons preventing you from being a Happy Muslim is that you have not fully healed from painful past experiences.
If you find yourself in difficult situations now, there is a high chance that you are holding on to past pain that you have not fully healed from. Your current problems are usually related to past hurts that are blocking you from living fully in the present moment.
I, like most people, have painful memories that took a while for me to heal from. I’ve been married for 15 years, and although I am blessed in many ways, my husband has said things to me that deeply hurt me. I held on to the hurt for many years, which did not help anyone.
When I was doing my internships in graduate school, I experienced a sense of failure when two supervisors believed that I was not doing well and did not want to supervise me anymore. This was painful and I never fully healed from this (even though, in the end, I passed the internships with an “A”).
Then when I graduated and started to work, I experienced difficulty with another supervisor.
You see, when you are not fully healed from your past, those negative feelings affect how you behave in the present.
So how can we heal from past hurts and pains? Here are some ideas:
1. Forgive yourself for your mistakes and weaknesses. We are only human and we need to stop “beating ourselves up” for past failures. Failure is a necessary part of learning.
2. Forgive others for the perceived wrongs they committed against you. You don’t have to condone their behavior, but just let it go. Let the resentment go. It is not helping anyone, and Allah (swt) knows best. Trust that Allah (swt) will take care of everything in the end.
3. Acknowledge and accept your negative feelings that you are trying to deny. During my painful experiences above, I felt hurt, anger, confusion, sadness, shame, and resentment. Learn to name your feelings and to fully accept them.
4. Let go of the pain of the past. Gain wisdom from your experiences, and then move on. Sometimes we don’t really understand what to learn from an experience. That is OK. You don’t have to understand everything. Just understand that holding onto past pain is harming your present.
5. Talk about your pain to someone you trust, or write in a journal. Talking and writing are excellent ways to understand and heal. Talking about your feelings is especially important in marriage. For more information about Empathy in Marriage, please read my article on Productive Muslim: “Empathy in Marriage: How to Have an Emotional Connection with Your Spouse” at http://productivemuslim.com/empathy-in-marriage/
Alhamdulillah, I feel that my healing process is at its completion, but it took time. I wish that I had known about the importance of healing from past hurts sooner–then I could have understood my present problems better.
Living fully in the present is one of the most powerful ways to be truly happy.
What helps you to heal from difficult past experiences?