Archive | August 24, 2011

What Strengths Do You Have That You Are Not Using?

What Strengths Do You Have That You Are Not Using?


By Hwaa Irfan

Depending on how familiar one is one’s self, that simple question might be difficult to answer. Because we have sacrificed our true selves to a materialistic world that bases perfection as a condition that is predisposed to a cultural standard of beauty, and bases that self worth on the basis of commodity, we have learnt to see ourselves as commodities to be packages in a certain way, to be available in a certain way, and to be popular in a certain way. Yet what happens when that standard is no longer viable, no longer needed as is happening now as a result of the ongoing global economic crisis – we fall apart! Our self esteem tumbles into a vicious circle that we cannot quite get ourselves out of because we never truly learnt to value ourselves.

So how do we discover those strengths?

Usually we discover them in a process of doing something, something unfamiliar, something new, or something different!

When we fall into routines, those routines define our boundaries, and the limited ways in which we see ourselves. Our egos might be comfortable with those routines, but something inside is not, because those routines prevent us from knowing and fulfilling our true potentials. Something inside begins to get restless, and we might pacify that restlessness with distractions or live our lives in front of the screen, but deep down we are not satisfied. That dissatisfaction erupts in many negative ways that in the process becomes destructive to us and to others. We are not machines after all that can be simply satisfied with a wage packet, a certain amount of calories a day, a new jacket, a new electronic fad or being told what to do, and how to live our lives.

Unless we reach out of the not so comfortable comfort zone, we will never be able to discover all that we can be including those strengths that enable us to cope with difficult times.

Is your strength:

  • Giving love but you are not giving it?
  • Seeing the solution that no one else can see?
  • Providing consensus when there is dissension
  • A quick learner in certain areas
  • Your sense of humor in the midst of a crisis
  • Ability to adapt
  • Ability to assess all the influences at play to make the best decision
  • A good organiser
  • Bringing the best out of children/adults
  • Connecting with people
  • Dependable
  • Faithful
  • Honest
  • Cooking
  • Creating harmony
  • A good strategist
  • Anything related to plants/animals/the outdoors
  • The Arts/design
  • Best in a crowd/small group
  • Understanding the needs of others
  • Diligent

These are just a few examples that when exercised and not locked away increases one’s sense of self worth, and one’s well being. Whether privately or publicly, in the home or in the workplace, or can even serve as a basis to start up one’s own business. But if they are locked away, neglected, and unappreciated, those strengths dwindle like unused muscles.

Any strength, once identified deserves to be practiced, and developed. By using one’s strengths one becomes enthusiastic and energized, enabling one to go further than feeling compelled/obliged to do something that one has set one’s mind on, devoid of any real connection with what one has set one’s mind on – who knows where they will lead. It also means that one has to have a suitable medium through which one can apply one’s  strength for if one’s strength receives  more positive feedback with children, there is no point in applying it with adults for the effort needed will deplete one’s energy, one’s enthusiasm, and one’s desire. But when one applies one’s strength in the right context, one can imagine doing it everyday with varying degrees of success

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate

Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.

It is our light not our darkness that most frightens us!

We ask ourselves

“Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous?”

Actually who are you not to be?

Your playing small doesn’t serve the world.

There’s nothing enlightening about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you…

As we let our light shine, we consciously give other people permission to do the same.

As we liberate from our own fear, our presence actually liberates others. – Nelson Mandela, 1994 Inaugural Speech

Related Topics:

Discovering Your Emotional Intelligence

Living Beyond the Mundane

The House of Three Rooms

No Wonder Women are Bored!

Climbing the Mountain

How Not to Master a Skill

The Importance of the Creative Principle in Life

The Lesson that Cannot Be Taught

That Driving Passion

What Frequency Am I Traveling on Right Now?

The Collective Intelligence of Women

When a Weakness Becomes a Strength

Gonzalo Rojas: To Live a Dream

A Tradition of Manhood

What Men Live By!

Learning and Achieving Outside the Education System

A Teacher’s Protest

Meditation Does More for You Than Keep You Calm!

Ramadhan Reflections: Your Chance to Get What You Want‏

Ramadhan Reflections: Your Chance to Get What You Want‏

These beautiful days and nights are wonderful moments for us to really connect with God. On many occasions, we spend time asking others to help us with stuff, when we are lost or suffering, often we look for our answer in people. We forget that the we should seek assistance from the Source of all help and all we have to do is simply raise our hands and ask God directly for what we want.
Dua (or supplication) is the “will of God that can change the will of God”.  We have to take action and do our best but in the end, we depend on God and know that the help comes from only God. Many of us know of examples where people take medicine and do everything they are told  when they are sick and it does not work and others who may not do much and they are cured. When we are sick, taking medicine is our responsibility to do our best but the cure comes directly from God. This is why no one can ever give us a 100% guarantee on the outcome of anything. As humans our ability is limited.

When we have a need, we go directly to God is because God is in control of all things. In these beautiful nights, there is one special one in which the angels will descend by their thousands listening for the caller, calling on their Lord asking for forgiveness and for their needs to be taken care of. It is the night when God makes His decree clear and so the best place for a servant to be is in a position of humility, arms outstretched praying for what s/he wants or in prostration doing the same.

What is clear to us, is there is no intermediary- the only barrier between us and God is our willingness to approach, to call on God, to ask for what we want/need. This supplication can be done standing, sitting, or lying down.

We should remember in our du’aa/supplication – to 1) praise God 2) to send blessings on the prophet peace be upon him, 3) to be sincere 4) to state our condition (Zakariya peace be upon him said, “I am an old man with gray hair’), 5) state what we want and ask with conviction- we do not make du’aa and then say, “insha Allah” because the purpose of making du’aa is for getting what we would like and knowing the One Who answers all prayers is capable of answering them.

What we should keep in mind is that Allah may answer our prayers in one of three ways. 1) God may answer our du’aa directly 2) God may not answer it directly but instead avert a calamity that was going to befall us 3) It may be reserved for us in the next life. So don’t lose patience. Make du’aa and keep making it and trust that God will answer it. We won’t always know the how/when but we should trust that whatever happens is for our best and greatest good and that our du’aa  will be answered.

Related Topics:

Layla-tul Qadr

Ramadhan Reflections: What Can People Expect from You?‏

Ramadhan Reflections: Remembering Those Who Don’t Have the Choice to Fast‏

Ramadhan Reflections: I Am Not Racist, Some People Just Aren’t Good Enough.‏

Ramadhan Reflections: Every Soul Shall Taste of Death are You Ready?

Ramadhan Reflections: What you see in others IS a reflection of who YOU are.‏

Ramadhan Reflections: It’s Not Really My Problem

Ramadhan Reflections: Why Do The Same Issues Keep Coming Up In My Life?‏

Ramadhan Reflections: Should I Be Interacting With People Who Aren’t Muslim?‏

Ramadhan Reflections: Why does Islam Seem So Hard and Boring All the Time!

Ramadhan Reflection: Of course I Care About Others…Sort of!

Ramadhan Reflections: Does God Make Mistakes?

Why Does God Let These Things Happen To Me?

Ramadhan Reflections: Are You Worthy of God’s Forgiveness?‏

Do You Really Trust Allah?

Ramadhan Reflections: Does God Think About You?‏

Ramadhan Reflections: Memorizing the Qur’an is Not Enough

Ramadhan Reflections: What Do Your Actions Say About You?‏

The World Does NOT Revolve Around Me.‏

Stuffing Ourselves and Sleeping All Day…

Ramadhan Reflections: Do My Prayers Benefit Me?

Ramadan Reflections- We begin with Mercy‏

Pre-Ramadhan Reflections

Keep Ramadhan Simple!

Ramadhan 2011


Letter to the Self #30 Remember Me

Letter to the Self #29 Forgiveness

Letter to Self # 28: Those We Ignore
Letter to the Self # 27: Destination or the Journey!
Letter to the Self # 26: Change
Letters to the Self #25: Window of Opportunity
Letters to the Self #24: More Than You Think You Are Able
Letters to the Self #23: Submission

Libya: How to Reverse a Revolution


Hwaa Irfan

It seems kind of ironic that as sections of the Libyan population, and bordering countries with allegiance to the U.S. wait in anticipation to hear the hopeful news of Gadaffi’s death in a region that has gone through a people’s uprising, that the person whose death is awaited was the product of a revolution in 1969. It is with curiosity one wonders how a people’s revolution perceives the wanted death of a man who actually did what they set out to achieve – to break the colonial influence over the natural resources, and the future of the country.

From a completely impoverished country once under Italian colonial rule that then transferred to the UN until independence in 1951 – to Britain, and the U.S. in 1969, the man they want dead lifted Libya from a state of poverty to the most advanced socio-economic status on the continent, wiped out illiteracy, provided free education and health to the extent that the per capita income on the continent was the highest for a population of 6 million, and increased of life expectancy to 77+ years.

One supposes if Gadaffi had committed crimes against humanity in another country instead of his own a better fate would be in the offing if it was not for the fact that Gadaffi eliminated the last vestiges of colonial control by eliminating foreign military bases from Libya soil, and expelled the U.S. airforce base previously run by Mussolini.

The powers that be do not take kindly to leave behind what does not belong to them, and strike back with a ferocity as if it is their God-given right, the reality of which a neighbouring people have never been faced with directly can comprehend when words of “revolution” ricochet from the U.S.-sponsored Alliance for Youth Movements, and the National Front for the Liberation of Libya which is based in Washington D.C. and fronted by Ibrahim Sahad. How does a comglomeration of ex-ministers represent a tribal people without a vote!

After all why should the powers that be suffer as they take from the poor to give to the rich even within their own borders including the recent $1.2 trillion in loans from public money in the safe keeping of the U.S. Federal Reserve to bailout failing banks (200-2010), when Libya runs its own central bank, has no need of IMF or Ponzi, does not produce debt, and only lends what they have to give. Why should Gadaffi get away with only the Pentagon killing of his 2-year old daughter in 1986, along with the collateral damage of “others?” How dare Gadaffi dream of nationalizing Libyan oil and then provides Libyans with an expansive social insurance program.

If it wasn’t for the backward element within any society that blindly believes in privatization, reducing social programs, subsidies and integrating into mismanaged western markets, there wouldn’t have been increasing unemployment and a growing gap between the rich and poor as if this is only natural. As Kleptocrats call for “democracy,” on others shores and the rights of the people yet seek to quash any similar thoughts within their own borders.

Now, Libya has been “placed” in the hands of the National Transitional Council by external powers as if they have the right to do so, supporting a potential puppet government that follows the Washington Consensus to ensure that Libyans handover the oil – what a twist on any revolution, as one wonders what is in store for Egyptian revolutionaries, and whether Assad has not spoken some element of truth as the NTC’s letter to the French writer and philosopher Bernard-Henri Levy allays Israel fears as they set to normalize relations. Meanwhile, the largest foreign oil company Eni (Italy) operating in Libya before the “revolution”/civil war prepares to return home to Libya as its biggest oil producer to continue business as usual!

Related Topics:

IMF: Neocolonialism vs. Jan. 25th Revolution

The International Elite vs. Communal Democracy of Ivory Coast

From Liberation to Re-enslavement