Self Esteem – An Islamic Perspective Dr. KanwalKaisser
Session Overview • Self-Esteem: What is it? • Effects of High and Low Self Esteem • Link between self esteem and Islam • Secret to Better Self Esteem
Self-Esteem: What is it? Self-esteem refers to the way we see and think about ourselves.
Self-Esteem: What’s it made of? • All the experiences • Interpersonal relationships • Everyone you’ve ever met has added to or taken away from how you see yourself!
The Personal Level • A person might change according to what an imperfect society or culture sees fit. • These changes happen to a person’s philosophy, opinions, and values.
The Social Level • In a social he is bound to suffer feelings of worthlessness. • Peer groups or family members may bring about gatherings where a person is harassed or mocked for who he or she is. • A self-esteem deficit here might lead a person into depression or social anxiety.
What Caused Low Esteem? • External forces and internal forces. • Sometimes, people are highly sensitive and internalize criticism. Take their criticism to heart. • Sometimes we are taught to think about things in distorted ways. • Other times, we look for other people to validate us, as opposed to turning inwards and turning to Allah to make sure we are doing the right thing.
Faith Adds to Self Esteem • Faith adds an entirely new dimension to our sense of self-worth. • We exist because Allah willed for us to exist • We have a purpose in life because He does not create aimlessly.
Faith Adds to Self Esteem • The sense of self-worth comes from the Divine rather than coming from the human • By focusing inward, connect with the inner source of peace, happiness, comfort, care, hope, and light that characterizes our link with Allah.
Faith Adds to Self Esteem • “We matter to Allah”. • Even if no one else seems to care about us, He does, and experiencing His love towards us teaches us to value ourselves. • Ultimately, faith and dignity are strongly linked, so true faith can bring the deepest sense of self-worth.
Self Worth Of A Muslim • Muslims have countless reasons to feel blessed, worthy and honored, and never give in to despair, hopelessness or self-hatred – resulting ultimately in high self esteem.
1. Is honored by Allah وَلَقَدْ كَرَّمْنَا بَنِي آدَمَ وَحَمَلْنَاهُمْ فِي الْبَرِّ وَالْبَحْرِ وَرَزَقْنَاهُم مِّنَ الطَّيِّبَاتِ وَفَضَّلْنَاهُمْ عَلَىٰ كَثِيرٍ مِّمَّنْ خَلَقْنَا تَفْضِيلًا • “We have honored the children of Adam and carried them by land and sea. We have provided good sustenance for them and favored them specially above many of those We have created” (Al-Israa 17:70)
2. Isn’t Weighed Down By Guilt قُلْ يَا عِبَادِيَ الَّذِينَ أَسْرَفُوا عَلَىٰ أَنْفُسِهِمْ لَا تَقْنَطُوا مِنْ رَحْمَةِ اللَّهِ • “Say: O my servants! who have acted extravagantly against their own souls, do not despair of the mercy of Allah.” (Az-Zumar 39: 53)
3. Knows There Is A Way Out وَمَن يَتَّقِ اللَّـهَ يَجْعَل لَّهُ مَخْرَجًا • “And for those who fear Allah, He always prepares a way out,.” (At-Talaaq65: 2-3)
4. Knows Relief Comes With Difficulty • “So, verily, with every difficulty, there is relief: Verily, with every difficulty there is relief.” (Ash-Sharah94: 5-6)
Three Key Themes • Conscious determination, • Spiritual connection with Allah • Emotional balance.
#1 – Personal Evaluation • Perform a personal ‘Strengths’ and ‘Weaknesses’ analysis. • The best references for evaluating yourself are the Quran and Sunnah because they are the manual for right and wrong. • Once you’ve reviewed your weaknesses, cross out the word and rename it ‘Challenges’ – these are the areas to work on to transform.
#2 – Develop a Muslim Psychology • Boost your faith (Imaan). • You should not pay heed to the worldly standards. • Know that you are a creation of The Majestic Creator; and secondly, you are of the Ummah of our beloved Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him).
#3 – Develop Positive Skills and Habits • Enrich your mind through recitation of the Quran with translation and Tafsir. • Establishing Salah. • Initiate your own project.
#4 – Personal Grooming • Dress code in deen • Looks?????? • Habits
#5 – Find Birds of a Feather • Find a supportive peer group. • If your gatherings are full of folks that ridicule your beliefs and values, then you are bound to feel worthless. • Mingle with the righteous who acknowledge your worth, help you identify your weaknesses, and are indulged in productive and wholesome habits.
#5 – Find Birds of a Feather (Contd.) • If you have good friends who relax and enjoy themselves within the wise bounds that Allah (SubhanahuwaTa’ala) has set, and your productive activities include: • Attending halaqas • Praying in congregation at the mosque • Discussing Iman • Understanding and memorization of the Quran • Similar positive topics • Then you are bound to feel secure and benefit from the gathering.
#6 – Develop Your Defense • Perform a simple self-check: test your response to wrongful criticism. • You should speak calmly and articulately, assertively and firmly, with the Quran and Sunnah as reference. • Remember being assertive and firm does not mean speaking harshly or rudely.
The key point to remember when trying to build self worth is… Self worth comes from WITHIN!
Don’t Base Self Esteem on External Factors! • culture, • nationality, • language, • wealth, • social class, • ancestry, • profession, • educational level.
Don’t Base Self Worth on External Factors! • We can lose everything external. • So basing our self-worth on transient things is extremely dangerous • Allah often tests us by taking those things we are most attached to.
Final Thought…rememberrrrr • Very low self-esteem…….. Corrosive. • Too much self-esteem…….extremely destructive. • Measure your self-worth by Islam and not by society • Sync your life with your faith, you can overcome the self-esteem deficit soon.
Remember… • You are a unique individual. No one else is like you in the whole world. This makes you special already! • Our time in this world is limited. Make it happen for you so you leave your mark in history!
JazakallahKhairan! Dr. KanwalKaisser May 2012
Resources Used From the Following Places • http://www.productivemuslim.com/ways-to-build-self-esteem/ • http://www.balancedleader.net/psychology/depressed.html • http://azizaizmargari.wordpress.com/2007/03/29/diseases-of-the-heart-low-self-esteem-and-insecurities/