“How bad are things going to get?” Have you ever asked yourself this question? Many of us have felt this way at some time or another- either it is regarding a personal circumstance, or even the things that we notice happening in the world. As Muslims living in the west, we cannot but feel enraged, frustrated and vulnerable about the several difficult situations that Muslims are facing all over the world. Remaining positive is a requirement for any life coach, yet today I find myself feeling anything but. I wonder if you’re experiencing the same feeling of powerlessness as I am. Each day, waking up to news of yet another bomb blast, more innocent lives lost, more trouble, poverty and strife- all leave me feeling utterly powerless and angry. I, for one, am not someone who wallows in such emotions; I try to do something about it. So, I began to ask myself the all-important question, “how do I regain some sense of personal power in a situation where I feel powerless to create any change?”
Nowadays we accept that we are powerless. We have convinced ourselves that we can’t do or say anything. Do we use this acceptance as a way to make ourselves feel better, just so we can tolerate the situation? Granted, the reality facing millions of Muslims isn’t pleasant, but running away or hiding isn’t a solution to the issues. One way out is to think about how we can reclaim our own personal energy, so that we can do something productive. The feeling that we can do something will provide the impetus to keep going- especially when things seem so hopeless. Let’s explore how we can regain some sense of empowerment through these challenging times.
Notice how you respond each time you hear the bad news. Do you pretend its not happening? Feel angry? Resort to name-calling? How are you giving away your energy to the negativity that surrounds you? If you are blaming situations, other people, or the government, you are giving your precious energy away. Consider what you could do with that valuable energy instead. Next time you hear about another event, take a moment to stop and breathe. Then ask yourself “how can I make productive use of what I’m feeling?” “How might I channel my emotions more effectively, maybe even do some good?” Even the idea that you could do something positive here may seem impossible, but the mind responds to questions. Stick with it, and something will come.
Focus on what you control
Helplessness is the most disempowering of emotions. The tragedies occurring are unfathomable, but if we allow the emotion of powerlessness, then it will manifest into all areas of our lives. One way to break this pattern is to focus on what you can control. Imagine that you wake up tomorrow morning, to discover another horrendous tragedy. In that moment, you will need to stop yourself from giving away your power to anger or frustration. Ask yourself “what can I do right now? How might I make the best of this situation?” Give yourself a few moments to reflect, and only take action once an idea has come to mind. Even if it means relaxing or taking the day off, that is far better than feeling negative, angry or powerless. Break the cycle one day at a time.
Use your abilities
Feeling powerless results in tunnel vision. Our beliefs are funnels; fear in- fear out (and so on). So, if you believe that you can’t do anything to help, then sure enough, you won’t see any opportunities in which you could. Remember that you have something to offer, and you will be able to make a difference if you are proactive. Reflect on what you do well, and then use it to do something- anything can make a difference. For example, if you write well, then express your thoughts on a blog, on Facebook, Twitter, and other social media and work to raise awareness. If you can fundraise, then raise funds for widows and orphans, or cook meals for those in need. You will feel empowered, and that in essence will keep you going through these challenging times. Each human being has a gift that can be used. Your job is to identify and use yours.
Lets empower ourselves to do the best we can in times of crisis and difficulty. We may have challenges in our own lives- but if we look around, we will notice others in even more need. We are all hoping for change, so let’s do something to become part of it. Taking an action, even a small one, will allow you to feel powerful in a situation that leaves most feeling powerless. Let’s do what we can to make a difference and live our lives to our fullest potential.