Resist Bigotry: Getting Mental Help

Yasmin Mogahed


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Yasmin Mogahed | Resist Bigotry: Getting Mental Help | 16th MAS-ICNA Convention

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Santa Monica

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regime smilla rahmanir rahim o salat wa salam ala rasulillah wild animals ibH mine, rubbish. rassada Siddeley Omri weidler. Okta melissani of global calling,

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I have a very short time to speak about a very deep topic. So I'm gonna do my best to summarize, what I want to do is I want to leave you guys with something practical that you can take home, and you can do inshallah, and I and I'm deeply appreciative of the experts here who spoke about the need that we have, and then some of the resources that are out there. What I want to talk about is just some things that we can do some things that can help us, as the sister other sisters who came before me said, to manage our stress and to increase our own well being, inshallah, the first thing I want to talk about, is that, when you talk about the soul, and when you talk about the heart, the heart

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and the soul have needs, they have essential needs, just like the body has needs. And one of the essential needs of the heart and of the soul is to be to have oxygen to have food and water, just like the body needs food and water. Just like the body needs oxygen, the heart and the soul need its oxygen to stay alive. And the oxygen of the heart and the soul is the remembrance of Allah subhanaw taala that what that does, it's literally Food for the Soul. You've heard this expression, but it's, it's literally feeds the soul. And so one of the things that sometimes we do that starves us spiritually, is that we, we deprive our hearts and souls of oxygen. Simple as that. And and what are

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some of the ways we do that we do that, number one, the most extreme way in which we deprive our hearts and souls of spiritual oxygen, is when we're not praying, when we don't pray, or we don't pray, as we're told to pray five times a day, it's like depriving the heart of its oxygen of the spiritual oxygen that it needs to just be okay and stay alive. This is just to stay alive, just as the body it needs, it requires oxygen, right just to stay alive. And then beyond that, it needs other it has other needs. But the most essential need of the body is oxygen. And it's the same thing with the heart, that that that that remembrance of Allah subhanaw taala. First and foremost, our

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Salah is what is keeping our heart, spiritually oxygenated. And then in addition to that, and those of you who have heard me, probably in any recent talk, I've given this prescription because I truly believe in this prescription to keep the heart spiritually alive. And that is number one, the salon. And that, you know, taking that as just like breathing. The second thing I recommend is downloading an app called my dog. Now my dog MYD you double A attend is a is just simply an app, you spend 99 cents as someone quoted me best 99 cents you'll spend best investment, what it what it does is now on your phone, it's a collection of the supplications from the quarter ended from the sooner that

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the prophets I send them with saying now I want you guys to understand you may have grown up hearing about these supplications Oh, I know the kid the kid is saying Subhana Allah Alhamdulillah Allahu Akbar. That's all true. But I think what has happened is that because we sort of grew up with this, maybe we've taken the power of these things for granted. I know I did. And and what you'll realize is that these things are gold. These things are like, like, like vitamins and minerals for the heart and soul. It's like water and food for the heart and soul. It's like oxygen. And so when you have this app, what you can do with this app, and this is like kind of like the bare minimum daily

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routine that I recommend, and I do myself, and if I didn't do it, I couldn't really survive my life. And that's no exaggeration. And that is that the morning supplications. So in the morning, after you pray, you open up your app, and there's morning supplications, you click on it, it's going to give you a list of about 25. So that might be overwhelming for people, it takes a while maybe. But what you can do with this app is you can star certain ones, and that becomes your personal collection. Even if you spend a few minutes every day, I promise you, it will have a profound effect on you. And it is again, keep in mind this principle, Allah subhanaw taala loves the actions that are

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consistent, even if they're small. So if you just take a small amount, make that your collection, but you do it consistently in the morning, and then again in the evening, and this is before Mother's Day prayer. And you read those again, the evening supplications Lastly, before you sleep, there's supplications for that, these three and this is any scholar

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The heart any spiritual doctor in the world will tell you that these are the, these are the main ones that you need to do to be spiritually healthy. All right. So the first part I said was we need to oxygenate our hearts, we need to give our hearts food and water. Okay? The second thing

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Excuse me. The second point I want to make is this is mentally. So there are ways that we feed our hearts and souls, there are ways that we feed our bodies. And there are ways that we feed our mind and one of the ways to keep our mind healthy. And this is a principle that you will just take home with you. And that is that what you focus on grows, psychologically, the things that we focus on tend to become bigger and bigger. And so one thing that a person can do is shifting the focus of what it is that you focus on in your life each day. Now there are there are everyone has as those you know, sisters mentioned before me, everyone, sisters in their life, right? Everyone does. No one

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has it all good, but no one has it all bad either. See the thing that Allah subhanaw taala tells us in the hood and his inner man or through your straw? What does it mean to say in my last video, sir, can someone translate it for me?

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Say it again.

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Okay, anyone else?

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Okay, so I'm hearing different translations. One of the mistranslations that people have of this verse is after every hardship comes ease, after every hardship comes ease, but this idea doesn't say in the bat, the word is Ma. Now the word ma means alongside with, with the hardship comes ease, this is a profound point, what it means is that at any given point in time, any hardship that you are given Allah subhanaw taala, gives you ease at the same time. And if you look at linguistically, the A, A, the hardship is singular, and the ease is plural. And that's also a very profound point. Because what it means is that Allah never only gives us difficulty alone never only gives us

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struggle a lot at the same time gives us your and this is the plural of ease, the plural of these. And then And then again, it is repeated in nema alassio. So the idea here is that at any given point, there is no one in their life that only has difficulty, or only has ease, it's always a mix. And so what does shifting your focus mean? shifting your focus is a mental exercise, where it's about what is your focal point? See, there are people whose focal point is, for example, what is missing? I give this example of two to two pictures, right? You have a boy on the top, everyone heard my slice of cake example. There's a boy in the top holding one slice of cake, and he is

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beaming. He's so excited because he's got a piece of cake. And then there's a boy on the bottom, who's holding an entire cake. And it's missing one slice. So he said,

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can it can someone tell me difference between the top and the bottom? First tell me who has more cake?

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The one on the bottom? But is he happy or sad? He said so in this particular example, the difference between the two is not the amount of cake, it's the focal point. It's the fact that the one on the bottom is focused on what is missing. Whereas the one on the top is focused on what is there what he has. Now what is this alluding to this is alluding to the practice of gratitude. And and the reason I'm mentioning this is because it has been shown not just in in the quarter end where Allah subhanaw taala says, What is the essence of bukhoma in Shackleton as he did Naco, Allah says that, that your Lord, your Lord is telling you this, that if you are grateful, I will increase you. But

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interestingly enough, in psychological research, they're finding the power of gratitude. That gratitude, the practice of gratitude daily, has been shown to alleviate physical as well as psychological symptoms. And so this is something that we already have in our Deen, that the practice of just writing down five things every day that you're grateful for it, what it does is it's shifting, it's part of that shift of focus, the situation might be the same, but the focus is different, and what you focus on grows. And so the practice of gratitude. The other thing I want to mention when it comes to focus is how we cope and deal with our past. Now the past is something that

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can be very painful. Many of us may have trauma even in our past. And And the thing about dealing with and healing from a difficult or painful past is a few things and this is I'm going to just summarize this as it because I have just a few

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minutes. There are two extremes in dealing with difficult or painful pasts. On the one hand, you have the people who tell you to put a bandaid on it, you know, just just just suck it up, you know, get over it. Yeah, get over it could be worse these kinds of terrible things that people say that are not helpful, right. And and sometimes even culture is kind of push this type of put your happy face on type of attitude, right? namit just appear happy and everything will be okay. And this is a little bit like getting a gunshot wound and putting a bandaid on it. Are you going to heal that way? Yes or No, guys? No, I'm putting a gun good. And putting a bandaid on a gunshot wound isn't going to

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make it heal. Right. And you can't say Time heals all wounds if you didn't address the wound. Does that make sense? And so there's that there's that side of the extreme, where we're wounds are not being addressed, and they cannot heal if they're not addressed. So part of healing is addressing the wound itself. And now how do you address it? Well, it depends on the situation. Sometimes it involves getting professional help. Sometimes it involves whatever it depends on the situation, but it has to be addressed, it cannot be ignored. And you expect that it's going to go away because again, a bandaid on a gunshot wound, it doesn't make it go in fact, time is in fact going to it's

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going to become infected. And then that infection could lead to an amputation. And so so emotionally, it's the same thing with wounds, we have to address them, we have to heal them, we have to treat them, and then time can heal them. Does that make sense? But then there's another extreme. And that is what I call picking the scab. Yeah. And that's that when something is trying to heal, but what happens is, sometimes we get stuck in it, we can also get stuck in our past. And that's another unhealthy pattern, where a person is not able to move forward. Because of this being stuck in the past. And again, that's something that's part of addressing it is so that one can can address

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it, and then can move on. You know, there's this cool, that kind of summarizes this, that the past is a place of reference, not a place of residence, it's a place of reference, not a place of residence. What does that mean? It means that our past is a is a lesson for us. There, you know what happened for a reason. And everything that has happened to us in the past, is something we can learn from something we can grow from. But we have to be able to move forward, we have to be a people of progress. And part of being a people of progress is getting the help you need when you need it. And addressing those wounds in the proper way. But being able then to move forward and not being a

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people who are stuck, we cannot be a people who get stuck.

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So focus we said number one was taking care of the body, the oxygen of the body, right the food, the water through the remembrance of Allah subhanaw taala, I gave you guys a prescription Salah made up of Korea. And the third part I forgot to mention was Korean. And the whole end, of course, goes under that umbrella of the remembrance of Allah subhanaw taala. So number two was focus, shifting the focus number three, we need to be more compassionate with ourselves. This is something I've recently noticed, especially in speaking with a lot of women. And that is that we are so hard on ourselves. And we that this negative self talk, I've picked up on this, that there is within our

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community, and actually women in general and men as well. We have a lot of very, very negative self talk, we beat ourselves up to an extent that if we ever spoke to anyone else in the way we speak to ourselves, we would basically sabotage our relationships. Have you ever thought for a moment about speaking, you know, the way that we talk to ourselves sometimes imagine speaking that way to your best friend. Imagine speaking that way to your sister, or to your mother, or to your father or to your husband or your or your or your or your wife? If you're a man, can you imagine that? What would happen to those relationships? Right? If we don't like you're such a failure, you know, you can't

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get anything, right, whatever it is that we say to ourselves. And the point is, this is what we're doing with our own self worth our own self esteem, our own relationships with ourselves, our it's being sabotaged by some of this negative self talk. So one of the things I really want to emphasize is compassion for oneself, self compassion, we are too hard on ourselves. And when that negative self talk comes, we have to counter it. We can't allow that. Just the same way that we can't allow ourselves to speak to a friend like that. We'd never do that. So don't speak to yourself in it with with any you know, speak with speak to yourself with the same mercy and compassion

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That you would want others to speak to you and that you would speak to others. So this is very, very important.

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Number four, is, in order to keep our hearts healthy, just like keeping the body healthy, we have to be mindful of what we're taking in intake. So I call this the don't sit poisoned.

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You know, if a person every morning from along with their very healthy breakfast is just sipping a couple sips of poison, right, or maybe with their lunch with each meal, it's only a couple sips. What's going to happen to that person over time?

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Well doesn't take a doctor to know, you're going to be killing yourself literally, right? Because you're sipping on poison. Now, sometimes we do this to ourselves spiritually and psychologically, by the kinds of things we surround ourselves with, right? When we surround ourselves with a lot of negativity, when we surround ourselves with things that are not healthy for us, for example, there are things on social media that aren't necessarily healthy, psychologically, they're not healthy spiritually, it's a little bit like sipping poison. So keeping your environment healthy, as much as you can, that's a huge part of being healthy internally, just like you're not going to have poison

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in your fridge and then expect that you're going to be healthy. Right? That's, that's something you're taking in. So being mindful of what you look at, being mindful of what you're listening to being mindful of the type of talk, not just self talk, but what's coming out of your mouth. What's, what's the kind of what kind of conversations are you having, just be mindful of these things, this is all intake into your heart. And so, so be mindful that, you know, your your news feed on social media, whatever type of social media that is, think of that, like your fridge, okay, you open up your fridge, that's what you're going to eat that day. And it's the same thing with your news feed.

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That's what you're going to eat that day, but you're going to eat it spiritually. And psychologically, does that make sense? Because everything you read everything you were exposed to, it's like it's intake, and that that all goes in, into the heart. And that affects you. So be trying to maybe make it more healthy. And that's, that's something that you guys can do. I always remind people, there's this amazing thing on social media called unfollow, you know? And it's a no one's got a no, that's the beauty of it. Right? I'm serious, because, and I've done this like for my husband, and for my for my friends is like, just let me have your news feed, I'll fix it up for you.

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And and I've just tried to, to help them make it more healthy. And you know what, they've appreciated that because sometimes people don't know, like, there's algorithms for these things like Facebook, for example. It's taken me like eight years to get a healthy newsfeed. No, I'm saying, I'm not saying it doesn't actually take eight years, thank God because now they have unfollowing, they have all these other things. See, first, they have nowadays they have like ways to really tailor your newsfeed to be stuff that's going to be healthy, you know what I mean? Like put that organic food in the fridge, stuff that's going to be psychologically and spiritually healthy for you to eat,

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because that's what you're eating every single day.

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All right, and, and so just keep that in mind. And I'm just to make this point. I'm not up here to talk about how Tom and Helen, okay, there's nothing necessarily wrong about having every single thing you're following being a hijab tutorial, and a makeup tutorial and a fashion east and all that kind of stuff. I'm not talking about how I'm going head, I just want to remind you about what matters most. That's all. That's all just a reminder, that what you focus on grows, when the only thing you're exposed to is how people are looking and dressing and fashion, then what happens is your mindset shifts, and that becomes your focal point, it becomes the most important thing to you.

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And that's not necessarily healthy, because then that shifts your focus to to

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an almost an obsession with the superficial. That's it. That's the problem. And that I think that that that's my biggest concern when it comes to the social media craze that we have right now. Is that just what's what's happened is it's pushed us to be so focused on the surface. So focused on how we appear how we look, right? If you are perfect, put a filter on it. Yeah, there's a filter for everything. And so it's like, but what it's done is it's pushed us towards this obsession with appearances. And that's concerning, of course, that then leads to other types of psychological issues, right? You have the issues of eating disorders, and you have the issues of body image, you

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know, that you don't ever feel like you're good enough. But this is this, this is affected by what we're exposed to. And we have some, some sort of control over what we're exposed to on our phones, right? So just be mindful of what you're taking in. That's so that's that's part

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Have not sipping poison.

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Number five,

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one of the most effective ways they found in psychological studies to increase someone's own happiness, and their own well being, is to be in the service of others. This is just this is something that studies have found. It's it's, you know, in now in in positive psychology they're looking at, they're moving away from just disorder looking at disorders, but looking at how can we improve our well being? How can we improve the the quality of our lives, and they call it flourishing. And one of the things I found the one of the most effective ways is service, social debt, that being involved in in in,

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they call it pro social behaviors. So So things that help others, this is something that we can do. And not only are you going to help someone else, but ultimately actually help yourself, one of the fastest ways to pick yourself up when you're down, is to help another person who's down, you know, just so being in the service of others.

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Number six, sometimes the pain that we feel

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is an indication that there's something we need to change in our life circumstances. All right, sometimes the pain that we feel is an indication there's something that needs to change in our life circumstances. So fever, for example, when you guys, when you guys are sick, and you feel a fever, the fever itself is telling you that there's a problem you need to address, right? There is an infection. And that fever is pushing you to go to the doctor to get medicine for the infection, right? The fever is a symptom of the actual issue, you guys understand what I'm saying. And so sometimes sometimes we feel pain, because there's something in our lives that needs to change, for

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example, we are in an unhealthy relationship,

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perhaps an abusive relationship. And the pain that we're feeling is because we need to get out of that unhealthy relationship, or that unhealthy or that abusive relationship. So sometimes we have to also look at our lives and see what are the things in our lives because our our hearts and our minds and our body, they give us indications about things that are going wrong, and we have to go and make a change. So there are some times there's circumstantial things in our lives that we have to work on. Allah subhanaw taala says in the law, Allah yoga, you remember, Coleman had the you will not be enforcing him that indeed a law doesn't change the condition of a people until they change what's

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inside themselves. There is work sometimes we have to do to change within our lives make changes within our lives before we're going to see change. So sometimes we have to take action circumstantially, that there's things in our lives that need to be fixed, that needs to be fixed. And of course, there are resources to help us with that.

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Number seven, let go of the myth of perfection.

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Especially us women, we are taught that we're supposed to be perfect. And this myth is actually crippling us. It's and I'm just going to come from just even from a spiritual perspective, when we believe that we're supposed to be perfect. What happens is that when we slip or we commit a sin, many people fall into despair. And the reason they fall into despair is because they had the myth of perfection, when in fact, a line is messenger never taught us that we're supposed to be perfect. Human beings, by definition, are human in this in that they are not perfect, we are not perfect, and we will slip and we will commit sins. And we're told that the best of us are not those who don't

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commit sins, but those who repent and get back up when they slip. And so keeping in mind that you're not supposed to be perfect, but what Allah subhanaw taala wants us to do is to not give up hope, and to continue to go forward. And and when we fall, because everyone falls sometimes everyone slips sometimes. And when you do having that not falling into despair spiritually, but but knowing that we're not meant to be perfect, and getting back up that those who repent or those who are most beloved to Allah, subhanaw taala. Finally, number eight. And this is a deep point, I don't have very much time to talk about it. But there are other

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classes I've taught specifically about this point. And that is making sure we have the right center of gravity. Sometimes we take things and we put them at the center of our lives says this is called an ILA. And ILA is something not just that you pray to, but something that you revolve your entire existence around. Now, what happens?

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To a human being when they take the wrong things and revolve their existence around it, it causes excruciating suffering. Right? What do I mean by that? When people take things, for example, like money, and they put it at the center of their existence, they will suffer. When people take something like even if it's another person, sometimes it's your own children. A lot of us fall into that, especially as mothers yet

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even your own children, if you put them at the center of your existence, where only God should be, it will cause an excruciating amount of suffering. If you take status, or power, or what other people think of you. Yeah, these are things that sometimes we take and put them at the center of our existence, and that place is only intended for God. And when it is replaced with something else. It causes excruciating pain. Clinically, Heather was talking about a lady will come in Nova funa Rahim subhanak Olga Hamza