“Keep your thoughts positive because your thoughts become your words. Keep your words positive because your words become your behavior. Keep your behavior positive because your behavior becomes your habits. Keep your habits positive because your habits become your values. Keep your values positive because your values become your destiny.”
― Mahatma Gandhi
Our June theme has been about preparing ourselves for Ramadan. In addition to trying to increase my Quran reading and incorporating more sunnahs to help the transition to Ramadan be an easy and successful one, I also did something that has really changed my outlook on life. One of the things that really, truly bothers me in life is negativity. We are surrounded by so much hostility in our everyday lives, whether it be through our physical encounters with others, or through social media. Society is based on constant complaining and always worrying. Even in myself, I was surprised to find that I was never looking forward to anything anymore, always too scared to be happy and always, always talking about ways my life could be improved. I didn’t recognize the extent of my negativity until recently and it was hard for me to realize that I was not the happy-go-lucky person I once was.
In a means to eliminate negativity from my life and all the ungratefulness associated with it, I decided to start an Optimism Group. I added 16 of my friends from all over the world, most of whom have never met each other, to a Whatsapp group. My initial intention was to post positive and inspiring quotes everyday to, not only get myself into that positive mindset, but to include my friends on my new endeavor in the hopes that each person would take the positive vibes from the group and integrate them into their everyday lives, generating a domino effect of positivity. But the result of the group was so much more than I had originally anticipated. My friends were each so eager to post their own inspirational quotes, videos, verses from the Quran, and sayings from the Prophet (SAW) to aid in the positivity of others. Most of the people in the group were complete strangers to each other, yet they were all bonding over the idea of a better, brighter, happier life. It was humbling for me to see these strangers from across the globe–my friends–praying for each other, advising each other, joking with each other, and ultimately helping each other become optimistic individuals.
But of everyone in the group, I think I gained the most from this experience. As the creator of the group, and the only person who personally knew every member, I felt a responsibility to lead the group in this optimism. It was my duty, despite how badly I felt and how much I wanted to complain, to make sure that I began my day with a daily reminder for positivity. And in order to do that, I had to make sure that I was honestly looking at the world through a lens that assured me happiness and the only lens that offered that was that of tawakkul (reliance on God).
As we are starting the month of Ramadan, I realize that the Optimism Group has brought forth a new motivation in me to bring the best version of myself to the table. InshAllah this asset will keep me working hard during Ramadan to achieve my faith-based goals. And I know that if I ever get discouraged, the group will be there to pick me up and remind me of what is important, inshAllah.
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