Mental Health – Stigmas, Grief, Coping, Conflict Resolution & Relationships
Channel: Sarah Sultan
File Size: 54.29MB
Salam Alaikum Yo, what's going on? I hope you guys are doing good. Your boys feeling better from COVID at hamdulillah And subhanAllah we got a highly anticipated episode for y'all the topic of mental health, and we have none other than sister Saira Sultan in the building Subhanallah I hope you guys are ready for this episode. She dived into so much Subhanallah and we had such an immensely beneficial discussion on the topic. Why is this topic even have a stigma associated with it? Right? What are the issues of mental health? What are some issues? What are some things that the youth are struggling with? In particular? What are some issues that can arise in relationships due to issues
of mental wellness or mental health, conflict resolution? What does that look like? Subhanallah the when should somebody actually seek some mental health in therapy and counseling, but I think it's going to benefit you guys immensely. So inshallah y'all go ahead, tune into this conversation. Salam Alaikum
Welcome to another episode of Talk your help. The podcast where we discuss the relevant topics impacting us Muslim Wester youth, to better connect with our faith inshallah. Today, I'm joined with none other than sada salon. Salaam aleikum, Sister Santa Monica de la I'm really happy to be here and hamdulillah thank you so much. Subhan Allah for those who do not know who sister sada is. She is a licensed professional counselor having obtained a master's degree in mental health counseling, and his practice therapy for nearly 10 years SubhanAllah. She is also both a research fellow at McLean Institute for Islamic research, and an instructor at both Mischka University and Al Maghrib.
Institute. So for those who do not know, I joined your course on a Muslim institute that was taught along with Chef Omar Solomon, and Chef Ahmed Hussein and it was immensely beneficial. I wonder, like for one just starting it off? Like, why was it important for you to be a part of this course. And to shed light on this topic? What does that lasted for? For that feedback, I'm happy to hear that it was beneficial and Hamdulillah. You know, the, the intersection between mental health and mental wellness and faith has always been something that's been an area of passion of mine? Well, I guess always stretching it probably since college. It's been it's been a passion of mine, and Hamdulillah.
And it's something that I think there for a long time, there has been a stigma associated with the field of psychology, therapy, mental health, mental illness in the Muslim community. And and people don't really realize that, you know, the impact that mental wellness can have on people's faith. And I think it's really important that it's given voice to. And so it was really a privilege to be able to do that course. And how did that. So Subhanallah that's very profound, you know, I wonder for one, because, like, as a youth Subhanallah, I find that this is a very important topic. But I feel like there's a disconnect with the generation before us. And I wonder why that disconnect? Is there.
Right? Do you have any idea of where these, I don't know, these negative stigmas surrounding the field has came up? Because I remember, you know, going through the modules, Chef, Ahmed Hussein was talking about how the Muslims were in the forefront, right, in these areas in these fields and academics, and topic talking about such an important topic. But it seems like we kind of, you know, just, we kind of watered it down, we kind of like put it under the, you know, just swept it under the rug. So where has this maybe come from? I think that's such a great question, Michelle.
You know, I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that emotions were considered a sign of weakness. For a lot of the you know, a lot of the our parents generations, our grandparents generations, they didn't have the luxury of really, you know, having that those moments to experience strong emotions in the same way that a lot of us do now. And and, and so a lot of it was associated with weakness, and something that was considered important to just, you know, sweep under the rug. This is we don't have time to deal with this. This is not important. What's important is you do what you have to do you push through it, and that's a sign of strength. Right. But it's
interesting that you mentioned that question because in a in the Mischka class that I teach on this subject, I actually brought up this exact question with my students a couple of weeks ago, and one of my students mentioned something really interesting that I hadn't thought about before related to this. And he was talking about the impact that potentially colonization might have had on this process and why mental health and the strength that we had as Muslims in this area have diminished so far, and a lot of it is probably because of lack of trust that ended up developing
thing where Western psychology is what became popular, so we lost a lot of our traditions, our Islamic traditions related to, to mental health. And a lot of what was embraced was Western psychology. And some of the concepts in Western psychology are great, but some of them are not really aligned with Islamic values. And so people focused on that and just abandoned it altogether. And so I thought that was a really a really profound point. So I want to share that, right Subhanallah that that is very profound. And you know, right now, subhanAllah one reason why I'm, like, especially passionate about about this field of mental health is because for the past seven
months, I've been pretty transparent here on the podcast, of how I've been doing therapy. And, you know, when I was looking for a therapist, and I was going through it, I wanted someone who was Muslim, you know, I wanted someone who's going to reflect my values, especially, I'm talking about things that are the most vulnerable part of my myself. And, you know, the lack of representation in the field is really astonishing. So like, I just want to applaud you for, you know, leading the forefront being a part of those few Muslims, especially a Muslim, a sister, who is Subhanallah, raising awareness on such a profound topic. But I wonder, why is mental health and spirituality I
know you say you take a faith based approach. Why is that so important when it comes to mental health specifically, because we see these topics discussed in isolation, but when they come together, why is that more impactful?
Well, does that love it for sharing a little bit about your own journey in therapy? I think that that's so wonderful, mashallah, that you that you took that step forward, and it's just so wonderful for personal growth and development, to, to take that step? Mashallah, you know, I think that, when with regards to your question about faith, and like the relevance of it, and using a faith based approach,
it our faith, especially as Muslims is such a core part of who we are, it's a core part of the way that we live our lives. And because it's such a, it's such an important piece within us, it does us a disservice. If we're trying to grow, we're trying to develop, we're trying to build self awareness, understand ourselves, understand our thoughts, our emotions, our behaviors, without taking into account such an such a pertinent part of ourselves, right. And so incorporating faith, it's like if you ignore that, if you ignore that piece of yourself, then you can't fully grow, you can't fully develop, you know, and traditionally, in the field of psychology, even when I was doing
my masters and my training, there was a lot of encouragement to separate faith, from mental health. But since in the past, like more than a decade now, since then, there has been a lot more of a push to realize that, wow, actually, spirituality has a huge impact on our mental health, and it's important to incorporate that. So I'm glad to see that the field of psychology is really reflecting that as well. Right? Subhanallah so how does that look like? Like? How does it look like to take a faith based approach compared to maybe traditional therapy? What are some of those practices or those conversations surround? So that's a great question. Um, Mashallah. So, the the basic, like, if
I'm going to describe it, basically, I view it as you have, like, I have the tools that I learned when I was studying mental health counseling. And then I have the tools that I've gained in terms of the the beauty of the AI terminal Quran, the Hadith of the Prophet SAW Selim, and everything, and then you combine the two of them wherever they overlap, and is irrelevant. So I'll give you an example. If somebody is saying, you know, something that I think a lot of people experience is, okay, well, I didn't wake up for fetch today. And so there's no point in doing the rest of my prayers if I like, there's no point I missed that one. So I'll just try again tomorrow. And so from
a psychological perspective, I would say okay, well, this is a cognitive distortion. This is an unhealthy thinking pattern called All or nothing thinking, which is like perfectionism. It's like, I either do it all or I do nothing at all. And then from the until we have to work on that. And so from the Islamic perspective, we can bring in actual evidences to explain why this all or nothing thinking isn't helpful. So instead of, okay, I didn't wake up for fetch, so I'm not going to do anything at all. The new thought would be something is always better than nothing. And Allah's path data rewards me for every single slot. So many times every verse that I recite every letter I
recite, I'm rewarded 10 times at least for that one letter. So isn't it better that I you know, that I do pray though, today, even if I missed fetch, isn't it better that I make up for fetch even if I was late, right because
There's always a chance to get those maisonnette. And it doesn't have to be perfect. Because you know, ALLAH SubhanA, Allah tells us that He will forgive anything that other than * other than associating with him, he's going to forgive everything. Right? So that's how you would use like the psychological chocolate changing your thought process, but bring in some of the Islamic aspect in there as well. Well, subhanAllah that's so profound. You know, I'm curious, because a lot of people, like some people, I get two reactions, one of two reactions, when I tell them, you know, I'm doing therapy, or when I recommend people, you know, maybe try it out. One of them was like, oh,
mashallah, like, this is something I've always been wanting to do. And then maybe there's another perspective of like, why would I want to surface up? You know, something that caused me tremendous grief? And what would it do? talking to somebody about it? What benefit would that bring about? And I'm just curious, from your perspective, and your background? What is that benefit? Yeah, and you know, a lot of people have that fear. And it's a very legitimate fear, right? Because a lot of times in therapy, you know, the way I view it is, you know, I have a closet, several closets in my house that I really need to purge, right? Like, I've just like, there's so much stuff, I need to get rid
of it. And, you know, whenever you're trying to clean out a full closet, it always gets worse before it gets better, right? You're just like, Oh, what am I How am I gonna get through all of this stuff. And that's how sometimes people are, that's why a lot of times people are afraid of therapy is, I don't want to open this Pandora's box, I don't want to open this closet of stuff, because it's going to cause me pain. But I would challenge that and allow people to realize those things are already causing you pain. It's just distributing like that pain is being distributed into different aspects of your life. And in ways that you might not be aware that that pain is showing up. So for example,
if you had a relationship in your life where somebody hurt you really badly, you felt betrayed by this person, you were very close, they you got really, really hurt, if you don't deal with that, because that pain is so it's scary to think about talking through that, to relive that to think about it again, what might inevitably happen is that in another relationship, you're just not going to be able to trust the person, because you're going to be afraid that you're gonna get hurt again. And so you're going to do things to break the trust before that trust can be broken against you. And then the relationship ends up getting destroyed, and the pain then gets amplified again, right. So a
lot of times, it's like, on the front end, you're dealing with pain in therapy, so that later on your life is much richer, and much better and more productive. Subhanallah that is so insightful. And I love how you incorporate the relationship dynamic part, because this is a real one. You know, in the podcast, we talked, we talked about relationships, many times Subhanallah on this podcast before, because this is something that's hot, especially amongst the youth and the omega large everybody, you know, looking to get married or, you know, something that has to do with relationships. And one big component is, like conflicts between relationships or marriages, because
of our own baggage is right things that we're coming to our relationship to, or self fulfilling prophecy,
prophecies that are manifesting, because of things that have happened to us that have shaped our thinking, unhealthy thinking patterns, like you mentioned, or other cognitive distortions, and are showing up, you know, and instead of looking inward, right, before so I wonder, you know, some people, they kind of, I wonder, like, getting into a relationship, they say that, you know, I want to avoid getting into a relationship because of, you know, hurt or pain, you know, or they're afraid, but I don't know, I feel like through relationships, you kind of discover or that thing, it's kind of forced out, you know, instead of like hiding. So what are like the role of
relationships, whether they're intimate, or with other people in our families? And, like, just, I would say, our mental health and cultivating that just with one another, because I was just popped up in my mind right now. That's such a great question, Michelle, Allah because, you know, you bring up a really wonderful point that like before an intimate relationship before getting married, for example, right? There's a lot of self growth that's needed in order to be self aware enough to know what is the baggage because everybody has baggage. What is the baggage I am bringing into this relationship? And how can I work on it so that it doesn't show up in a negative way? Right, but
rather that I know, okay, these are my triggers. These are the things that bother me. These are areas of sensitivity. This is how I inform my spouse about it. This is how we have conversations about it. And through that, there can actually be a lot of healing through having somebody who you really deeply care about who deeply cares about you, where you're able to have this healthy community
Shouldn't you're able to be vulnerable, and trust this person and have that trust honored, that can be very, very healing. And that's not just in marriage, that's in friendships that's in parent child relationships, sibling relationships, right? There's, there's a lot to be said, for, you know, taking that leap of faith, and sharing something vulnerable with a person, and having them hold it for you respond well, right, with validation, or like, wow, that that sounds like that must have been really hard, you know, I'm here for you, or whatever it is, and feeling safe, feeling safe in that and knowing that you're not alone anymore, it can be really, something very beneficial and
healing. And, and when we're thinking about that, we can also think about our relationship with Allah subhana data as well. And that when we trust Him, because you know, anything that we do, when we make.to Allah, that is an exercise in trust, we trust that he's going to hear it, we trust that even if he doesn't respond to the dot, exactly the way we want it, that he's going to give us what we need, even if it's not what we want, right. And so there's this exercise in trust and being vulnerable with Allah, that can also be very healing, but it does take some courage, especially when somebody has been through something traumatic, so, so our relationships can be very, very profound
in, in helping us to, to grow and to develop and to heal. Right, so how to love that is so profound. And, you know, one thing that we often encounter, you know, especially when we're going through turbulent times in our lives, you know, you know, and we try to vent to people, maybe in our cultures, and we're told, you know, you know, just be more patient, you know, just be a little bit more grateful. What is some of the merit behind these statements? And what are also some shortcomings behind these?
And that's a great question to Mashallah. So, you know, a lot of times people will say, like, you said, be patient, you know, say Alhamdulillah, right. And, you know, the thing is,
the struggle with this, is, they're not mutually exclusive, you can be in pain, and still be patient, you can be in pain, and still say it hamdullah and be grateful for the good in your life. They're not mutually exclusive, they can coexist with one another. Right? So, you know, for example, I was giving a talk recently, and I was talking about how, a few months ago, like during this COVID pandemic, situation, our house flooded, where we had like a burst pipe, and it just flooded all over the floor and woke up for Feds in one day, and I stepped in cold water. And it was a very interesting experience of how to low right.
I can be upset with the fact that like, obviously, I'm not happy that I'm waking up to water right in in my house and all the damage and having to deal with that and everything. But I could still be grateful and say, and how did I learn that this is not the health of my children, right? This is not the health of somebody that this is something that's repairable, it's replaceable, right? And being grateful for that, right. So I can sit with the emotion of like, wow, this is a lot to deal with in the morning. It's it's frustrating, it's a shock. And you know, I'm I'm, I'm a little bit upset about it, while still also being able to say Alhamdulillah. And the reason why a lot of people don't
like this type of advice is because it's given in the wrong way. It's given as a way to tell people, you shouldn't feel what you feel.
If you are upset, that means you're not grateful to Allah, if you're upset, that means you're not being patient. And that's not true. And so that's something called spiritual bypassing, where, where you use something religious, in order to, in order to bypass the emotional experience. So it would be something like, you know, when people when somebody is like, having a hard time, and they're talking about and someone's like, Good Vibes only. Right? Right, just like okay, well, thanks. That's not helpful, you know, and, and that's, that's bypassing the emotional experience. So the key, psychologically, and then I think, also Islamically, spiritually, is you have to feel the
emotion. And also exercise the spiritual advices. Like, you know, we think about the Prophet Muhammad SAW salaam when his son was passing away, son, Ibrahim, he was crying and his companions were a little bit confused, and they were a little bit concerned. Like, is he supposed to be crying? Is that okay? And they asked him like, are your crying that oh, so that was what I said. And he said, This is mercy. And he said, that the I shed tears and the and the heart is grieved, but the tongue does not utter other than what's pleasing to Allah. And oh, you know, you will be missed, you know, your your, your absence is going to we're grieving your absence, oh, Ibrahim, and so he is
reflecting his sadness. He is embracing his sadness and allowing himself to feel it, while still not being ungrateful to Allah
while still being patient, so you can actively be patient while experiencing emotion. And that's perfectly fine.
Wow. Subhanallah that is so Wow, mind blowing. Because when I think about that, you know, we're often told like, especially as a guy, you know, this is, this is something that's often a problem, right? Subhanallah there's even some guys who are afraid to be vulnerable with their spouse, with their woman, because why they feel like I have to be macho, I can't let my guard down, I can't be seen as weak. And they're not allowed to fully feel those emotions. And you know, I was listening to another webinar with the two mental health counselors as well that were talking about that there were Muslim as well. There were saying these thoughts, these emotions are data for how we're feeling
experiencing the world. And when we're only going on logic, right? Okay, that's great. But you're missing this other data, how you're feeling your emotion, which is, in a lot of ways, much more important than just logic, right? How you're feeling how you're experiencing those. So I wonder what is the what is the consequences of not allowing yourself to feeling those emotions, not allowing yourself to grief? What are some of the shortcomings of suppressing those emotions? What happens because of that?
Such another great question, Michela. Because, you know, like you mentioned, men are often, especially even more than women really taught that there are only two acceptable emotions, right? You're either happy or you're angry, right? Like, those are the things that it's okay to express. Otherwise, it's viewed as a weakness. And it's just when we look at like when we think about who were the strongest people, who are the strongest men as role models in our Islamic tradition, and we look at the prophets. They, there are so many narrations about them experiencing really intense emotions. I talked about one of the Prophet Muhammad SAW setelah, the prophet Yaqoob is and I'm the
father of use of ITSM cried until his eyes became white with grief, the prophet No, no it Salaam. He turned to us past that I saying, I'm so defeated. So help me. Right. And you can imagine he was likely crying at that point. Because how do you express something so deep from your heart without shedding tears, that the prophets SLM encourages us that when you hear certain things your eyes should, should cry? Like you should feel it in your heart? And when you think about you said, What happens if you don't allow yourself? First of all, just from the spiritual perspective, if you if you can't allow yourself to feel emotion, then how are you going to allow yourself to connect
spiritually to the Quran, to Allah, subhana, WA, tada, all of these things, like connection comes from emotion, it doesn't come from logic, right? You can meet somebody, right? Like, if you have ever talked to somebody for marriage purposes and things like that, on paper, this person can be the perfect match for you. Logically, this is it, right? Like, she's my, she's the person for me. And then you meet her, and it just like, there's nothing, right? Because it's, it's also emotional. It's not just logic, the friendships that you have, sometimes you have such unlikely friendships, because there's an emotional connection there. Even though logically, it wouldn't really make sense that
like this person, you guys would click so much. Alright, so there's emotion, and you need to get in touch with that emotion, if you're going to connect with Allah, if you're going to connect with people in your life, you need that emotion. And then, you know, for grief in particular, or any type of uncomfortable emotion, if you don't allow yourself to experience it, then you can't process it, and you can't heal from it. And if you don't, then it's going to show up in different parts of your life, it's going to show up where, you know, all of a sudden, you can't like you can't get out of bed in the morning because you're just so like depressed, that you know, you're it's a hard, it's
hard to hold down a job because you won't face all of the difficult experiences that need to be faced, that emotion like relationships will suffer, because you can't connect emotionally because you won't deal with the stuff that needs to be dealt with. So it starts to impact different different areas of our lives.
And I think that's the scariest part. It's like, when I was listening to this webinar, as well.
And even the course that you guys made with automotive, like the impact of not being emotionally aware, it can be catastrophic, right, it can not only impact your relationships, but it can impact your your work, your maybe your even your income, right because maybe as well, your friends, your physical health, so it's like it has a tremendous impact on all these different facets of your life. Right your mental health, your mental wellness. social problem, it just, when I think about that, it's it's very important and you know, I was like looking over some statistics, because I did here, there and around the world then
Mental health is becoming a growing issue is becoming a problem. And I wonder how much of is because we're talking about it more versus Okay, no, these are because there is an issue that's happening. And I shared some stats with you, when we were getting ready for this episode. But according like to the World Health Organization, depression is one of the leading causes of disability, suicide is the second leading cause of death amongst 15 to 29 year olds. And according to Mental Health America, a growing percentage of youth in the US live with major depression, citing that 15% of youth experienced a major depressive episode in the past year. And I was talking to some friends about
this, and we were talking about the statistics. And one thought that came to mind was, well, if we're living in this first world country, or if we're living in such a developed place, and you know, we have our needs met, right, and we're living comfortably, I mean, subhanAllah, in our times, we're living like kings and queens compared to how our ancestors lived. Right? So when we think about this, you would anticipate maybe life satisfaction to go up and mental health, you know, issues and mental health to be on the decline. But why do we see the opposite? Do we have some reasons of what this is? What can be attributed to this?
You know, subhanAllah, when you think about it, right? Like you said, our physical needs are, are satisfied in the lives that we're living, right? You know, for I mean, of course, not for everybody. But for many of us, and hamdullah, we're fortunate, a roof over our head that we don't need to worry about transportation, food in the fridge, you know, access to medical care, all of these different things, we have these these particular physical needs satisfied, but there are a lot of other needs that are not satisfied. And, you know, our emotional needs, in a lot of ways, are really not satisfied, there is such a huge disconnect, socially between people, and we have all of these social
media apps, and you literally have access to 1000s of people in your hand at all times, or millions, even right. But how but do you feel connected to any of them? Right? It's this superficial relationship, where, you know, nobody, you know, one person drops off the face of the earth where they're not on social media for a while, nobody notices because they're busy, you know, going through, you know, scanning through for, you know, for the next real for the next tick tock or the next, whatever. And there's not that that same connection that we used to have back in the day, right? Where, you know, you grow up in like a small community. Everybody knows everybody, everybody
watches out for everybody. Everybody is connected and interconnected. Where, you know, you hear the Hadith of the Prophet SLM, he's like, if, if, like the old math, right, the sense of brotherhood and sisterhood, and Islam is like the body, that if one part hurts, then the entire body hurts. But we don't experience that because we're so detached. We're so emotionally detached. And so yeah, our physical needs are being met. But there's something severely severely lacking in our emotional and psychological and relational social needs. And then also our spiritual needs, are not being are not being fulfilled, there's a really big disconnect, because of all the distractions that we have, of,
you know, everything at our fingertips, everything accessible, ease being constantly accessible. There's also that void in our connection to Allah subhana data that that leads to dissatisfaction too. Right? Well, subhanAllah it's crazy how, in this individualistic, like, culture that we that we are living in, especially like the second generation, third generation immigrants, it's really tough, because, you know, our grandparents are our parents, they came from a very tight knit community. And now us it's like, every man, every woman for herself, you know, it's, it's very much like that. And it's, and we actually feel within ourselves like, like, I should be connecting more
with our people in our community. So how should we go about that? What are some things that we can start doing some things that we can start implementing to have more meaningful connections because it's crazy, the essence of humans, human beings, how the law how we're meant to be joined as an OMA as a body. So how should we go about doing that? Shala you know, and you use the term individual is like is individualism, which is so on point, where, you know, it's so true that it's every man or woman for him or herself, right? And it causes the sense of detachment. And, you know, at the same time as us knowing that I'm craving connection with someone, I want somebody to care about me, I
want somebody to be able to depend on I want, I want these things, right. I want to be able to be vulnerable with somebody. I want the sense of attachment and connection, but then because of the way that our
society is, there's also the thing in the back of our minds, which is, like, you know, me first, my needs first, like, you know, hey, if this person does one thing that I don't like, cancel them, right? Like, the culture that yeah, this toxic relationship and everything. And I would say that that's a really good first step, if we're thinking about it is, instead of if somebody does one thing, and I'm not saying something abusive, right, like, I'm not saying anything extreme, I'm just saying, you know, like, they, they haven't kept in touch in the way that you, you know, want them to keep in touch where they haven't reached out as much. Or they said something that was offensive, and
you get when you guys got into an argument and things like that, or they weren't completely supportive of something that you wanted to do, because they have a different perspective. You know, what, that's okay. And that's what relationships are, they are imperfect, they're two different human beings with different perspectives, there are going to be problems. And if we cancel everybody that we don't agree with, or everybody that makes us feel upset, at a certain point, we're going to be alone. Because that's life. That's, that's human nature. Right? And so, before we throw around the label of like, toxic relationship and things like that, I would say, really reflect on is this
repairable? It? Does it require me to swallow my pride a little bit so that we can repair it? Right? Should I do I want to be alone? Or do I want to invest in relationships that are worth investing in? Conflict can bring you so much closer to the people that you care about? If it's dealt with in the correct way? So I would say learning conflict, healthy conflict resolution, changing the mentality of I come first, right? Like, yes, you need your boundaries, you need your limits, and you need to take care of yourself. But other people have rights and obligations upon us to and so thinking about, okay, I want this, can I give this to something, somebody else? I want this I want to I want
to be reached out to and cared for. Okay, well, why don't I heard that? You know, my friend had COVID, why don't I send her a meal? I would want somebody to do that for me in that situation? Right? So why don't I do that for somebody else? Right, I want this person to reach out and check in. Well, who's somebody I haven't talked to in a couple of months. Let me look through my the contacts on my phone. And be like, You know what, let me check in with this person. I haven't heard from them. Like, I got a text message yesterday from somebody she was like, you know, you haven't been on social media as much lately. I was just, you know, like I was I wanted to make sure you're
okay, how's everything going? And everything so sweet. I haven't talked to her in probably a couple years. Subhanallah and, and so we just talked a little bit back and forth and everything like No, I'm fine. It's just been kind of hectic and, and everything and handle. And we talked a little bit, but How thoughtful. That's something from like Allah's past data that this person chose to connect with me in that moment made me feel cared for. And so, you know, I would want to pay the same courtesy to somebody else. So even if there's just like, one small thing, pick one person, send them a text and just check in on them. It makes a difference. Wow, that's so profound, like start taking
the first step. I think that that is so Subhanallah so profound, you know, you mentioned something that I want to really just dive more into, you talked about, like, conflict, and a lot of us deal with a lot of conflict, and it's a source of a lot of our mental health issues, you know, distress in our relationships. So I wonder from the perspective of someone who is a counselor, what does healthy conflict look like? Because, you know, in our culture, I come from a Somali culture, and especially in relationships, and I think, just in general, if a guy is, you know, or in his relationship with his spouse, you know, he's told, you know, you know, just ignore it, you know,
there's two extremes, you know, it's like, Oh, it's my way, you know, just, I'm gonna impose myself on you. And then there's the, you know, just let it go. Just let it go. Whatever's bothering you just let it go. And I wonder, okay, maybe that's a good thing, you know, maybe, you know, you have to let some things slide, you have to compromise it as a relationship. But what if it's something that does bother you, right? And then now, you know, you're not expressing yourself, and you're told to like, maybe just let it go. Just, you know, belittle how you're feeling, you know, and as a guy that's also emphasized, you're a guy here, let it go. It's not gonna affect you as much. So what is
healthy conflict resolution look like? Especially in a relationship, you know? How can you give us a little example of that? Absolutely. Absolutely. Another great question, Shawn love because I think it's so important that people learn about this, you know, I would recommend that anybody whether you're married or not yet married, or even just for tips for, you know, outside of marriage in terms of conflict resolution. John and Julie Gottman are excellent resources. They have the most research really out there in terms of marriage. And they talk a lot about conflict resolution. So that's a good resource to look into. But you know, one of the things to, to keep in mind with conflict
resolution, right is the mentality Right? Like the intention, we know Islamically our actions are judged by their intention. So conflict can be intended as a way to get closer to the person that you're speaking to, as a way to understand them better. And that's one of the goals is, Okay, I'm coming into this, this conflict, right? What is my goal? My goal is I want to be understood. And I want to understand the person better, the other person better, right. And when you go in with that mentality, it really shifts things. Because a lot of times when we're in an argument, we're listening to them only as like, Okay, how do I respond to this so that I can get my point across, I
can win. And winning an argument is not winning in the relationship, right? Whenever somebody is like winning, then that means the other person is losing. And that's not healthy for the relationship. But, you know, healthy conflict would be, you know, coming in and being able to say something like, you know, I was really frustrated when you, you know, you were you you were late coming home from work yesterday, and, and you didn't give me a call. And so I started to get worried, and I was concerned about you and everything. So next time, could you just please make sure to shoot me a text to let me know that, you know, you're going to be a little bit late. I'm coming
in with an if statement, right? I felt not like you're so inconsiderate that you wouldn't even text you know, text to let me know. Because then a person is going to be on the defensive. So you want to come in with like with the idea of, okay, this is how I'm feeling. It came from a place of caring about you, right? And here's how we can make sure this doesn't happen again, in the future, like a solution focus. And the same thing with friends. Right? Like, you know, I felt a little bit distant from you, you know, that we haven't had a chance to talk in, you know, in a while, and everything I wanted to just, you know, I really care about our friendship. And I, it means so much to me. And so
I wanted to make sure there's nothing, you know, nothing between us and everything. If there's anything you want to discuss, you know, do you have time to schedule a call so that we can catch up again, you know, next week? Right? So again, I feel like what, why, why our relationship is important. And here's something that we can do to address that need that that I have
to pedal, that's very, I wonder, because that's speaking from the person who feels some type of way, right. And they're expressing how they're feeling, right? They're frustrated, they're trying to bottle it in, and they're trying to come off in a way where they can be receptive, rather than the person feel like they're on the backfoot. Now, let's say the person who is on the receiving end of that, how should they then approach the
discussion? Right? How should they come? What should their mindset be? Yes, great. You know, the mindset is, let me listen to this. And let me not personalize it. Because naturally, when somebody gives us some sort of feedback, we always get defensive. But the key is, is this defensiveness going to help or harm this situation? Right? Like, you know, like, in the, in the first example, if it's like, oh, you know, like, I like, what, why would you, you know, that I, sometimes I get busy at work, like, I don't have time to send this text message, like, You should be more considerate about the fact that I'm, you know, like that, that I'm busy. And I have a lot on my mind, right, now, it's
gonna shut things down, and that the other person is not going to open up again. Right? And so instead, it's more along the lines of, okay, I know that that my spouse is meaning this in a way to show me that this is something that bothers her. This is something that, that she needs, addressed, that she cares about me, and she doesn't want to worry. Okay, so let me respond in that way. Right. Like this is coming from a good place of her trying to make things better in our relationship. And I think that's the mentality that people struggle with is a lot of times when things are brought up. People think this is you trying to push me down this is you like messing up messing things up that
we had a good thing going and this is you messing it up. But that's not true. People will not bring up something, if they're not invested. If they're not invested, they're just going to keep quiet. They're just going to leave it they're just going to like ghost you. They're just kind of like they're just not going to be there. But if they're there and they're bringing it up, it's because you're important to them. And if you can come into it with that mentality of like, okay, she's bringing this up, because I'm important to her. Otherwise, she would just like, you know, she cares. If she doesn't care. That's why I'm start worrying. Right? And so being able to say, oh, yeah, I can
see why you'd be worried. I'm sorry. I didn't mean to make you worry. I'll make sure to text next time. Or, you know, or with with a friend like, oh, no, you know, you're the our friendship means so much. It's just been so hectic. On my end, I would love to make time for a phone call. You know, thank you for you're telling me that, you know. And then the point that you mentioned about letting things
Slide, that's important too, there are certain things that it's important to be able to pick your battles, right where you're just like, alright, you know, I can deal with socks on the floor, or whatever, or I can deal with,
you know, like, not not being able to like this person responding to texts in two days, or whatever I can deal with it, you know, like, I'm going to pick my battles, and I'm going to, you know, I'm going to I'm going to choose to talk about something that is a non negotiable for me is really important to me. As long as you can look at it and think to yourself, can I really let this slide? Or is this going to come up in our next argument, right? Like, if it's gonna come up in the next argument, then you should probably address it head on. But if it's something that's kind of like minor, and you're like, you know what, it's okay. Like, that's not really such a huge deal, I can
let that I can let that go, then that's fine as well.
Had Allah that is so insightful. And you know, when you say that, when you talk about letting things go, truly letting things go, it makes me think of forgiveness. You know, we did this topic called forgiveness. Me and my brother Monaco host AbdulKareem. And it was very, very impactful for a lot of people. But I wonder, you know, you're dealing with people who've they've been wronged, right, you've provided therapy for people who are victims of things that have happened to them. So what does forgiveness look like in your eyes? How does that show up? And why is it so important, you know, in, in our relationships, or people we may not even associate with now, or, or things of that
You know, I think forgiveness can be such a beautiful thing, if it's discussed or thought about correctly, it can be so freeing, and it can be so empowering. But the way it's often used is a way of like just dismissing a person's struggle. And that's why there's such a negative connotation of like, How can you ask me to forgive somebody who has wronged me so deeply? That's not what forgiveness is, I A lot of times with my client, a client I use, I use the term moving forward, instead of forgiveness, because that's really what forgiveness is, it's choosing not to allow this person and this incident, to have the power to dictate your life. Now,
they might have done something you couldn't you couldn't stop it at that point. You were vulnerable, you felt powerless, you felt helpless. But you're not powerless or helpless. Now, you have power, and you have the strength and you have a less pat on your side, right? So when you forgive, it's about you moving forward and letting go of the power that they have over you. Right, you choosing to say, You know what? That was them. And that was completely on them? And yes, it impacted me. And yes, now it's my responsibility to heal from it. But I'm choosing to move forward in a positive in a positive direction. Right. That's, that's basically the way that I think about forgiveness. And I
think it can be very freeing and empowering. When we think about it that way. Subhanallah, let's say, however, you talked about moving forward, but what if you're moving forward, but you're interacting with this person? Or you come across this person? How does that look like? How does moving person how does moving forward look like?
When this person is still around? In a sense? Yeah, and that's, that's hard to Panama. And I think that, you know, in a, in a situation like that, obviously, it's case by case basis, you know, like a, an abusive relationship is going to be different than you know, somebody who, you know, said something cruel about you to somebody else, right. Like, it's different, you know, to different extents.
The way that I would, you know, I think that one of the really important things in a situation like that, is that you know, your limits and boundaries and forgiveness doesn't mean that you have to interact with this person. Right? If this is your, you know, I'm assuming this is not an abusive situation again, right. But if this is your Muslim brother, or sister, right, and there's been a lot of damage that has been done, or this is a family member, right, and you're still interacting with them, they're still in family gatherings and things like that, but you just don't have a good relationship and they've hurt you in some way. You can do the minimum in terms of just like, Okay,
you say, Sarah, and they're in their circle, you're in your circle, you have your boundaries in terms of how you're going to, you know, how you're going to live your life and everything. If this is a person who has repented, and who has reached out to ask for your forgiveness,
because of what they did, then I would challenge you to look into seeing what can come from that relationship because that's, that's a profound step. And if somebody's willing to take accountability, that's a good sign that they're they're on a journey toward change. And and redemption is an important part of of our lives. We would want that for ourselves. It's important for
of our religion as well. Right? And so if somebody is actively taking account for what they've done, then you know, I would challenge you to see what can be what can be done to, to try and hear them out and repair things.
And then if they're not taking accountability, my question would then be, do they know how much they hurt you? Have you conveyed that to them? Have you let them know, like, you know, a few years back, like, I heard that you said this about me. And, you know, like, it really hurt me because I thought we were close, I trusted you. And then I found out that all my stuff was, like, shared with other people and things and I was really, like, I was really shocked, right? Then give them the chance to take accountability and to and to repair it. Right? If all that has been done, and this person is still just like, you know, not taking accountability and not defending and continuing to defend
themselves for the wrongs that they perpetrated against you, then that's where your boundaries come into line. And you know, you need to just, you know, be, you know, you can still say Salaam and things like that, but, but just being careful about how how much you share with this person in the future.
How Allah, I think that's going to be very beneficial to a lot of people who are maybe in those situations Han Allah, I want to kind of pivot, right? I know, in the course that you did with another. I know there was this lessons that one lesson in particular, that stood out to me because it was something that was actually mentioned in one of my therapy sessions was this link between thoughts, emotions, and actions. And I was wondering if you can break that down, because I feel like that link is so profound, because I don't think people really sit down and think about even though it's like so it seems like so obvious when you think about it, but I think when it's broken down,
it's like, well, this is supercycle, so can you shed some light on what this link is, and its impact on our behavior.
I love that, because it's one of my favorite concepts in psychology and in therapy, and I work with this a lot with my clients. So if you imagine thoughts, behaviors, and emotions being a triangle, right, so at one tip of the triangle, there's thoughts. The other tip, there's emotions, the other tip, there's behavior, they are all interlinked with each other, they all affect one another. So thoughts will impact your emotions, your emotions will impact your behaviors, your thoughts will impact your behaviors, all of these things, they're, they're interlinked with one another. When and when we realize this, it's so profound, because basically, what it tells us is that if you're
struggling, if you can just change one of those things, you can change all three, right? So if you can change a thought that you're struggling with, then you can end up changing your emotions and your behaviors. So you know, for example, you know, like the, the example that I gave before about prayer, right? If the thought is that, you know, like, oh, you know, I've been, I've been I keep missing my prayers. Like, I'm such a failure, I'll just pass that on must hate me. So there's no point in trying because a lie to me. Right? So you have this thought, and it leads to an emotion of helplessness and hopelessness and just unworthiness. And it leads to the behavior of drawing further
away from Alaska just giving up, right? If you can change one of those things, one, right, you either, you know, you can change the thought process of, you know, like, Okay, I, I've been struggling with my prayers, I'm feeling really badly about it. Today, I'm going to make it a goal that I'm going to pray at least one or at least two, or whatever it is right of my prayers. And I'm going to feel good about having achieved that. And I'm going to continue to work up to my five daily cellos, right? If you change that thought process, then you see how that changes your emotion to a sense of hopefulness that I can change, and I can gain forgiveness from LS Python, I can strengthen
my relationship with him. And I can also change my behavior where I'm actually engaging in something that brings me closer to Allah right. So so it's a very powerful, and that's just with thoughts, but we can change our other experiences, as well. And they're all intertwined. So it's very, it's very powerful when we can build that awareness and analyze it for ourselves. So how to Allah, that, you know, one way that I encountered actually this, this thing, it wasn't even through therapy, initially, it was actually through high school sports in a way. I remember being on the football team, and I was this nice guy was his big guy on the field. And I didn't want to hit nobody. But my
coach, he's a big guy, he's playing the NFL. And he said,
he said, fake it till you make it. That's what he said to me. And, and I took that literally, and I embodied that on the field on the field, I was not so much of a nice guy. And I was like, subhanAllah, the power of thought. So let's say a person who doesn't believe these things about themselves, let's say they have maybe self limiting beliefs, right? They have really negative self images like of themselves and their traits.
and they don't believe this thing of like positive thinking to themselves. So does it really have an impact thinking positively when they believe themselves to be another way?
It absolutely does SubhanAllah. And the way that you can think about it is, our brains have something called neuroplasticity, which means that our brains change. And so if you think about the different neural pathways in your mind, I want you to kind of picture a forest. And in this forest, there's a trail, and it's a very clear trail, everybody walks on this trail, when they're when they're taking a hike and everything. That trail is the path of our negative thoughts. Because we tend to fall into these negative habits, we tend to have these negative self critical thoughts about ourselves. So when something happens, you don't do well on an exam, you get into a fight with your
with, with your spouse, or with a friend or something like that, these self critical thoughts naturally come up, and you start walking on this very well trodden path, right. In order to shift that thought process away from the self limiting thoughts, to more to healthier thoughts, and more self affirming thoughts. It's like you're walking through the brambles of the forest, right, like through all of these branches, and you need like a machete with you to try and like clean, clean your way through. And so every time you start walking down that path, it gets a little bit easier and a little bit easier as it gets cleared out. And that's, it's like building a muscle at the gym.
The more you work it, the stronger that muscle becomes, the more you work this neural pathway, the stronger that pathway becomes. And so even if at first those like self affirming thoughts seem a little strange, and they you don't truly believe them, the more you work on changing your thoughts to healthier ones, the easier that will become because you're creating a new neural pathway. Right? So it's, it's very, very helpful. And, and that, like, you know, one of the advices the pieces of advice I usually give my clients is, pick a thought that's based on fact, right? If you are thinking, you know that you are a horrible person, you're unworthy, you know, like, you're, you're a
failure or whatever, find something like, Okay, you you failed an exam. Okay? But that doesn't make you a failure. Because think back and calculate how many exams Did you pass in your entire school career, you have probably passed hundreds of exams. And so the fact is that I can pass exams, I have passed hundreds of exams, that is a fact, it's not just a healthier thought, but it's a factual thought, right?
Or with a less panicked data, if you're beating yourself up on your relationship with him finding a verse that tells you how honored you are that you know, okay, the biggest honor a less pathetic and give me is guiding me to Islam, and he has. So I am honored in the sight of Allah. That's a fact. Right? And so, you know, using these fact based thoughts can also help to make them feel a little bit more real and to resonate more. Wow. Subhan. Allah, that is so fascinating. You know, one thing that I think about, because I know I read, I read this book, by atomic habits by James clear, I haven't quite finished it yet.
I haven't read it yet. I really want it is, it is, it is very, very insightful, especially on this topic, right? Especially with like identity, how we identify ourselves. And our thoughts especially have a key role in that, right. And when you talk about shifting our mindset, and looking for evidences based on these different mindset, it has a profound impact. And when we identify with these negative traits, we start looking for evidences of all these negative situations in our life. But of course, there's going to be plenty because you know, this is dunya versus shifting our mind from a place of gratitude, a place of thankfulness, in Allah subhanaw taala grounded in that, like
you mentioned how Allah Putana honored us by us it just being Muslim, how beautiful is that having created us, that puts us in another Mindset, we can look at the things in our lives that are we often take for granted. So I think that is immensely insightful for our audience to think about Subhan Allah as well. You know, subhanAllah I know we have a few minutes here with you. So how to time just flew on us. But I have a very interesting question for you. You know, I know there's a lot of people who
maybe they've been considering therapy, but they're not sure if they should be in it. What are some indicators are some telltale signs that someone should probably consider seeing a therapist seeing a counselor revisiting some of the things that may be bringing them distress?
That's a great question. Mashallah. So I am a proponent of therapy for everybody. I think that I think if one of your goals is to grow and get to know yourself more build self awareness. You know, try to break any patterns, whether they're patterns from your own life or intergenerational intergenerational patterns from your parents and grandparents lives and things like that and the way
they're impacting you. Now, if you want to build a stronger relationship with the people that you love, if you want to build a stronger relationship with Allah span data, I think therapy can really help with that as long as you're linked with the with a therapist who's going to be a good fit for you.
So that's from the growth perspective. But if you're looking into therapy, because you're like, you know what, like, I am not, I'm not my best self, I'm not, things are really difficult, I'm struggling, and I don't know how to deal with it, a therapist can be a really wonderful source of support. So I would say, you, if if you notice that there are certain struggles in your daily life, that are impacting your ability to live life to the fullest to be able to function in the best way that you that you can, if it's difficult to get up in the morning, if you're lose, if you don't feel like you have a sense of fulfillment or motivation. If you notice that you're struggling with
anxiety, anxious thoughts, or if you're feeling just really down a lot of the time, and you don't know how to get yourself back up. If your anxiety is a little bit out of control, and you don't know how to manage that all of those things are or anger, if you're struggling with anger, any big emotions that you're struggling with, and you're and you're wondering, is there a better way for me to be able to deal with this, then I think that would be would be a really good fit for being able to manage that and Shama. SubhanAllah? Well, thank you so much, since the SATA So Don, for being here and just talking about this topic. Subhanallah it's such a huge topic. And I would love to
advocate for everyone here who's listening to go ahead and join the algorithm Institute course that you put together along with Chef or saline manager or Hussein, it was immensely beneficial. And I mean, you talked about all these topics, with its right hand Allah, you gave them each their own section and you even talked about more things like to have taboo subjects like bullying, self harming behavior issues pertaining to suicide, and you put you tied it all together in a holistic manner with the other chefs as well. So inshallah I would highly recommend those listeners to go ahead and tune in there. And I would want to ask you, where can people find you on social media or
get in touch with you if that's possible? shuttler does that go okay, for having me I really appreciated being on with you and having this great conversation. I really enjoyed it and hamdulillah so you can call us anytime. Has a love, glad to hear. You can find me on Instagram, I sought us out on therapy. I'm also on Facebook, which is just thought of assault on comma LPC lmhc.
And you can email me also if you're I'm currently at capacity so I'm not taking on new clients right now. But if you are looking for a therapist or you'd like to be put on the waitlist then I can definitely help you find a therapist who I have like lists of different Muslim therapists out there. So I'd be happy to connect you with that in sha Allah and you can email me at therapy at solder sultan.com If you'd like help with that in sha
Allah hookah Well, our everybody in sha Allah thank you guys for tuning in. I hope this was a source of benefit for you all inshallah. Inshallah, go ahead and like, share and subscribe and tune in on next episode of Shala Salaam Alaikum. Everybody