First Aid for the Broken Heart
I’m not an expert on healing but having spent the past year (stubbornly) crouching at the bottom of pits and then slowly clawing my way out (and some months wondering what the point is since falling back down seemed to happen often), I think I’ve earned some street cred to say this: YOU WILL GET THROUGH THIS.
I know of people currently going through some dark times and heartbreak so listen up:
1) Allah does not hate you.
He’s not torturing you or punishing you for your past sins or to teach you a lesson (even though you will learn a lot through this process). Hardships are surprisingly common in life but humans like to take things personally. Everyone goes through confusing, heart-wrenching times. Tests fall on us like rain – equally. (Ok maybe not such a good analogy if you live in the desert so maybe I’ll liken tests to sunrays instead.)
Basically, you will not be immuned. Allah didn’t single you out for some deed you did. You’re not that special, and He’s not vengeful or calculative. “Oh you said a bad word, I’m going to send someone to break your heart.” NOPE. That is not Him! He loves you very much. Believe it!
2) “Time heals all wounds” is only partially true.
Time will do its magic but you also need to put in effort into your health and healing (emotional, physical, mental, spiritual).
3) Counselling rocks.
Please put aside any reservations you have about counselling and reach out. Those people are trained to help you and trust me, they know their stuff. Mental and emotional health are super important guys!
4) People are not medicine.
Please don’t use people as distractions or punching bags or emotional sponges. Your friends and family are crucial support networks and are very willing to be there for you so lean on them and let them love you through your dark times, but they are not responsible for taking away your pain. You are responsible. (But please reach out!)
When you are down in the dumps, you just want to stay in bed and not see people and not eat (or over-eat) but exercise actually gives you natural happy drugs called endorphins. Isn’t that great?! Even when tears are streaming down your face, just do like 10 burpees or something. You will feel bloody ridiculous but also slightly better and you might even laugh. So yay! Laughter is great. Laughter is awesome. Now go for a walk!
6) There is this thing called a Safe Space.
Allow nobody but the closest and dearest into your safe space. And everyone else can sit outside this safe igloo and their words and judgment will just hit the igloo and bounce back (or whatever). Sometimes it may seep through and some people might slip into your safe space but be very possessive of who you let in.
When you say No to some people, you are saying Yes to taking care of yourself. You don’t need 50 people in there, just enough to remind you that you deserve kindness and that you are loved and that they will call you out on your nonsense when you are behaving as such.
7) Self-love and self-care is hard to do.
Especially for people on the spiritual path, we’ve learnt to live with guilt and shame and remorse. It’s considered praiseworthy to think of yourself as the worst person in the world and the most sinful and if only one person will go to Hell, that you would be that ONE CURSED FELLOW! But there’s a time for this and there’s a time for that.
When you are already miserable and depressed, you don’t need to beat yourself up even more! Now is the time to think of God’s mercy and focus on the kindness of others and treat yourself kindly too. You can go back to thinking of yourself as the worst in creation when you’re in a mentally and emotionally stable state but until then, love yourself out of the rut!
8) Pray fervently and often and through tears and at all times and for people who hurt you and people you have hurt and those you miss and love, and ask others to pray for you. But don’t just pray and not do steps 1 to 7!! (PS: salawat and Dua an-Nasiri are amazing heart-cure supplements.)
I pray that you will find comfort in prayer, strength in friends and family, that you never lose hope in Allah and in general human kindness and that even though nights can be the worst and feel so freaking long, the sun will come up again and the heavy darkness on your chest will go away and you will smile and laugh again. I promise. And inshaAllah you will thank God for all He’s given and all that He’s taken.
ps: Baby and cat videos doesn’t hurt too! And ice-cream! And waffles!
Ameera is the Editor of Muzlimbuzz.sg, a chronic reader and a news junkie.