The Survival Kit

My Dearest Daughter,

Life can be very tough at times and during these tough times you just wish that someone could come and sort out all your problems for you. This is what mothers are there for, to help you through life’s ups and downs. However, we can’t always be there for you… with you. That is why, I believe, for times like these, every girl should be handed a survival kit. Initially, she might not understand the true importance of this kit, but once she’s mature enough to understand and feel things, she’ll thank you for it, trust me.

This kit helps you survive through every phase in life, both good and bad. It is a source of guidance for dealing with difficulties, solving issues, and surviving life in general, hence the name, The Survival Kit.

I have one for you too, my dear. However, my survival kit might be a bit different from the rest. This is because it contains only one tool.

What is this tool though? This tool has two parts; without one the other will be of no use. The first part is having a strong belief in the reality of imperfections in life. Dear, I want you to always believe and understand that this life was made to be imperfect. No matter what you do or how hard you try, it will never give you perfection in anything. This is not because you’re not trying hard enough or that luck is not on your side. No, my dear, this is because imperfection is inevitable and THE main characteristic of this world.

The second part of the tool is accepting this fact in every situation and being okay with it. Once you learn to accept that you can’t attain perfection in this life you will never be disappointed. Perfection is an illusion, therefore, the moment you get into the race of achieving perfection you either lose yourself, or you forget your purpose in life. The desire for perfection is like a disease, a disease that only takes from you, never giving anything in return, except disappointments and regret.

The desire for perfection comes from comparing ourselves with those around us. We don’t realize even for a second that obviously no one will post about their problems or insecurities on social media; they will only post about the good things.  However unfortunately, we only look at what everyone wants us to see and start comparing our ‘imperfect’ lives with the ‘perfect’ lives of these people, this leaves us with unsatisfied and ungrateful hearts. For this very reason our Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) advised us, ‘Look at those who are lower than you and do not look at those who are higher than you. That is more likely to prevent you from underestimating the blessings of Allah on you.’ [Agreed upon] Therefore, the minute we stop looking at others and start focusing on our blessings, our hearts will be at ease.

My dear, the people around you will always try to tell you that you need to have the perfect body, the perfect wardrobe or the perfect social life. They will make you feel incomplete if you do not have the perfect husband, or the perfect home, anything less than perfect (which will be everything), they will attack you for it.

However, if you have this tool, you have nothing to worry about. The obsession with getting the perfect body everyone is crazy about, the one that doesn’t exist (no, Photoshop, filters etc. do not count!), it will no longer control you. You’ll be safe from it, because you’ll always know that the way Allah has created you is perfect, it will always be perfect as long as you take care of yourself and your body. Allah is Al-Khaliq, The Creator, and Al-Musawwir, The Shaper of beauty. You, My dear, are His creation. The One Who adorned the sky with beautiful lamps (stars) and created the enchanted forests, each a safe haven for millions of different exotic species. How can you think that the Creator of all this beauty will not make His best creation the most beautiful?

I want you to stay in shape, but not run after the illusion of the perfect body. I want you to love your height, I want you to love that mole on your face, love that beautiful chocolaty complexion or your pale crescent-white colour. I want you to find beauty in your freckles, be attached to your birthmark and love that crooked smile; these are all a part of you and they define who you are.

The friend that betrayed your trust, ending your friendship and at the same time breaking your heart into a million little pieces, yes thank her for giving you beautiful memories while she was there in your life and then thank her again for teaching you that sometimes in life, you lose people you love the most, but soon it will all be okay, you will be okay. Every heartbreak will eventually make you stronger and wiser.

Your husband might get on your nerves at times but ignore those quirky habits of his, he’s only human, and he really loves you, even if he doesn’t say/show it enough.

Your financial situation might at times be good and at other times not so good, but that’s all right. You know why? Because it humbles you, it shows you that money isn’t everything and helps you understand what people go through when they are having their own financial lows in life. You learn to enjoy surviving with only one air-conditioner, when you, your parents and all your siblings squeeze in to one room in order to avoid that huge bill at the end of the month. When Daal Chawal (lentil soup and rice) and home-made pasta, made from last night’s leftovers, tastes better than all that fancy food you get in restaurants.

My dear, I can go on and on but I guess all I’m trying to tell you is, that in order to survive do not search for something that does not exist, do not search for perfection. Instead, search for the beauty in all the imperfections that surround you.

As Imam Ash-Shafi said, ‘No sadness lasts forever, nor any felicity. Nor any state of poverty or one of luxury. If you are the owner of a heart that is content, then you and the owner of the world are equivalent.’

Therefore, my dear, once you’ve master this tool, you will be the owner of a heart that is content and happy, a heart that is brave enough to weather any storm, emerging from it stronger and better, I promise.

Lots of love,

– H

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