Category Archives: Relationships

Inside The Therapit’s Office: Episode Three

Office

 

“Your next appointment is here” My assistant announced.

“Al Salam Alaykom Adam!” I greeted the grumpy teenager. “So how was your weekend?”

“Yeah, whatever!” Adam spit out. “Let’s get this over with!”

 

He sunk into the chair across of me and took out his earphones, totally uninterested in what I had to say. “What’s your wifi password?” He asked.

“Listening to music, ha? Why don’t you put it on speaker and we can listen together” I suggested.

“I thought you were an Islamic psychologist! Isn’t listening to music ‘haram’ like everything else in this world?” He mocked.

“Well… that’s one way to look at it. But now if everything is ‘haram’ the word ‘halal’ wouldn’t exist, now would it?” I smiled.

“Cut it out! We both know I’m here only coz I got suspended! So how about you tell me what it is I need to say or do for you to sign this slip. I can’t miss the finals this year! My gramps promised me a sports car if I graduate high school!”

“What about your parents?” I asked.

“What about them? They’re cool either way! I wouldn’t know really. I hardly see them….” Adam shrugged. From the innocent look on his face, I could tell his mind had wandered far back into the past….

 

“I said I want my mommy!” Little Adam stomped his feet. It’s been six days in row now, and his nanny was honestly too tired to come up with cover stories on why his mom had disappeared.

“Go watch TV till your dad comes. He said something about taking you out for ice cream!” She sighed.

 

“Hey buddy, what you watchin’?” Adam’s dad walked in three hours later.

His dad had been weirdly nice and attentive this past week, Adam thought.

Ten minutes later he found out why….

“Listen Adam… Something came up. I’m gonna have to move to a different country for work. But I promise I’ll try to come see you as much as I can!” His dad explained.

Adam soon discovered ‘as much as I can’ actually meant ‘a couple of days every other year’. His dad was a workaholic. He lived and breathed for his job, neglecting everything else including his beautiful lonely wife and only son. He figured showering them with gifts would make up for his non-existence. Sadly, Adam’s dad had no idea the more money he gave, the emptier his family felt inside….

 

“Mom! Wake up! I need you to sign my report card!” Adam said. “Come on, I’m late for school!”

“Let granpa sign it!” His mom slurred.

“Why?” Adam asked. He had secretly wished his mom would see it and praise him for his good grades. Fifth grade is hard you know!

“Coz I said so!” His mom snapped.

“Good one mom! You should be a lawyer!” Adam stormed out.

 

She was either sleeping, watching TV or out with her weird friends. His mom was obviously not interested in motherhood, so why should he worry about being a good son? You know what? The hell with it, he thought! Adam quickly went from being a straight A student to being an A class bully, surrounded by corrupt friends and hardly passing his tests. The school principle was one of the few people who believed in Adam, and was devastated to see such a bright talented boy spiral out of control. He was given another chance on one condition! He must seek therapy….

 

 

“Where do you see yourself in ten years Adam?” I asked when he put his I-pod away.

“Successful! Rich! Travelling around the world on my private jet” he replied.

“But do you have a plan to make those dreams come true? I’m sure you know how the saying goes. ‘Your future is created by what you do today, not tomorrow’” I added.

“I dunno” Adam shrugged. “But I’m sure I’ll find a way! I always do!”

“Okay I’ll tell you what! If you can tell me the three ingredients of success, I’ll sign this slip and you’ll be free to go! Pretty sweet deal, no?” I challenged.

“Just like that?” He asked suspiciously.

When I nodded, Adam walked to the big white board and started scribbling , before listing them all beautifully. I knew the seed of knowledge was in there somewhere.

 

  • Time:
    Successful people have one thing in common. They respect each tick of the clock! They’re never late, never waste time and their schedule is perfectly managed and organized. If they have an important meeting, they make sure they’re there before it starts.
  • Practice with Passion:
    Successful people are fully dedicated to their goals. They’re focused, consistent, and determined. They’re always practicing and reviewing to stay on top of their game.
  • Humility:
    Successful people are respectful and humble enough to learn.

 

I crossed my arms and stared at Adam, hardly able to control my proud smile.
“Yeah, I read a lot!” He said, blushing a little bit.

“Well, since you turned out to be a genius, I have a couple more questions!” I added.

“But that wasn’t part of the deal!” Adam complained.

“Well, now it is, so sue me!” I said. “Do you pray?” I asked.

“Sometimes!” Adam replied. “My gramps drags me to Friday prayer every week!”

“What if I tell you that you’ll never be successful if you don’t pray!” I asked.

“I’ll prove you wrong!” Adam replied. “Lots of people don’t pray, yet they roll in piles of money! Many have received awards, or have the coolest jobs, or have so much power and they don’t even pray!”

“If success is another word for wealth and power, then would you consider the drowned Pharaoh successful?” I asked. “Us Muslims, we know better! Success is is true joy inner peace Adam, and no money in the world can buy you that!”

“But what does praying have to do with that?” Adam asked.

“When we fail or make a mistake in our job, we tend to avoid our boos, or the person in charge. And when we fail in life, when we sin or go astray, some of us abandon prayer coz they’re too ashamed to run to Allah. But only those who want to succeed have the perseverance to keep trying. Only successful people are never late for their most important meetings in their lives; ‘salah’, they practice their faith with passion and they stand humbly before their Lord. Those are the ingredients of success in this world and the Hereafter, and that’s why it’s the second pillar of Islam and the essence of our faith. Without this connection to Allah, we have no identity whatsoever!” I said as I signed the school slip and handed it to Adam.

“That’s it?” He asked.

“You can watch success from far or you can become it! It’s your choice.” I said.

 

Adam walked out towards what I’m sure would be a bright future inshAllah, for one cannot un-see the truth after seeing it so clearly. I went home feeling so peaceful, and came back to the office the next day all bright and shiny for my next appointment.

 

“Leave the door open, please” I instructed my assistance, before my patient started relating his story.

 

“I have the perfect life! And yes I pray five times a day! I’ve reached my goals! I have a loving family, more money than I can count, fame, wisdom, health… you name it! I’m the billboard ad for success! All my dreams came true yet my life is a nightmare! I have an invisible illness no one can diagnose! You say you help people find their path to peace and happiness? I have found it and I’m STILL SO UNHAPPY!” My patient slammed the desk violently.

“Okay, take a deep breath Mr. Ramzy. Calm down” I said.

“Don’t tell me to calm down! FIX IT!” He yelled.

 

 

To be continued….

 

Lilly S. Mohsen

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

Inside The Therapist’s Office: Episode Two

Office

 

“That’s the first time you mention your parents” I said carefully. “I can tell it’s a subject you try to avoid. Are you angry at them, Hannah?”

“My dad died years ago. And my mom is also dead…. Or at least to me she is….” Hannah clenched her jaws, as she over-sugared her coffee.

Silence filled the office where I spend my hours listening to people talk. I could literally see my patient building an invisible stonewall around her to prevent me from touching a feeling she’s obviously been holding on to for way too long. Like walking into a minefield, I proceed with much needed caution…

 

“Your mom must have done something for you to shut her out of your life this way” I said.

“She’s the reason my whole world fell apart!” Hannah sneered. “I know it’s hard to believe a daughter can hate her own mom but I do! I’ve hated her for as long as I can remember….”

 

“Daddy! What’s wrong? What time is it?” Hannah asked, still half asleep.
“Nothing sweet heart. I just came to check on you. Go back to sleep” Her dad kissed her and tucked her back in.
“Were you and mom fighting again?” Hannah asked. “I heard you guys yelling. What happened?”
“It’s just… it’s grown up stuff honey. Mommy is a little bit angry at daddy, but don’t worry, everything will be okay. I promise!” Her dad whispered.

 Days, weeks, months and years passed by, and still nothing seemed to change. Her parents kept fighting. She couldn’t even count the times she heard her dad apologize, and have the door slammed in his face. Her mom was always cranky, upset and downright mean, even to her own daughter, but Hannah’s dad soothed her and gave excuses to the angry, miserable woman. It wasn’t love that held this family together anymore; it was her dad’s patience. He was the best dad in the world! And she couldn’t help but resent her mom for rejecting and emotionally abusing a husband who obviously loved her so much he went down to his knees to ask for forgiveness over and over again!

 

“Get out! I can’t even look at you!” Hannah’s mom cried.

“I can explain!” Her dad panicked. Hannah could see his face from where she was hiding behind the couch late one night, and felt her heart break for him.

“How could you do this? You have a daughter!” Her mom yelled.

“I didn’t do anything! You have to believe me! I love you both so much!” Her dad cried. “You know I can’t live without Hannah!”

“I don’t care if you love your daughter, because I hate you with every cell in my body! Get out and never come back! In fact I hope YOU DIE!” His angry wife pushed him out before locking the door.

Twenty minutes later, he did.

Hannah’s dad got into a car accident and died instantly that very same night….

 

“I never spoke to her again! We lived like strangers under one roof!” Hannah said holding the now cold cup of coffee she hardly drank from.. “Until I was about to get married and she came and warned me not to. She said, “Don’t marry for love Hannah! You’ll regret it!” But I married him against her will, and she never came to the wedding nor did I ever hear from her again. She never even came to see me when I was at the hospital! She’s heartless!“

 

“Is there a chance this isn’t the whole truth? That maybe there’s another side to the story?” I asked.

“It wouldn’t have changed anything! She was the reason my dad died! If she hadn’t been so mean, perhaps she could have embraced me and prevented me from marrying Rasheed! If it wasn’t for her, I wouldn’t have been a middle aged barren woman married to a man old enough to be my father!” Hannah cried.

“It’s the word ‘if’ that messes with our heads the most. You know why? Coz it makes us believe we could have changed destiny! If only she didn’t kick him out… if only she had said it in a different way… if he hadn’t ignored my calls I would have still been able to have children. The word ‘if’ doesn’t fit in our religion because it gives random luck so much power! It fuels our anger to blame others for what Allah had already decreed. No one has the power to do anything against His will! There’s no ‘if’ when you truly trust there’s ‘La illah ila Allah’. He decided on the exact timing of your dad’s demise even before your dad was born! Your mom isn’t powerful enough to decide otherwise!. And when your heart lives and breathes the ‘shahada’, attesting that ‘Muhammad is His messenger’, you look at things differently, and you’re eager to follow his example. The cure to any feeling, and the answer to any possible question is in the sunnah!”

 

“There are three sides to every story, Hannah. Yours, theirs and the truth! Perhaps your mom took the blame out of kindness and patience. She didn’t reveal her side because she didn’t want to deprive you of a good father figure. Maybe if your baby had lived, he or she would have ended up hiding behind the couch years later too, watching you and Rasheed fight and hating you… And you’d be in your mom’s shoes. Maybe deep down you already know that, and you’d rather cover it up with anger than go through the grief. But you can’t heal what you don’t feel! Once you accept His will, you’ll truly believe His promise when He says ‘with hardship there is ease’. (Holy Qur’an 94:6).

 

Hannah was crying hysterically at this point, and I could tell Allah had opened her heart to the truth… We put our guards up when we feel scared or insecure, but that’s not how it works with Our Lord…. The more we learn about Him, the more we trust Him. The more we trust Him, the more we submit to His will, and the more we do that, the more sense life makes… That’s what the first pillar of Islam is all about… Trusting Allah alone and following in the footsteps of His messenger Mohammad, peace be upon him.

It’s the cure to fear, sadness and worry…

It’s the cure to anger and regret….

It takes away the need to blame and judge and revenge.

The Shahada is the belief system that purifies our souls.

It’s the golden seal that unseals our hearts.

The first pillar of Islam is simply the true meaning of ‘peace’.

 

“But do you think we can say it by words and not have that belief system tested? Oh trust me, we’ll be tested again and again! You’re scared of dying alone Hannah coz you don’t have a family, and yet you’re leaving your mom to die alone when she has one! You!” I added. “Remember, we’ll all be tested with what we fear the most!”

 

Hannah covered her face and sobbed a bit more before getting up to thank me for helping her see things differently. She hugged me tight and my eyes went back and forth, not sure how to tell her this was against the rules! But I couldn’t help but smile when she said she was gonna go to visit her mom now.

 

I thanked Allah for this blessing, and prayed for all of us to feel the light of true faith, and pass our tests with flying colors…

Now it was time to reward myself with one chocolate chip cookie….

Or five!

 

“Your next appointment is here” My assistant announced.

“Al Salam Alaykom Adam!” I greeted the grumpy teenager. “So how was your weekend?”

“Yeah, whatever!” Adam spit out. “Let’s get this over with!”

 

To be continued….

 

Lilly S. Mohsen

 

 

 

 

Inside The Therapist’s Office: Episode One

Published on Productive Muslim
9th June, 2016

 

Office

Fidgeting with her fingers, it was obvious she was very agitated. And why wouldn’t she be?

Sitting here with a complete stranger talking about your worst fears, your sordid past and shattered dreams. It takes a toll on a person. We’re trained to run away from scary things, but today, this anxious woman was asked to face and stare at her fears while sipping herbal tea with her therapist.

“So you mentioned you stayed up all night ‘googling’ your symptoms. Did your research yield any results?” I asked.

“I kept waiting for the word ‘cancer’ to flash on the screen. I’m going crazy! I’ve seen twelve different doctors so far and they all insist I’m physically healthy and should seek therapy instead!” Hannah replied. “So here I am!”

“I suppose since your scans and labs came back clean, your doctors had to explore other options to find the source of your sickness. But now the question is, do you trust they all did their best to help you?”

“I don’t trust anyone!” Hannah crossed her arms and looked away. “I learnt my lesson the hard way, a very long time ago….”

 

He was her high school sweet heart and the love of her life. They got married as soon as they both graduated and after years of feeling like a stranger in this world, Hannah was finally happy, like she had finally found a safe home. Nothing mattered as long as they were together. With no financial support from neither of their families, they both worked hard to make ends meet. But as years went by, the stress burst their beautiful love bubble and left them dangerously exposed to the sharp edges of responsibilities and frustration, especially after her husband got laid off, and Hannah had to take extra shifts waitressing at a restaurant to pay off their debts.

“Can you at least acknowledge the fact that I’m speaking to you?” Hannah sighed during dinner.

“I’m hoping if I ignore you, you’d get the point and shut up!” Rasheed scoffed. “You make it sound like I’m the lazy idiot husband who’d rather stay at home and watch TV instead of find a job! I AM trying Hannah!”

“But it’s been eight months! I’m exhausted! I thought it was the man’s job to take care of his wife! You’re obviously following the footsteps of your father!” Hannah yelled.

The few words they exchanged turned into another huge fight, ending with Rasheed throwing his glass cup at the wall and storming out. Hannah sat motionless in the corner staring at the floor. That’s exactly how her dreams looked like now; shattered into a million pieces like this broken glass. It wasn’t until sunrise when Rasheed came back home that she finally realized; it wasn’t love that held them together anymore. It was fear. The tremendous fear of losing him and being all alone.

 

“Didn’t we have stew yesterday?” Rasheed asked still half asleep. That’s all he seemed to do lately; out all night and asleep all day.

“Yes! I’m sorry! But until you find a job we need to tighten our belts a bit and start saving!”

“Am I in the mood for your nagging shift? Ummm no!” Rasheed said sarcastically.

“We barely buy anything yet we run out of money by mid month! Where does it all go?” Hannah asked.

“I can’t do this anymore. I’m outta here!” Rasheed got up to change and leave.  

Walking away was what he did best. This wasn’t the man she fell in love with. He even looked different! He’d become depressed, irritable and scrappy, and she had been patient for way too long and now was the time for a serious talk! Enraged by his carelessness, after a couple of hours of him ignoring her calls, Hannah grabbed her purse and rushed outside to find her husband. But she took a fall down the stairs and ended up in the hospital instead.

 

“He didn’t know I was pregnant” Hannah cried softly, as I handed her another tissue. “I lost the baby and the doctors informed me my injuries affected my reproductive system and it would be impossible for me to have anymore children. A couple of months later, Rasheed left too. I lost everything! I suffered for a long time; I almost gave up on life completely. Until I got married again a few months ago, and I can’t help but think what will happen when if he leaves. I just don’t feel safe! There’s no one in my life I can truly trust and depend on! I don’t wanna die alone! I’m scared! All the time!”

“You’re right! Trust is life! Without it we’d go insane. But it’s not something we give regardless of the circumstances; it’s very pragmatic depending on the situation. You trusted your ex-husband to take care of you, but he let you down, since he wasn’t working. You trusted him with something he wasn’t capable of doing. Now that you’re married to someone else, perhaps you trust him to take care of you, but you don’t trust you can rely on him forever. You can trust a loved one with one thing but not the other. It doesn’t make you suspicious, or paranoid, it makes you SMART and proves you possess wisdom! I mean sure your current husband can run a whole company for example, but would you trust him to fly a plane or give you a new haircut?” I asked.

That’s when Hannah finally smiled.

“Trust is the secret to life, Hannah. Without it we would all feel paralyzed. If we didn’t trust the locks on our doors, we wouldn’t be able to sleep at night. If we didn’t trust our coworkers, we wouldn’t be able to work as a team. If we didn’t trust the legal system, we wouldn’t follow the rules. Without trust, there would be no productivity or security or even life on this Earth. We would live in constant and utter FEAR! Trust is the essence of any healthy relationship. But before giving it, we need to build it through knowledge! You need to find out if that person is capable, honest and reliable. Without this knowledge, trust is obsolete!”

 

“That’s true” Hannah nodded.
“Why do you trust your nose won’t go missing when you fall asleep? Or that the sun will come up every day! Or that the whole planet won’t run out of water and food! Who are you trusting to keep this whole life system intact?”

“Almighty Allah of course!” Hannah replied.

“But why do you trust Him?” I asked again.

“Because I know Him. I know He is the One who created everything and He is capable of managing His creations!” Hannah said.

 

“But what if I told you that I set the alarm really early and I’m the one who commands the sun to come up every morning?” I smirked.

“Astaghfar Allah! That’s impossible!” Hannah frowned.

“Exactly! As Muslims, we all have an intact belief system based on knowledge of our Creator. The more we learn about His limitless capabilities the more we trust Him! This is why the ‘shahada’ is the first pillar of Islam, and it’s based on complete trust in Allah. The ‘shahada’ is the solid belief system we need to wash away all our negative feelings! It’s the antidote to fear, sadness and worry. But now you’ve created another belief system that you’ll die alone because the people you depend on to take care of you can’t be trusted to outlive you. And you know why they can’t be trusted? Because they’re human! They aren’t capable or reliable to be around forever! And that’s why your new belief system scares you! Your life is like the plane your husband is in charge of. You’re depending on him, even though he’s not a trained pilot! Of course your terrified ALL the time!” I explained. “Isn’t it time to depend on the One capable of managing your life, Hannah? Isn’t it time to submit to Him alone?”

 

Hannah’s tears flowed down again, but this time her tears washed away the doubts and made her see the bigger picture she was blinded to. Belief systems are what keep us grounded, and yet when built on falsehood they can take us to the darkest places. Creating a belief system based on assumptions or desires or fears is no different from creating a stone idol and worshipping it besides Allah, True and genuine faith cannot be half way. It cannot be shared or conditioned; because it’s the solid ground we need to stand on before we start the journey to Paradise.

 

“You’re not alone, Hannah. Allah is with you. Every time He takes something you want from you, He will replace it with something you need!” I said.

“That’s true… When Rasheed left, Allah sent me a friend to soothe me, and her child is like my own. I don’t know what I would have done without them!” Hannah whispered. “I’m finally able to give the love I never got from my own parents!”

“That’s the first time you mention them” I said carefully. “I can tell it’s a subject you try to avoid. Are you angry at your parents, Hannah?”

“My dad died years ago. And my mom is also dead…. Or at least to me she is….”

 

 

To be continued

 

Lilly S. Mohsen

 

What Your Mom Never Told You

 

 

Mom day

Her face glowed with excitement as she handed me a very colorful (and may I add very tacky) invitation card.
“My friend is having a party this weekend! Can I please go?” My daughter asked, her heart beating so loud with anticipation I literally felt the walls crack.
“No” I answered calmly, my eyes still on my book.
“OMG why? It’s like THE party of the year! Mommy please!”
“I said no”
“This is so unfair!” My daughter ran to her room, trailing gigantic tear drops on the floor. “I’m never allowed to do anything I want.” She mumbled before locking herself to write about her miserable, prison-like life in her pink diary.

I sighed and closed my eyes… and the memories sneered back at me with a mean smile.

This is the part where an image of me today is distorted in a wave-like motion with twinkling background music and the title reads:

 

Twenty Years Ago…

 

“Mommy can I please go to my friend’s house this weekend?” I pouted (And I had mastered the puppy dog face at that time if you’d like to know!)
“No” My mom said calmly, still reading the newspaper.

“Everything is ‘no’! This is so unfair!” I cried as I ran to my room, trailing tears on the floor before taking my anger out in writing.

 

Dear Mrs. Diary…
Another horrible day in this prison my parents call ‘home’! Being a teenager sucks! I can’t wait to grow up and have a daughter of my own and believe you me, I will never raise her the way I was raised. I’ll be a fun, hip mom (like TOTALLY!) I’ll let her do everything and anything she wants! The rule in my house will be ‘there are NO rules!’. She’ll go out with her friends and have no curfews coz HELLO! I’ll trust her! We’ll stay up all night gossiping and eating chocolates and I’ll make sure her life is one amazing adventure! I’ll never badger her about grades. I’ll buy her everything she asks for and let her watch cartoons till her eyes fall out! I mean it Mrs. Diary so mark my words!
And then years later something happened to me. I became a mom…

 

Listening to my daughter cry in her room today made my heart bleed. But I know even if I explain till I’m blue in the face how I’m protecting her from bad influence, she will never understand. When I was her age I didn’t get it either. I guess by the time you realize your mother was right you have a daughter who thinks you’re wrong.

 

Oh mom, why didn’t you ever tell me…?
You never looked up from your newspaper coz you didn’t wanna see the hurt in my eyes. It wasn’t because you didn’t care…

You took the role of the ‘bad guy’, putting rules and making sure I’m disciplined because you were preparing me for the real world. It wasn’t because you enjoyed having all this power. In fact, it was heart-aching and tiring and the easiest choice would have been to say ‘yes’ to everything and hope for the best.

 

I wish you had told me how you stared at me while I slept, and how you begged God to give you my pain instead when I was sick. I wish you had told me how you masked your worry with an angry look when I was late, and secretly locked yourself up to cry when I was sad. All these strict rules make sense now. I wouldn’t have become the person I am today if you had let me do what I wanted to do back then. I just wish you had told me that you wanted nothing more in life than to enjoy me, but you put your needs aside and endured my resentment, because you had a bigger purpose; to raise me right as a proud, ethical and responsible Muslim who will keep your legend alive. I see so many men and women struggling nowadays and blaming their parents for their failures. I see confused grown-ups unable to differentiate between right and wrong, lost amidst vague principles and zero ethics. It scares me, but it also makes me fall in love with you even more, thanking God He picked you to be my mother, even though I didn’t deserve such a blessing….

 

Oh mom… Every time my daughter feels like a victim when I’m being too stern I just wanna run to you, go down to my knees, kiss your feet and cry ‘Mommy please forgive me”. This is so beyond hard! And with all the non-believers, peer pressure, social Apps, perverted Internet and shameless TV content that poison the youth’s minds, it’s even much more brutally challenging! I’m raising a beautiful unique gem who will one day make a difference in this world (inshAllah) and I will not allow the media, the spoiled ‘diva’ group of friends, the fear of being resented or even chocolates ruin that for me. I just WON’T!

 

To all the sons and daughters reading this, you’ll never know how it feels to have a part of your heart walk around in the form of a human, whom you’ll love unconditionally with every cell in your body. You’ll never understand it until you become a parent. Cherish your moms while you still can before time steals her away and you’re left with a void that no human on Earth can ever fill. Your mom is the only person in the universe who will love you no matter what you do and where you go. She’s the ‘safe home’ even when she seems hard on you, there’s nowhere to run but back to her warm embrace.

 

And for those who have said goodbye to their mommies, I will not pretend I understand your pain… but I do know that out of all people we Muslims know this: Just because you can’t see her doesn’t mean she’s not there watching over you…

Cheering you on and praying for you to stay on the right path….
It’s time we let our gratefulness to those great women in our lives bloom beyond their imagination. It’s time we drape our moms with love and prayers, and let them see how it was all worth it. For what your mom never told you is that she never really wanted anything in return… Just for you to be safe and happy… and given the chance she’d do it all over again in a heartbeat…

Happy Mothers’ Day to our guardian angels… May we never let you down, and may your whispered prayers never come from sadness or loneliness, but from joy, love and a lifetime of being magnificently proud of us…

I love you Mommy…

 

Lilly S. Mohsen

Why You Need To Say It Before The New Years

Published on the 22nd December, 2015
For The Daily Crisp

Unsaid.jpg

Say It Before It’s Too Late…

If you haven’t seen the animation movie ‘Inside Out’, I suggest you leave this article and go watch it.

No don’t worry about me, I’ll just wait here…

This movie shows the five primary emotions as characters; anger, fear, sadness, disgust and joy, who literally control the motherboard of your brain and as a result affect your feelings, thoughts and behaviors. I like to imagine that in December of every year, those five people inside your head sit down for a board meeting, each with a cup of coffee and a huge pile of dusty files of all the things that were left unsaid….

Anger: “You wusses! I say it a million times every single year but you all won’t listen to me! The only way to deal with a problem is to spit it out! Some people just need a wake-up slap! On the face! With a BASEBALL BAT! I’ve held so much anger inside I’m gonna explode soon! And it’s not like we have a shredder for these stupid ‘unsaid’ files! What am I supposed to do with this rage now, ha? You’re all COWARDS! PUSHOVERS!”

Fear: “Whoa! What if you say the things you need to say, pour your heart out then get rejected? Or get in trouble? What if you stand up for what you believe in and end up shunned? Ridiculed? Oh my God, what if you lose your friends or loved ones coz you said things they don’t wanna hear? I say it’s not worth the risk! Shove those files in the back of your mind and we’ll all be okay! Better safe than sorry!”

Sadness: “I agree with Mr. Fear. It doesn’t matter anyway.. No one will understand. It’s better to leave things unsaid than say them and realize no one cares. Bearing an untold story is a great agony, but there’s no guarantee the pain will go away if you share it.. “

Disgust: “Ughh Sadness, you’re so negative you make me sick! But I can’t say things like that to other people! I judge them silently instead. I doubt them, make all kinds of assumptions and never get any answers coz I’m too proud to ask or too disgusted to look at them! I don’t give advice or help people fix their lives coz no one likes a ‘know-it-all’. I have so much to say, but now it’s too late..”

Joy: ”I know you guys think I’m perfect but I’m not. I have a huge pile of unsaid things too. But my files are beautiful. They’re filled with love, appreciation, compliments and gratitude… except I never had the chance to express them.”

And then the CEO of the brain concludes the meeting with a bang on the desk and a frustrating question: “What are we gonna do with all these dusty files? The storage is completely over packed, the doors won’t even open! There’s no more room!”

Look me in the eye and tell me honestly….

Do you have bite marks on your tongue from all the things you never said…?

Is your heart filled with love for someone, but that person has no idea?

Did you ever drift apart from a friend and were left with all the things you didn’t say?

Are you trapped in a relationship, muted or too drained to explain?

Do you let your anger speak coz it’s easier to rage than admit you’re weak or vulnerable?

Are you too proud to apologize or too hurt to ask for an apology?

Did you say it…?

‘I love you’, ‘I’m sorry’, ‘I can’t live without you’, ‘You hurt me’, ‘I need help’

Did you say it before it’s too late….?

I’ve got news for you guys. This might come as a shock but do you know what happens when you bury a seed in the ground? It grows! It grows so big that it becomes a huge tree. The unspoken seeds of hurt turn to anger, the silent gratitude turns to high expectations, the un-given help or advice turns to guilt, and the unrevealed love will suffocate the life out of you. We think avoiding something will make it go away, but the truth is, the words left unsaid will sit in your mind screaming. Sometimes it’s not what people say, it’s what they don’t say that hurts the most.

 

Since you started reading this, you’ve been thinking of specific people or perhaps one special person you left things unresolved with. And do you know how I know that person is special? Besides the fact that I have magic powers, we both know that the opposite of love is not hate! It’s indifference…

So whoever popped in your mind, be it someone you love or wanna strangle coz they’ve hurt you so much, that person is a part of you…. An unresolved tangled knot in your heart….

Put your ego on the side, find your calm soul and say the things you’ve left unsaid. Believe me, it’ll haunt you forever if you don’t. A conflict is never about what we see, it’s about the buried wounds left unhealed. And we carry this huge burden day after day, year after year, and it changes who we are in the process….

December is just a reminder to deal with the old before you start the new. If you want to do better, reach your goals, travel far with your dreams, you need to travel light. Put down that burden and go make it right…

With the things that were left… unsaid…

 

Happy New Years

 

Lilly S. Mohsen

 

 

 

 

Where Does Your ‘But’ Come In?

But

Published on The Daily Crisp
October 7th, 2015

 

The Key To A Magnetic Personality

When I was a little girl, my dad told me a story that stayed engraved in my memory till this day. He said a wife once sat down and listed all the negative things that bothered her…

‘Our daughter had a horrible car accident..”

“Our son failed his midterms..”

“My husband hates my cooking..”

The woman went to sleep with a heavy heart. In the morning, her husband found that piece of paper and decided to add a set of ‘buts’ to the list…

‘Our daughter had a horrible car accident, but she bounced back and drives safely now.”

“Our son failed his midterms but he didn’t give up. He studies harder now and will surely ace his finals!”

“My husband hates my cooking, but he really loves me….”

I learnt three things from this simple story:

  • The problem is not in having problems. It’s how we choose to deal with the problem that can create a bigger problem. (Read this part again. It sounds like blabbering but I promise it makes sense!)
  • There are three sides to every story: Yours, mine and the truth.
  • What we learn in childhood greatly affects our adulthood. So make sure you choose your words carefully when speaking to your kids. (Thank you for always applying that rule daddy! I love you!)

Anyways….

It turns out this story is a manifestation of the secret identity that lies deep within each and every one of us. Perspective is a powerful tool! Like a magnet, it ultimately pulls you towards one of these two categories:

The ‘But’ People

I wanna say ‘pun intended’, but no, that would be mean and highly inappropriate. Plus it really shatters the mature image I promised myself to portray in this writing. Actually the ‘but’ people aren’t so bad, they just confuse ‘realism’ with ‘pessimism’ and it goes something like this…

“I had a good time at the party, BUT the food was horrible and the table settings were hideous!” or “My husband got me flowers, a diamond ring and took me out for my birthday, BUT he spent half an hour on the phone with his mom! He’s so cold and inconsiderate!”

These people will acknowledge the positive things in their lives, but once they say them out loud, their teeth hurt and they quickly dump the negatives on you before you start thinking they’re happy and content. They’ll find a problem for every solution, a flaw in every blessing and bitterness in every sweet memory. ‘Hope’ is a foreign, dangerous enemy in their eyes, and ‘nit-picking sarcasm’ is synonym with ‘funny’. Their ‘buts’ come in after every positive, which of course brings out their nagging side to the open and it’s us who have to pay the price for both their blessings and misfortune by listening to them complain about BOTH! I mean for the love of God!

Okay, all done ranting! (Sheeeeshhhhh)

The ‘But-tered Up’ People

Consider yourself very lucky if you’re in contact with one of those, I know I am! Oh these people butter you up with the sweetest, most soothing words, it’s hard to tell if they’re complaining about life or praising it!

“I lost my job and my house burnt down, BUT thank God I have some money saved! I’m so blessed!”

They’ll acknowledge the problems just fine, but they’re so blinded to the difficulties it actually makes your jaws drop. Their ‘buts’ come after the negatives trailing hope and positivism. They just know it in their hearts that everything will be okay. That’s the only option on their table…

Which One Are You?

There’s no pessimist or optimist gene! Being cynical is a choice, and so is being hopeful. Take it from someone who’s been both, and knows the magnitude of each. You don’t have to be ‘over-the-moon, riding-a-unicorn-on-a-chocolate-fountain’ kind of happy to see the positive side of life. You only need this key…
Acceptance…

Accepting reality instead of expecting it to become the fairytale you imagined it to be! Coz let’s face it, the grumpy, cranky attitude won’t change anything, except perhaps change you into the human version of a headache and repel everyone around you. Accept that life was never tailored to be perfect, and that whatever cards you’ve been dealt, about 90% of the world’s population doesn’t even have cards to play with!

But….

Even if your life is a complete and total nightmare… One thing in it brings you and I immense joy and will always be the main reason why people become addicted to being around you…

And that is… Your smile…

 

Lilly S. Mohsen

 

 

 

 

So Did You Talk To Your Kids About Dating Yet?

Giggle

Deep breaths everyone….

Okay now let’s talk about our youth and their eagerness to ‘date’.
I’ll give parents a minute to put down this article and whisper a prayer….
“Please God let it be a discussion about ‘dates’ as in the fruits of Palm Trees. Please God! You are the Most Merciful’…”

I know this is hard for you guys. I’m a mom, so naturally it’s hard for me too. Us parents want to stay in denial about our kids’ desires and their eagerness to start a romantic relationship because umm hello we raised them right! How can they even think of such inappropriateness before they reach the age of marriage? This is just ridiculous! When we were teenagers we focused on our studies and prayers and never allowed ourselves to fantasize about falling in love and stuff.
(Long pause… Uhmmm)

I can imagine some Muslim parents’ reaction when their teenagers ask why they can’t have a boyfriend or girlfriend:

“A WHAT???? ASTAGHFAR ALLAH!” Parent drops dishes, locks the doors, and shines an interrogative spotlight in the child’s face.
“Put your hands where I can see them! Now tell me, where did you hear that term? Who do you hang out with?! What a shame you turned out to be! Go to your room, you’re grounded for TWO MONTHS!”
Oops!

Expect The Unexpected

In a world where Miley Cyrus dances wearing close to nothing on national TV (Eww gross!) and PG movies show couples kissing and teenagers getting pregnant, it’s safe to assume we can expect the unexpected. Muslim parents probably seem uptight and old-fashioned to a generation constantly and relentlessly exposed to the media’s shamelessness. Without gradually instilling our Islamic principles in our children at a very young age, unacceptable ‘social’ values will be all they know. Yes, we teach them to pray, fast, tell the truth and the whole long list, but are we tackling the ‘hormonal’ and ‘sexual ‘aspects of adolescence? Or are we shunning the ‘taboo’ subjects all together?

The interest in the opposite sex will arise sooner or later, and if we don’t talk to our kids about it, guess who they’ll talk to? Their FRIENDS! Their non-Muslim, very-experienced-in-this-arena friends! Or perhaps they’ll get their information from the Internet and books like “Fifty Shades Of Grey!” (Now someone please mute the demons in my head so I can finish writing this piece!)

The Big Talk

God knows talking about this is our worst nightmare! We want to preserve our children’s innocence for as long as we can, and that’s exactly why many of us choose not to discuss pre-marital relationships with our kids and hope we’ll never have to. The classic answers usually hover around “We are Muslims. We don’t date”. But are the kids convinced? It’s our job as parents to explain that having romantic feelings is very normal, but acting upon those feelings is definitely not okay until one is married. (I’m sure some dads are thinking: No not even then! LOL). Being alone and/or intimate with a boy or girl is against our modest Islamic beliefs, and it’s supported by all kinds of modern studies too. Problems with attachment, low self-esteem, peer pressure, neediness, ruined reputations, broken hearts and revenge schemes…. They all arise when boys and girls interact outside the ‘permissible line’.

Yet our kids should feel they’re allowed to voice out their thoughts without being judged, criticized or threatened into oblivion, because that’s when they’ll be willing to listen and apply. And if they’re uncomfortable to ask questions, perhaps it’s time we initiate those intense and awkward conversations to get the ball rolling….

Use The Secret Ingredient: Communication

The ‘pursed lips’ and ‘changing the subject’ tactics won’t cut it anymore. (It never did actually!) Our beloved Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) communicated openly and lovingly about every possible issue we could think of. Talk to your children while they’re young and they’ll get used to listening as they get older. Use every chance you get to squeeze in those small talks about friends, school, principles and religion. A scene in a movie, a title in a magazine, the gossip you heard about last week’s party. Ask them what they think are the reasons behind teenagers engaging in inappropriate behavior and if that’s really the way one becomes ‘popular’. Subtly lay the groundwork for good manners and God’s love in their minds before they hit puberty. Let’s get them at a young age while they’re still pure and teach them in a way they can understand.

Keep Your Eyes Wide Open

Some kids will argue you should trust them. My advice? Don’t fall for that! We are not angels. Those little innocent non-haram interactions of late night texting and ‘Facebook-ing’ can pave the wrong path, especially at the ages from 7 to 14 years old. So do we watch them like hawks as much as we can? Like hell we should!

Get acquainted with the friends they hang out with, censor the TV shows they watch, the books they read, check their ‘Whatsapp’ chats every now and then and limit their unsupervised outings and internet access. They’ll think you’re strict and harsh, and you’ll start wishing there was a ‘parenting agency’ that can implement such rules instead of having your kids resent you. That’s when you need to remind yourself of the kinds of trouble your friends were up to at that age. Now times that by 700 for this generation and what do you get? A waking monstrous NIGHTMARE!

And Then We Will Pray On It

Allah gave us stories in the Qur’an about Prophet Noah’s prodigal son and Prophet Abraham’s skeptic dad. If we ponder a little bit, we’ll come to realize that even if we do everything right, our kids can still go astray, and even if we do everything wrong, our kids can turn out to be amongst the most pious. It’s humbling to remember that it’s not our genius parenting that gets the job done perfectly, rather it’s Allah’s will. Period.

Hey, where are you going? That doesn’t mean we go play golf instead and give up on trying all together. All I’m saying is, doing our best is not enough. The essence of success is in putting great effort while asking God for His blessings and guidance.

And now before I go… a final moment of vulnerable honesty….

As much as I love being a mom, it’s becoming such an excruciatingly tough job in this brazenly crazed world. I’m worried and scared for my kids ALL THE TIME! My heart sinks when they go to school or when they meet people who don’t share their values, and I wonder if they’ll be easily confused. I’m constantly scared of failing as a parent, and I don’t know how to protect the youth from what they’ll eventually face. I only have faith that giving them love, and caring for their feelings will prevent them from seeking it elsewhere till they’re ready to move on. So tell your daughters how pretty, smart and valuable they are. Tell your boys how much you admire and respect them. Fill that void for the attention they yearn for and give them what they need from you the most…

Oh our Dearest Lord, we are desperate for Your blessings….Help us raise a generation that will make You proud…. Guide us when we’re too strict or too lenient… and please take care of our kids… for they’re the precious pieces of our hearts….

Lilly S. Mohsen

Find me on Twitter @LillyMohsen