Having the Right Perspective

Apr 3, 2022 | Mindful Moments, Noor Excerpts

When I think of Ramadan, I think of perspective. It is the ideal time to change the way we think and perceive what happens in the world. More importantly, it can change how we see our lives.

Perspective is an important part of therapy. It can make or break your mental health. Having logical perspective can keep you from falling into a spiral. A spiral starts with a mental health trigger (a traumatic event or a reminder of one) and continues to worsen through negative self-talk. This causes you to spiral deeper into a damaging mental health episode. Holding on to a proper perspective will help you from going too far into a destructive headspace.

Many of us have experienced trauma often without realizing it. Trauma can be anything that has affected you in a deep and negative way, and differs for everyone. A large part of trauma is feeling a lack of control in certain situations. If you experience trauma or anxiety, perspective can help you shape and take control over the narrative of your life. For many, that feeling of not being in control of our own lives can be extremely triggering. When we change our perspectives, we feel more in control and can continue to move forward.

Let me share a situation that illustrates this point. During my undergraduate years, I struggled with my Chemistry 2 class. I was in every office hour. I regularly made appointments with my professor to go over problems I got wrong on tests and homework. I worked harder than I ever had in any class in my life, but still failed the class by 0.5 points. I was crushed and felt helpless.

Now there are two ways I could have looked at this. I could have pushed myself into an anxious depressive episode by thinking that this fail meant I was a failure. What kind of desi girl can’t pass Chem 2? I could have let it destroy my self-esteem. I almost did. But, Alhamdulillah, I was able to keep perspective. I questioned: ‘What good could come of this?’ Maybe this was a sign from Allah that I wasn’t meant for this field.

I came to the decision that this meant I needed a new major. I looked up the majors at the university I was attending and found Family Life Education. I would have never even known it had existed had I not failed Chemistry! I ended up taking the introductory class. I loved it and it led me to the career path that I am on now. Alhamdulillah, this is what I was meant to be doing.

Practically speaking, there are two main tools to help you change your perspective: Questions and Reflections.

Personally, I love questions. If you are going through something that is making you struggle, ask yourself questions. My go-to questions to ask yourself are: “What good can come from this?” and “In the entire scheme of my life, how greatly is this going to affect me?” Sometimes the situation is too overwhelming for you to process by yourself. In this case, ask a friend to talk you through the situation. It’s likely that they will be able to ask you questions and help you process.

Reflection is not only an important part of Islam, but an important part of mental health. THINK ABOUT THINGS! Compare them to other situations. Read some stories of the Prophet SAW or read from the Qur’an and see if what you’ve read applies to your situation. Take some time specifically out of your day to think about your day and your life. Think of how you react to challenges that you experience and why you might be reacting that way. 

Ramadan is drawing near. It’s a time where we try to shift our focus and create good habits. It feels like the perfect time to work on changing our perspectives. We all work a little harder in Ramadan on our faith and mental health should definitely be a part of that. May Allah SWT allow us to reach all of our goals this Ramadan including changing our perspectives for the better. Ameen. 

Note: Everything I talk about in this article is intended to speak to a general audience. People are unique and this may not apply to you. Please seek professional help from a qualified individual when dealing with severe trauma or mental health issues.

By: Zoha Qureshi

About the author: Zoha Qureshi is a peer counselor based out of Oklahoma. She has a bachelor’s in family life education and a masters in marriage and family therapy. She has served in several capacities in Young Muslim Sisters and actively works in her local community. Zoha utilizes Instagram (@muslimgirltherapy) to destigmatize mental health and normalize being a hot mess.

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