I recently had the pleasure of coaching a young lady who came from a disturbing childhood. Abida grew up in a household in which harsh criticism and blame were the norm. After hearing the details of her experience, it was obvious that she was neglected in several ways and deprived from her parents’ love simply because she did not conform to their vision of who she should be.
Her experience drove her to go through different ups and downs in her life. In fact, for most of her adolescent years she traveled in a downward spiral. Even when she tried to run from it all, her negative experiences with her upbringing wreaked havoc on her emotional state and she often found herself in deep states of depression, confusion, and loneliness.
When she came for coaching, I knew there was more work entailed than what she was willing to admit to herself. I explained to her that her childhood baggage had obviously impacted her in various ways and it was crucial that she take steps towards healing those open wounds if she really wanted to move forward.
So we began, step by step, on a path to self-discovery. Needless to say, her journey to understand herself and her past was difficult. Due to all of the criticism that she faced in her household, she found it hard to believe in herself and choose good decisions for her future. It was more than a classic case of low self-esteem. She was trapped in the prison of her parents’ expectations of who she should be in life. When I probed her to think about what she really wanted, she grew frustrated, not able to envision her future without the parental standards that were imposed upon her concerning what was considered acceptable and successful.
Maybe we have heard others say that they lost themselves ‘along the way,’ but due to her childhood baggage, Abida was more than this. Namely, she was lost in what was ‘the way’ to go in the first place. She was stunted from the type of personal growth that she really wanted – or so it seemed.
As the sessions passed, she changed. By focusing on discovering her core values, identifying her noble character traits, setting goals, and engaging in discussions of who she really wanted to be, she came to know her true self. It wasn’t the self that her parents told her that she needed to be in order to gain their approval and love, but it was the self that she needed to be in order to gain Allah’s approval and love.
The reality is that we will never taste the sweetness of life if we make it a mission of striving to meet other people’s expectations. We cannot waste our time trying to live up to another person’s dream of our life. Rather, we must create our own compelling vision by directing our focus upon what Allah Most High wants from us.
When we exert our energy towards trying to achieve His eternal pleasure, Allah Most High will place goodness in what we do and always keep us on a path that leads us to Him. If we break free from the chains of others and become sincere slaves of Allah, this is what will give us true purpose, absolute freedom, and total fulfillment in life inshaAllah.
Identities have been changed in order to protect client confidentiality.
© Muslima Coaching, 2019.