Bismillahir Rahmānir Raheem.
‘Sacrifice’ is a big part of Islam. It is inextricable, maybe, from ‘submission’, which is Islam, and which is also peace. Sacrifices can be rather difficult. Think: Ibrahim (AS), being asked to give up a person his heart had held so dearly. And:
“We hear and we obey.” — Qur’an (2:285)
“[We seek] Your forgiveness, our Lord, and to You is the [final] destination.”
Of course it is difficult, and that is precisely the point. And Allah returns you with better. Somehow, and in extraordinary ways, at times.
Money, sometimes. Time. Inner desires. The ‘approvals’ of many people, who may come to deem you too ________ and not _________ enough. To part with some of these things, trusting in Allah; investing in Better.
We’re alive right now. There is all that time that has elapsed, and there is now, and there is what is to come, by Allah’s Will.
Who are we choosing to be?
Are our hearts at ease?
I have also been thinking about introversion and extroversion again today. I came across an informational video about how the more extroverted of us tend to rely on bigger and more frequent hits of dopamine, maybe, for their experiences of enjoyment. Meanwhile, there is a separate neurochemical (‘acetylcholine’) which is also linked to pleasurable feelings, but in more ‘slow-burning’ ways: less like a sudden burst of joy, and more like… a more sustained experience of relaxation, alertness, and contentment. I think this is quite often how I feel when I am writing, doing the other things I enjoy.
And, yes: I have had the… more extroverted/arguably ‘dopamine-driven’ people look at me, thinking (sometimes aloud) that I ‘don’t know how to have fun’ or similar. That I’m behaving ‘like a grandma’. I mean, I could easily return that they’re acting a little… attention-seeking and perhaps sort of infantile, sometimes, but I won’t.
My ‘hits of dopamine’, so to speak, occur when they do. For me, I prefer the sustained stuff: less overstimulating, less anxiety-inducing for me. I’m introverted and I’m social, and even in my social interactions, I continue to be me.
Being loud is often confused as being more confident and happy. As time goes on, and as I live through the things that Allah has planned and designed for me, I come to understand things, and myself, better. That, necessarily, there are some things that are uniquely good about me, and about my life. And there are also challenges present, here.
Īmān seems to tend to be something that wavers at least a little, here and there. But I trust that my Lord has designed me and my life phenomenally well.
That I have tried, for example, to take part in what I have seen, of more ‘extroverted’ forms of enjoyment; that they have often left me feeling disappointed, depleted, irritated: sort of empty. [Was there… ‘something wrong with me’?] Could not wait to get home and… light a candle or something. Write. This is how Allah has designed me, and I content myself in the knowledge that: a) I don’t actually want to be ‘like’ anybody else, especially when I come closer to the truths of others’ lives. Different configurations of the same sometimes-good, rather-arduous human experience.
Introverts: it’s not that we’re just ‘boring’. It’s just that others are often… bored. What works for others may not work for you.
I suppose we’re often (perhaps a cringe-inspiring term, but) misunderstood. And this is okay because it just means that the way you live simply does not align very well with another’s ideas on how best to live. Look a little closely though: would you really give up whom you are, and how you do things, to be more like… them, instead? And I mean, not just their ‘good’ experiences, but you’d have to take their unique Dunya-based struggles, and give up your own strengths, also…
b) I am just trying to make the most of my this experience. Myself, my life. If I were more extroverted, I would have the same Purpose, and I would pursue it, I think, just in different ways. Instead, here I am, and here are the chances I have. Minute by minute, and every marker of time that is ‘smaller’ and ‘bigger’, with my name, and who I am, and what I am doing, moment-to-moment.
And, where I am going.
This world, and people, are often really… loud. In terms of moments of comfort and enjoyment, people have different preferences. And Dunya is Dunya for everybody; to Allah is the Ultimate Return for us all.
With Salaam, Sadia, 2021.