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Overcoming Compassion Fatigue, Numbness, and Burnout

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Omar Suleiman

Channel: Omar Suleiman

Episode Notes

Episode Transcript

© No part of this transcript may be copied or referenced or transmitted in any way whatsoever. Transcripts are auto-generated and thus will be be inaccurate. We are working on a system to allow volunteers to edit transcripts in a controlled system.


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Dear brothers and sisters, we begin with our praise of Allah subhanho wa Taala. And we bear witness that none has the right to be worshipped or unconditionally obeyed except for him, we bear witness that Muhammad Sallallahu wasallam as his final messenger,

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we ask Allah to send his peace and blessings upon him, the prophets and messengers that came before him, his family and companions that served alongside of him, and those that follow in their blessing path until the day of judgment. And we asked a lot to make us amongst them alone. I mean,

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your brothers and sisters, often when you hear terms like self care, and self help, and emotional burnout,

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they sound very much so like they come out of a self help book or a five week program online for 3999. That will change your life forever. And if you just start doing this, or telling yourself this, and everything is going to change, and it's a growing genre for people to suggest ways out programs to quickly shift our lives, and to get us on a path of happiness and fulfillment, because this generation is suffering from loneliness, depression, at rates that are not only alarming, but unprecedented

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suicide rates,

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isolation, all of these different things that are growing in our time, and a lot of people try to deal with that by going to Google and searching for something to quickly get them on the right path. And it's about how do I make myself feel better, and then this notion of self care. And sometimes self care means it's really just a nice way of saying that I've given too much of myself to everybody else. Now. I'm just gonna do me. And so it's going to be a radical shift of perspective. And the way that I live my life now, I've cared too much about everybody else. And no one else has reciprocated. I gave too much to life. And life did not give back to me, I gave too much to my

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friends, but they never gave back to me that way. You know what, in my marriage, I've been the one that's been doing this, this, this and that, and that person has not my spouse has not reciprocated, so forget about it. I'm just gonna do this from now on, right. So self care, when people start searching for self care, usually, it's to turn the page after burnout. And because they feel like they've given too much of themselves, and now they want to turn that page. And so I wanted to start this football off with that, because this is a different type of self care that we're going to talk about today. inshallah, tada, we're going to talk about it from the capacity of the sooner,

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particularly in regards to emotional burnout, compassion, fatigue, and being completely overwhelmed by everything that's happening around you to a point that you feel like you have nothing more to spend. emotionally. Kashmir happens. And it's horrible. But I just got finished watching a report on Philistine the same day, Yemen the same day. And we have things happening in our border, do I even have time to think about the kids that are coming up from Guatemala and El Salvador and Honduras that are getting put in cages and treated worse than animals just a few miles away from me? How do I even start to think about these people? I only have such a capacity when I'm thinking about the

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world's problems? How do I even direct that capacity? And at some point, do I just burn out, I'm no longer able to cry anymore. You know, seeing images desensitizes us, we see so many of them, but at the same time, ignoring them is not the solution, saying I'm not gonna look at them anymore, because they depress me, I'm gonna stop reading the news, because it depresses me. You know, that, that has a certain amount of privilege to it, that the Prophet sallallahu wasallam did not afford to us, they just say no, I'm gonna turn my back on him because I need to feel better, I don't feel good right now, I need to enjoy my life. And these images are not helping me enjoy my life. And so I need to

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turn my back on it. So the idea is, how do I build capacity like the Prophet sallallahu, alayhi wasallam, to where I could be exposed to so much, and still have much to give to all of that, or something to give to all of that without depleting myself to where I am ineffective as a constructive person in society. And also find myself in a place where I no longer can make any significant strides in my own individual journey to Allah subhana wa tada and in trying to find the best of the Hereafter, and the best of this life in pursuit of the hereafter as well. So you start off with the profits on the lahardee he was selling and there is this incredible ability of the

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profits of a lot right? He was sell them when you look at him, and there's so many times that you read about the profit slice on them, and you could actually just come away saying, well, he's a prophet. He was a prophet that he's the Prophet. The only answer is that you know what, I can't do all that I can't serve the day and night and then come home and still repair my shoes, what couldn't be sigma t le, the way the profit slice was described and the sigma of this industry

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his household when he came home can do all that I can't be Superman outside the house and be Superman inside the house. I can't give this to this person and that to that person, he's just the profit slice. I love how amazing. Therefore there's no need for me to even strive because that's just him. He's just also lost a lot while he was selling. And it's an enormous capacity. How is it that a man it is Salatu was Salam could still have the capacity to care for a bird complaining about its nest, when he suffered so much human loss in his own life? How do you even have that potential? How do you have that capacity to think about a camel being overburdened? Or a bird complaining? Or a

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cat complaining? Or the animals and all of the rights of these other things when you've suffered such human loss in your life? How did that not diminish you?

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To where you couldn't think about those things anymore? But the prophets lie Selim still could, how do you cry for others and still smile at them despite having married six of your seven children?

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That's an enormous catastrophe. And having lost everybody in your life that supported you at some point how do you still smile all the time? How do you still cry for other people's pain and not diminish their pain because your pain is so much greater than their pain? You know, in our situation we see the catastrophic nature of the world around us

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we're not going through what they're going through.

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Right our struggles are are relatively minor miniscule compared to the types of horrible things we're constantly seeing all over the place right so how does the profit slice and I'm being on the other side of that a man who has gone through so much human loss still have something to give not just to other human beings but to everything around him as well? How does the profit slice um there's different levels of capacity to the profit slice some escaped was prayer and sometimes there's an unhealthy escape that can take place but the profit slices escape and prayer was not one that made him ignorant of everything else around him. No one loved his prayer more than the profit

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slice on them right? No One No human being can say they have more assured more focus, more humility and all of a lot in their prayer. But guess what, when he was leading Salah, the prophet sly Some said I heard a baby crying in the back. And I wasn't too busy in my abakada earlier Milan and Elisa to hear that baby, he heard the baby and the prophets lie. Some said I sped up my prayer out of feeling for the mother that was probably stressed out over the baby, not the muscle lean that want to pounce on the mother of the baby and beat up the father and look around. Where's he at? Because the baby was crying and so on. No, he felt sad for the mother who was probably more stressed about

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her baby. How do you have that capacity? Your embouchure no one enjoys his salon during the quarter at the salon. The coolness of his eyes was part of the profits license. addition, Abby hayashida calmness with the prayer prayer was his moment it his slot to stop but he still hears it. And it impacted him. So it wasn't an escape that made him ignorance of the world around him. But it was different. He had capacity for this. And capacity for that. How does the prophets lie? Some of them have the capacity to not just love his companions that were around him. But Homer quani Bobby, they're my brothers. They're my beloved ones. Who are they a messenger of a lot Medina and Ruby,

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while I'm here, only those who believe in me, and they've never even seen me, us. How do you even have capacity to love us?

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When you've got so much around you? But the prophets lie some actively connecting himself to people that he would never see people that he would never know their names or their stories, but still the prophets lie some felt a deep connection to them. So that's an enormous capacity. And the answer is that yes, he is a prophet. He's not just any prophet will not answer Naka. Allah Allah mean the prophets lie Selim. Allah describes them as the following we have not sent you except as a mercy to the world's not even just a mercy to mankind, not Muslims, not a mercy to the Muslims, a mercy to all human beings a mercy to all the animals have mercy to the environment, a mercy to his past and

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reviving the best of it and correcting the miss the Miss do deeds before to his presence in reforming his world to the future and leaving behind guidance that is as pristine and clear as night and day that we can implement real life examples to better our world as well. To The Future the hero with his shutout with his intercession, he is what I mean. So he's a mercy to all the worlds now here's the thing.

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He was sent as a mercy to the worlds but he was also sent as Switzerland hessen

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as a great example for you,

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for you to adapt whatever you can. And so if the prophets lie Selim is described as a mercy to the worlds The closer we become to resembling

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Abraham a mercy to everything and everyone around us. The closer we become to the to that status, and to exemplifying the Prophet sallallahu wasallam in our own lives, the more we resemble the lion, I mean, that idea of being a mercy to the world. The closer we get to his example, alayhi salatu was salam, and to fulfilling our own human potential. So yes, he had incredible capacity, and his thought was set up something that we could not attain in our own lifetimes. But he did leave behind something for us to try to implement. And that is that the Prophet sallallahu alayhi wa sallam, despite exceeding in every single sphere of life still left behind remarkably an example of balance.

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You could take work life worship balance from the life of the Prophet slicin. Or you could take society, family lessons and balance from the profit slice on he's still left behind a son of moderation too. Because there's still a baseline and every one of those spheres of the profit slice of his life that we can take from. Now, again, I want to focus today on this concept of self care. How do you build that capacity to be able to give so much to everything and everyone around you? Where do you even get to that point? And how do you not suffer from what so many people do, which is this level of just burnout where they completely shut off on anything to do with anybody because you

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know what I've done, I paid my dues. I'm retiring from della, I'm retiring from the lizard retiring from somebody else take over this stuff, I don't want anything to do with this stuff anymore. I'm done. I'm retiring from trying to be super husband, I'm retiring from trying to be a good dad, retiring from trying to be a good friend, I'm sick of it all. Forget about it, it's the world's turn to repay me, and to do good by me, I've done enough good for the world around me. So how do I actually start to get that Now, first and foremost, let's look at the framing. Because sometimes you got to start from the beginning, from the awesome the framing of why this is important in the first

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place. Because it is dramatically different in the Islamic conception than it is in our secular consumption today, in an era of hyper individualism, everything is done, everything that you do is so that you can make yourself a happier person, meaning you engage acts of charity, not to the extent that that charity is needed to support someone else's cause or to get some some other cause over the hump. You do enough acts of charity to where you feel good about yourself being a charitable person.

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You don't engage acts of prayer or devotion or service to where they're required of you or obligatory upon you, you do them to the extent that they can fit into this perfect puzzle to make you the most fulfilled and happy person.

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Still greed.

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It just has nicer aesthetics. It's still self serving, serving the self in a different way, using others to serve self not using self to serve others. That's not the Islamic conception of it all. I don't have to tell you that. It is going to make you happier in the day for you to do it. It's obligatory upon you, does it count as obligatory upon you? These things are mandatory. So the basic courtesies, these are things that Allah as obligatory made obligatory upon you, and it starts from that place, and yes, from the mercy of Allah, is that good deeds make you feel good, too. They bring about more fulfillment and goodness in life, but you got to start from that place, not from the

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place I'm gonna engage spirituality and religion, only to the extent that I feel better about myself. It's not how it works. That's why activism becomes very performative. Let me go take place in this protest and catch a selfie and the protest and say, yeah, free Kashmir. Kashmir is still under occupation.

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What's your next step? But I feel good about myself because I went and shouted a bunch of slogans about Kashmir. I'm the lab rather good for you. I'm glad you went to the protest.

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Are you making draw for them at night?

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Are you trying to think about avenues of way to actually rectify the situation? So it's, it's you engage things to the just to the extent that I feel good, I press share. I am woke on social media. Well, wait a minute, start from here.

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The Islamic conception is actually the opposite. It's how do I become the most able to Allah subhana wa tada

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and the most beneficial Hadith to the people? How do I become the most able servant to a loss of a slave to Allah? subhanaw taala worship of Allah. How do I become the most obedient worshiper? The most complete worshiper to Allah, and also the most beneficial servants of the people. How do I find how do I fulfill self to a point that I can get to a point where I'm doing the best in those regards?

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See the difference. It literally is the complete opposite. In the first conception, you try to fit others

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into the pieces that fit yourself. In the second conception, you try to put yourself in the best place to work for something that's bigger than you. And that's the one that a lot in the messenger sallallahu wasallam, call us to and it speaks to go, it speaks to goal that you will involve yourself in goodness, not to the extent that it fulfills you. But to the extent that it's needed, and you try to get yourself to a place that you need to be to be able to do all of that good. And to have that capacity to take on those things. There's an example that they have in self care now talking about self care about why you need to take care of yourself to be able to take care of

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others, it's often used, they talk about the airplane,

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if any of you have ever been on a plane, and they announced the emergency procedures and protocols, and you have not already fallen asleep or started to watch a movie, or whatever it is, they tell you that before you put your oxygen mask on your children, put it on yourself first. That's not because they want your children to die. That's not because they're telling you Hey, you know this is so you're more important than your children. That's not the message here. But they're not going to explain the Mk said, The objective of that on a plane video. What is that for? It's because if you don't put it on yourself first, in all likelihood, you're not going to get it on your child on time.

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And so you won't be in a place that you're functioning enough to be able to save yourself or the child and so you'll have a bunch of people frantic, acting frantic on the plane, as opposed to actually trying to do what they need to do. Is this Islamic? Yes. Who and full circle? What alikum Nana,

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protect yourselves and your families? from jahannam. Protect your family, protect yourselves and your families. A honeycomb nada? Why does Allah mention yourself first, because you cannot prescribe these things on your family and take care of family. If you're not taking care of yourself. There's a spiritual level of this too, by the way, you want your children to become a father, but you're not even attempting to finish disarm them.

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What's the point?

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What are you doing for yourself so that you can do for your kids too. You got to protect yourself and protect your children. You've got to take the spiritual necessities for yourself, and then embark that upon or impart that upon your children as well embark on that journey together. You can't do it for them, if you're not doing it for yourself. You cannot protect your spouse or involve your spouse or involve your children involve your siblings or everyone else around you. If you're not doing for yourself, so Allah subhanho wa Taala mentions the consumption of this as well factor c'est la vie de that the one who does not get who does not have now you're okay, he cannot give if

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you don't have something you can't give it. Eventually you give, give, give and you're so depleted that you frustrate the people who don't have expectations of you.

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And you deplete yourself in the process to where you no longer have anything. And so you burn out and they burn out too. And it's a bad situation for everybody. Same thing with Salva right you can't give to a point that you ruin yourself a lot does not tell you to give charity and put yourself in debt. A lot tells you take care of your debts and give charity get yourself to a place of financial self sufficiency and give charity as well. And your charity is proportional to that because you've got to be in a place to where you can give to others. All of these things matter. They're all interconnected. A loss of the Prophet sallallahu wasallam mentioned as balance even in worship.

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In our Deen you don't worship until you exhaust yourself or burn yourself out. And there's something very beautiful about this that the Prophet sallallahu Sallam taught us to see sleep as a bother to sleep sleep as part of worship not just as an enabler of worship, to see sleep itself as a form of worship. Why because you're sleeping so you can do better in your wakefulness. While the alarm Tyler actually said in the last test, he will no matter and the luck and that's it. I seek the reward for my sleep. The same way that I seek the reward for my standing up in prayer at nights they're both for Allah unsleeping to give myself the energy to do good at night to stand up and to pray at night.

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I have that intention. When I go into my sleep that this is to build my capacity to worship Allah subhanho wa Taala it's a bother, it's worship. It's sinner self care. And so how do you equate that done? If that's the if that's how you deal with your eba How do you then equate that to your ama so in worship, anything that you do to make yourself more able at worship is worship itself right. So then

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cast out on everything else in life. I remember going to Josie him a whole lot.

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He said that when you do something that is merely hello to an A

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you to do something that is meant to do which is recommended. So when you engage in something that is merely permissible, there is no dominant, you do some form of action that is merely permissible, so that you can be better at doing something that is good, or you can abstain from something that's forbidden. So you take up a helot habit, or Hello pastime, or leisure or whatever it is, to abstain from something that's forbidden, or to get you to a place where you can do more good. All right, so he said about hemo Lazzara to do something nearly held up for the sake of being able to do more of manduca becomes manduca. In and of itself, it becomes a rewardable act in and of itself.

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When I do quote, unquote, self care, for the sake of being better at something else, that act itself is rewardable, in the sight of Allah subhanho tan, because that made sure that it complied with halaal. With things that are good and permissible and lawful, I didn't indulge in forbidden things, so that I could get myself to a point where I've got more to give to people.

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Because if I'm not taking that time off to mentally refresh, emotionally refresh, physically get my place to it. So yes, your workouts are hella not necessarily all the Instagram videos of you working out. But your workouts are hella getting to a place of where you're healthy. Why am I physically healthy? Why am I mentally healthy? Why am I emotionally trying to be healthy so I can give more to my family. So I can do more for the community, all of that in that capacity of being a better app, all of that becomes sooner, all of that becomes rewardable in the sight of Allah subhanaw taala with the right intention, it's analogous to sleep and praying at night. And notice what I did not

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distinguish between the pm and the sleep, they are in the same category because Allah Allah is not increased or decreased by the amount of your output.

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Allah Subhana Allah requires of you the best effort and when they're both in the capacity of the effort, they're both just as rewardable. So taking your time out, allocating some time to work on yourself physically, emotionally, mentally, taking care of all of that to make you more able to build capacity, that in and of itself, becomes sooner, the exercise of gratitude.

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SubhanAllah if you if you go to any one of these things on what's called compassion, fatigue, you burn out and they talk about people that lose the luster of life, and they no longer can see anything. All of them. All of them include as a core element, literally gratitude exercises, and one of the loss of Hannah Montana saying the poor Angela in Chicago, as either,

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if you are grateful, I will increase you. And Allah did not limit the capacity of what the increase is in. So don't limit it yourself. A lot did not say if you increase in gratitude, a lot will increase you and faith. Allah did not say if you increase in gratitude, love will increase you as well, or increase your own health allow left and unlimited because the potential of it is unlimited.

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The potential of the what comes out of a person sitting with themselves in a regular irregularly prescribed time of the day or the week, to think about what they're grateful for and to actually contemplate their blessings.

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What comes out of that

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is unlimited and capacity.

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You could argue that's the Prophet sallallahu it was sometimes capacity, the secret of this capacity FLR quarter, and then shakoora it could stand up and pray at night and pray at night and pray at night and pray at night and do things that other people could not do stand longer than everybody else out worship everybody else. But what is it?

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I'm a grateful servants. I'm just trying to be grateful for all the things that lost parents out of bestowed upon me when you sit with yourself I'm not talking about you know, hamdulillah that quickly, I'm talking about like actually taking time out and to sit with yourself at night and to say, you know, what am I grateful for? What are the things that I'm grateful for in my life? What are the things that that I shouldn't be? Thank Allah subhanaw taala for if you don't do that, you will be miserable, always complaining, always unhappy, always depleted, always diminished, even if Allah gives you everything. always going to be upset, always going to be bitter. So you increase

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your capacity with gratitude and Allah subhana wa tada made that are limited. When we when they when they talk about celebrating your wins that as human beings we need to find that we're actually doing something meaningful. One of the prophets, Allah lahardee who has something to say, that tattooed on them in a matter of cliche, I don't be little good deeds. He said some lohani he was stellar. He does not care has an article was that as a trans woman, your good deeds make you happy and your bad deeds make you sad? You're a believer. That means your heart is alive. If when you do something good, you feel better. And when you do something bad you feel

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Worse, that that means there's a man in your heart, there's faith in your heart. That means your hearts alive. That's a good thing. It's when you become prideful and boastful over your good deeds, that it becomes problematic. But we need to feel that as human beings. So when people look at every good effort, and they diminish it, how many times have you seen that people who diminish good efforts actually have an alternative good efforts?

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How many times do naysayers provide an alternative? They don't.

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They depress you and they depress themselves man, Allah, Allah can ask for what the prophet sighs um, said, Whoever says people have no hope they won't perish, they're done. He's the most worthless of them all. You make everybody else worthless, you make yourself worthless. No, as people, we need to feel like we're making strides. So look at your wins. Look at your victories just don't become complacent with them or proud as a result of them. When they talk about personal boundaries, and this idea of protecting yourself, the Prophet sallallahu alayhi wa sallam he had that as well

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as giving of a person as the Prophet slice on was to the community around him. When the Messenger of Allah sallallahu Sallam entered his home. That was it, it was just him. It was just his family. And that's why the people would call out to Him from beyond the lot beyond his doors and asked him to come out and prod him to come out because once he was home, he was home.

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So the profit slice on knew how to set those boundaries, in order to make those things most useful. And lastly, dear brothers and sisters, to come back to this. This is not just a prescription for you. This is a prescription for everybody around you as well.

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Too often, we want that self care and that space for ourselves to be able to build our emotional health and our compassion and I need to get better I need this time for myself, but we don't afford the same things to our spouses.

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They need that

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they need that feeling of meaningfulness and that that feeling of capacity and refreshment and all of that to brothers and sisters. A beautiful narration of our each little deal on the Prophet sallallahu wasallam, where the Prophet slicin I'm asked to accept permission to go pray for the amulet early in the night because he used to early his slotless lamp spent a dedicated time with her.

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And the prophets lie, some would sleep and then he'd wake up and pray. But this time, he told he saw the alarm. As soon as he hit the bed. He said, you know, would you give me permission to go and spend some time with my Lord.

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Meaning I want to start my pm right away. He asked permission. I think his clock was slow. And I saw the alarm, her respond and she said Listen, I love your companionship. But I love what makes you happy. SubhanAllah it makes you happy. This is good for you. This is what's good. This is what you need right now. I understand. So she told the profit slice have to go ahead. And she said this was the most amazing thing I ever saw of the profits on the lahardee with someone when she was asked the most edgy thing, the most amazing wondrous thing she ever said. She said his whole life was agile was was wonderous. But this night, he stood up and he prayed the entire night reciting in the hope

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is somehow it will all walk the laughing lady when the hardware will kill it. It's actually feel very, very unfair and as long as certain Bachar about contemplating on the heavens in the earth, and he cried and cried and cried and cried. But look at the pretext to that the Prophet sly Salaam showed consideration like look, this is your time and I shall hold the alarm on prioritized. Set. I know you need this. I know you need this. Now brothers and sisters, it'd be good for us to need more cleaner lives.

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But if your spouse is not having that time and having that moment, then it's going to be a depletion for them and depletion for you and depletion in the whole household. You've got to negotiate that with each other and show that consideration for each other.

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Your leaders and rely I'm not talking about myself. Alright?

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Why do we beat up our moms and not you know, give them that time that they need for themselves. They have families to your volunteers that your massages that get abused, they need their spiritual time as well, your volunteers and your organization's people, you need to give people that chance to be able to grow and that's to the benefit of the community because everyone has to have that capacity. So we ask a lot to make us more complete as the Rebbe of him as slaves and worshipers of him and more complete. As a hardened as servants to his creation. We ask Allah to accept it all and to protect us from burnout and to protect us from isolation and to allow the best of our deeds to be

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reserved for the last of our days. And the best of our days to be the day that we meet him some particle attallah with those deeds qualified for his mercy allotment, I mean a cooler Colorado and stuff like that.

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When we started was we invest capital in the whole world. Why?