Mindful Ramadan 2021 #04 – Acceptance With Dr. Rania Awaad

Haleh Banani


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The importance of acceptance in healing is discussed, with speakers emphasizing the need for everyone to have a dialogue and surrender to their emotions to achieve acceptance. The success of healing is highlighted, with the importance of acceptance and rewriting oneself to be the own narrative. The fruit of love and acceptance in relationships is also discussed, with speakers emphasizing the need for acceptance and a positive mental health journey.

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Salam Alaikum. And welcome to a mindful Ramadan, sadness, disappointment, fear. We've all experienced these emotions. Some people fall apart. Some people question their faith. But some people emerge with a stronger conviction and are empowered by the lesson. Today's topic is about acceptance. And it's very dear to my heart because I apply it both professionally and personally. Professionally, I've used it with 1000s of people gain radical acceptance through the betrayals through the through the abuse and the disappointments. And personally, on a personal level, it has really helped me to accept some tragic life losses. Many of you already know that. About six months

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ago, I lost my mother, who was not only my best friend, she was a role model and my biggest cheerleader, and she went from being a strong, successful entrepreneur with positive energy to motivate anyone around her playing beach volleyball with my friends full of vitality and life and ambition. Who becoming completely paralyzed by a debilitating disease, ALS, she lost her ability to walk, she lost her ability to eat, she had a feeding tube, and she lost her ability to even speak in the last year. And towards the end, I was not able to even see her say goodbye to her or even prey on her janazah and it was through that acceptance that it helps me to actually come to terms with

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this. And not only to accept that but to believe in the other of Allah because the acceptance comes from accepting the other of Allah and unhandled law. It is why this topic is so dear to me and so precious and we are we are so blessed to have a very special speaker and guests with us today. Dr. Rania al was Salam aleikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh Monica cinema Rahmatullah who better katsu? Mashallah, I am so impressed with the work that you're doing. Dr. Rania is a practicing psychiatrist, Mashallah based at the Stanford University, and she's a clinical associate professor and Stanford Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences Mashallah research and director of

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Stanford Muslims and mental health lab. You are also Mashallah you've written a textbook on combining psychology and Islam which is so impressive Mashallah you're involved with organizing and leading the way Mashallah for the health professional, the mental health professionals, it makes me so proud to see the effort that you're making your shining star and we're so happy to have you here with us today. masala notic. Hello, biggie. Thank you so much. And I really appreciate being here and I want to send you again, my condolences for your mother to my IRA. And I Francella that it's an easy road for you even though it's very difficult. I mean, unfunded land handle it is with the

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acceptance that Mashallah Allah makes everything easy. And that's why I feel this topic is so critical because we've all experienced different kinds of losses and, and struggles. And when we learn the concept of acceptance, what does it do for us tell us from a clinical perspective, how acceptance helps us in the healing process? Absolutely. It very much is a very powerful thing. As you mentioned, Cipolla is really a core factor in being able to move to the next stage, we talk about how when difficult things happen. And there's tribulations of various sorts, we always talk about the stages of grief, right, which has in it at the very end of it, acceptance. And when you

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think about what that means, and by the way, those stages don't happen all one after another, necessarily, sometimes they overlap. And sometimes we go back and forth, before we finally get to that level of acceptance. But clinically speaking, when a person is able to reach that point, they're able to then move to the next chapter, if you will live their life and move forward. Even if it means you know, kind of mentally move forward, even if they're not able to physically or even emotionally move forward just yet. So I think that's the difference.

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In a piece of this puzzle, absolutely it is the last stage. And once we get that, I think not fighting it and realizing that whatever is happening, I think what gives me that comfort is knowing that everything that happens is for our best, and whether it is painful, whether it's difficult or not, when you know that the master plan is perfect, then it helps you to surrender. Absolutely right. And I, you know, reminder that what you're saying of the area and then put an answer to that talks exactly about this, you know, where it's very difficult to actually when you read this first it actually the fellow read it, inshallah it says, Lhasa and pushy a little while Sharon Lakhan will

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love who you are, Adam, what ends amiata anemone. And so sometimes, you know that translation is, and perhaps you might hate something or don't like something, but it's actually good for you. And perhaps that you might like something, and it's bad for you. And Allah knows, and we don't know. And that last part of it of like, sometimes we don't know, is part of that acceptance is kind of accepting that Allah subhanaw taala ultimately knows what's best for us. And having that kind of that trust and hope in Him

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are the keys to acceptance is that's such a powerful first and many times it's used, and it is about understanding it and accepting it in your heart, right? Because it's so easy to say, to accept it. But it's, it's a different level, when you really, you really implement this level of acceptance, a beautiful reminder, Mashallah. And, you know, sometimes we ask ourselves, you know, with this idea of acceptance, or an Arabic, we would call this, you know, real blah, blah, blah, right, like the acceptance of what Allah has written for us. And sometimes people ask, you know, why, how come? Why did this happen to me? Did it have to be me? Right? And I want to say that these are very natural

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questions, even on the path of acceptance, like, even as we're working towards acceptance, it is only actually human to ask these questions, right? And it's all the questions that are problematic to have in our heads and to ask about it, but rather to figure out what to do with that, how do you answer the questions that come about, because what you mentioned at the very beginning of some people, you know, accept and move forward quite nicely. And others really, really struggle, and sometimes it right wears down the very fabric of their own faith, right. And kind of a lot of life circumstances really start to shift because of the tribulation or difficulty that happened to them.

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So you know, part of this is just remembering that, in that ayah, that talks about Allah knows, and we don't know, is remembering that. In not maybe understanding fully The story is also the acceptance, it's part of that acceptance, right? That Allah promises to give us Sakina Sakina is the serenity in our hearts, if we accept the plan that he has in place for us, right? Without questions, you were saying that it is very natural. I like to adjust them, I get my clients to adjust the question by saying, instead of saying, Why did this happen to me by saying, what is the wisdom of this happening, that sets our mind into searching for the wisdom because there's always wisdom, and

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you may not see it right then and there. But when you're searching for it, and there's that certainty in your heart that it is going to come about whether we realize it or not. So

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I love that reframing. That's a beautiful way to reframe, you know, what does a loved one for me? What is the message in this for me? And sometimes that really helps, because then you also build a strong bond with your Creator, the one who has decided all things for us, right? And in that there's a dialogue, there's actually dialogue. So many people say that they don't feel that they have a connection with Allah with God and, or have even a dialogue. They might do prayers, like the ritual prayers, but don't necessarily dialogue with the last panel. And so what you're teaching your clients there is basically how to have a dialogue with a lot. And it keeps you connected, it keeps

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you connected, you don't feel that because the person is that he is closer to us than our juggler veins. So if he is the closest thing to us, we need to constantly have that line of communication open inshallah. Absolutely, absolutely. Always remember that we sometimes think we know what we want. But Allah knows what we need. Yes, yes. That's very powerful to rendering to that. Yes. surrendering to that because you may want so many things, but it's not. It's not in our best interest. So in acquiring this acceptance right off the bat, how do we attain this out of people who are right now being challenged, whether with losses whether it with, you know, losing their jobs or

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loved ones, how do you get to the point of getting to that level of spiritual maturity because it really does take quite a bit of maturity to achieve this. Absolutely. Absolutely.

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You know, one of my, one of the, for me like an inspiration, inspirational quote that I always go back to, is actually by non Shafi. He had this beautiful quote where he says that he finds what his heart is at ease, knowing that what was meant for him will never miss him. And what misses him was never meant for him. Beautiful. That's powerful.

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Oh, yeah, I think about that, like, it's, it's not it's nothing, nothing is haphazard, everything is very much already in. And so we have these anxieties and worries about things that may never even come our way in the first place. Right? Or be tribulations we have. And there's other things that do come our way. And it was meant for us and in that, I'm also reminded of another, in this case, an area where a loss of products out it says when Lucy when a marketer Manuel Molina, right? Nothing will ever happen to us, except Allah has ordained so he's ordained it, then he reminds us to also an in a different idea, right? Where you can live long lives and Ella was right, almost not going to

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burden us with what he gave us that tribulation, while he's not going to burden our souls more than we can bear. And it's so amazing, I feel like Allah is comforting on hearts through these verses through the heartbeat of headache that comes to mind is the one that if the whole world was to, you know, to plan or to plot against you, and Allah didn't go for it, it wouldn't have been if the whole world was to do something for you, and he didn't want to wouldn't happen. So it's basically telling us to lessen our anxiety to let go and to surrender. And that there's a lot of peace and a lot of healing that comes through that. So those are beautiful verses

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that the let go and let God right. Yes.

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Mashallah, so in this process of attaining acceptance, what would you like to share with our audience as far as how to attain this? I would say that it's very much a work in progress, it's never run, once I'm done kind of situation, acceptance, or that a lot. You know, having that experience in the father of a moment, what he's written for us, is something that we have to work on daily, actually. And, and sometimes they are the small things, and sometimes they're the big things, right? Sometimes we'd do well with one and not the other. And that's just the nature of life. And so when we remember that, I think it's to know that every day we get up to sort of say to ourselves,

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right, you know, I accept, and this is actually practicing some of the greats, if you will, of our Muslim past, that they would actually get up and say, a lot, I accept everything, and anything that comes my way, give me the strength to carry it through. Right, right. It reminds me of the tranquility, prayer, that God gives me the strength to change the things that I can change, right, the patience to accept the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference. So when we go with that mindset, it's like nothing will really shake you. I mean, obviously, we'll feel those negative emotions, but you don't have to hit rock bottom. You don't have to, you know, fall into despair.

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It's just amazing how healing it is. Absolutely, absolutely. I think that's part of the acceptance process, too. I mean, that's the goal, right? Like that, we get to a point where we feel keeled through this what is actually a difficult world. I mean, this, this, the scholars talk about the dunya the world that we're in as the abode of tribulation, like it's meant to happen, and having to beat these tribulations happened consistently to us. And everyone has a different set of tribulations, right? No two people have exactly the same. And in that, you know, having that acceptance is that word again from earlier about sukeena. Or that serenity that enters our hearts

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when we know about how to survive.

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I love that I there's an analogy I use, I say it's kind of like these trapeze artists in the circus. Right? And when they, you know, how do they do the things that they do? It's because of that safety net, right? No one would dare do those kinds of stunts if they didn't have to say, Allah is our safety net. And, and when we know that he has our back it just stuff like comforting. Absolutely, absolutely. And, you know, I think about how, if Allah Subhana, Allah brought you to something He has promised, literally promised us in the end that he's going to see you through it. So sometimes we lose sight of that. And we forget, and we say, No, no, I don't want this right.

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And none of us I mean, the reality is none of us want to be in a pandemic, right? Like, that's where we're at this moment in history, but so panela there, I always think about like, what is the wisdom and not like you phrase that so beautifully earlier? What are we meant to take from this room and to learn from this bit that specifically that example, is something we're all going through globally.

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Right, and experiencing at different levels, but there's a certain acceptance of like, okay, I'll drop the you have decided that this is what humanity is going to face now and 2021 and 2020. Right? knows how long, but we accept this, please give us the strength and the wisdom to carry. Yes, it's a beautiful dog. And I think when you do that, then you don't fall into the despair. You don't fall into the anxiety because many people who have not developed it's a muscle, right? It's a muscle, this acceptance is a muscle. And I look at life as an obstacle course that Allah has designed with our strengths and weaknesses. And

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it's like, oh, I'm going to an obstacle course and say, Well, this is too hard. It's meant to be hard. It's meant to challenge us and, and I think, as we build our acceptance muscle, we be we gain, we gain mastery, little by little. Absolutely. I love that so much and appreciate that example of the muscle

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it's overstaying early, right? It means that every day we have to strike in a kind of like exercise. If you go at it for a period of time, you get very strong but you if you leave it, the muscle regresses, like it actually weakens, and goes back to its original state, or even worse, potentially, less of the most of it wastes away. We'll keep on actively working on it, we lose something there. Yeah. And I think it has to do with being gentle with ourselves as well. Because there's always that initial shock we may be, we may not handle it the way that we want, especially if the muscles a little flabby, right. But as we are gentle with ourselves, and, and work towards

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that aspire towards that because Allah never expects perfection, he just wants us to keep striving. And and I think that's an important message. Because some people that we know that with the hit of calamity, where we are supposed to have that level of acceptance, but it takes time to develop that. Absolutely. And I think about how Ramadan, you're speaking of Ramadan, and how Allah spent Allah gave us a month in the year that taught us or teaches us basically how to get up every single day and get through a difficult task, right? And it's, it's a marathon, it's a daily thing. And it's not a sprint, and if we're not gentle with ourselves, right? We burn out and we can't really actually

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get it done. And we lose the essence of what the month was for in the first place. Right? Beautiful. Yes, it's getting that the training ground and the launch path for the rest of the year. So inshallah we strengthen ourselves in these areas, and then we can move forward. And in your practice, what have you seen, like the role of acceptance? In, in working with clients? I'm sure you, you've heard some horrific stories as we have in this in this line of work? And how do you feel like acceptance plays a role in achieving that sense of let's say, whether it's peace or coming to terms with what has happened, it is a key and crucial component of the healing process. It really

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is. And it's, it's, um, it's kind of very similar to the stages of grief that we talked about, it doesn't happen always literally at or in a, you know, in a neat fashion all the time. Right? It's, but it's definitely something that is, I would say, one of the keys to healing and without, with, without, which it might be very actually difficult to do. So.

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It is also what allows and gives hope, to the future. You know, because if we can accept, even if it's troubling to us that we can accept what happened in the past, right, we were able to kind of move forward from it into the future. And really, we talked about this a lot in therapy of rewriting that narrative to be your own narrative, right? And making sense of it in a way that helps you heal and move forward. Yes, yes. As you were describing this, I just, I imagine when someone is stuck in the why it's kind of like being in quick. You know, if you're just asking why, why, let's say if I just say, Why did my mother have to die? Or why did this have to happen? Then you're just stuck.

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You're never going to move beyond that. But if you ask like, how can I move from this? Like, how can I learn how can I emerge, then you're actually is kind of like getting a rope and you're like pulling yourself out of this out of this quicksand. So I love that. I love that example of pulling yourself out of the quicksand and kind of giving yourself tools by which to do so. I also think another layer of this is really, when you reach a point of acceptance for what's happened, whatever it may be. One of the things that I also find happening is that people have, it heals, not just them but sometimes heals.

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refinery heals their relationship with their meter, right with the divine and the loss of data. And I think about how acceptance is really

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the fruit of love, pro loss of hundreds, our data, and I'll explain what I mean if you don't tell me, you know, so like having love what we think about people we love, right? It's people that you know, we accept them for who they are, we see good in what they do. And we call that acceptance or we accept them, we love them. And there's an unconditional love, right? And when you love someone or something, you're willing to kind of see past difficulty right or see past something that's not pleasing to you. Because there's a core kind of love there. And so I think about how acceptance is the fruit of that love, right of beautiful ability to really have that loving relationship with god

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yes. I love how you bring that up because you know, there's the five A's of loving by Rico and it's just beautiful how the a the five A's of learning so acceptance, attention, affection, and one of the allowing, and there was another one, acceptance, affection. Okay, I'll remember it inshallah. But the acceptance is a big part of it. And I love that you you associate that because usually that's drawn for relationships and marriages and with families, but to have that with with Allah is a beautiful connection. I think the goal, the goal here, inshallah, were everything that we're doing and all the difficulties that we may bear in this life, Mashallah. And, you know, I feel that

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there's been so much progress within our Muslim community. I know when was like 1998 when I when I graduated from my master's program, and at that time, the Muslim community was very resistant to anything about mental health. And there was just very, it was a stigma It was a taboo, no one wanted to talk about it, no one was in immersed thing you know, it's conversing about it. And it just makes me so happy seeing people such as yourself Mashallah dedicating your life and in research and connecting the the gems from our community, I love what you are doing as far as that Muslims, they were the forerunners in the field of psychology and mental health. And bringing that and sharing it

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and much online. Now, I feel that there's so much more openness, it has become so, so much more acceptable, which is heartwarming, and I'm so happy. Speaking of acceptance, yeah, that's,

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yes, yes, our communities are becoming accepting of mental health. And it's not as much of a taboo and it's being discussed, and Mashallah the, you know, the moms and the shields and the massages are working hand in hand with mental health professionals to create awareness. So it's like, it is such a catharsis, you can't imagine, I would only imagine Michelle, like, I was part of that era were very, where I really felt like, I was on an island, all by myself trying to do this work. It's just like, who else is doing this?

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together, so panel law, and although we still have a long way still to go, we are much further than we've ever been support we really have. It's comforting. It's definitely inspiring to see the progress that has been made. And I really enjoyed your discussion and the discussion about acceptance. Are there some parting words, some gems that you'd like to share with the people tuning in as far as acceptance and, and what you would like to say as your parting words? Absolutely. I thank you so much for having me here. I think it's been a wonderful discussion on this concept of acceptance and moving, you know, having it be kind of a healing process for all of us. I in my, you

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know, what I would probably end with here is, you know, as we think about acceptance in order to heal in order to keep marching ahead, right. And to me, sometimes what I do and when I think about how difficult especially the last, you know, time here, visit here has really been for all of us globally, I think about how Allah, Allah has given us these tough times, but it's also made us tougher. Yeah. And I remind myself that whatever he sends our way, he has the power to also take it away.

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Nice. Love, brought us to it, then inshallah to Allah, he's going to bring us through it. That's a beautiful perspective to end on. Right. It's one of optimism one of hope. And, and as a believer, we have no choice but to be optimistic. I always love saying this, that there is we have no choice. You know, we can't be a pessimist. We have to always have that hope and that knowing that Allah is king

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Capable of all things and he can get us through this though just like a lot hit on for your reflections your beautiful reminders and May Allah reward to reward your family for all the hard work that you're doing for the emotional Mendelssohn community and may Allah put butter cuts in it and keep you going strong and and really we've benefited so it's like a lot of hate on y'all come along on the army and and all the same to you and more in shalom. So much take care salaam aleikum wa rahmatullah wa alaikum, salaam, alaikum, Somalia

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