Self Confidence

The Problem With Self-Confidence Theories

The Problem With Self-Confidence Theories

“You are the Captain of your own ship!”

This statement negates belief in Qadar (destiny). Reality is that even if we think we are the captains of our own ships, God still controls the weather and the waters.

“You can accomplish anything you want to, you just need to want it bad enough!”

Nope!

Again, there is the matter of Qadar, resources, human limitations, and a variety of other factors.

These two common quotes represent the problem with most self-confidence theories.

The Egocentric Problem

The Problem With Self-Confidence Theories

The first problem with Self-Confidence theories is that they focus too much on the Nafs (self). Which is were it gets its name.

Self-Confidence today is obsessed with the self, overestimating the self, thinking all good and victory is from the self, and your self being all you need.

This level of egocentricism is unislamic. It goes against two primary Muslim beliefs: Belief in God and Belief in Destiny.

Removing God and Destiny from the Equation

Secular theories tend to be devoid of spirituality. This is why Muslims must be very careful about adopting secular beliefs, even in the field of self-help.

The problem with self-confidence theories is one example of this.

By focusing on the self, the existence of God is ignored. One’s gifts are no longer gifts from God, but one’s own achievements. God is never thanked. God’s help is almost never sort. And victory isn’t attributed to God.

By distancing yourself from God, you may achieve worldly success, but at what spiritual cost? As Muslims, we cannot afford to hold any beliefs that distance us from our Creator.

A Muslim firmly believes that Allah created them and their abilities. Allah gave them their gifts to test them. It is Allah who controls their destiny and grants them victory. And Allah must be thanked whenever things go our way.

Belief in Destiny

Qadar (destiny) is one of the six pillars of faith. To disbelieve in it is Kufr, and to ignore it is problematic.

Muslims must strive to be their best, while remembering that Allah is in control.

Because success is from Allah. And trials and obstacles are tests from Allah.

In fact, lack of victory is the Wisdom of Allah and a means of training us. So our confidence must be rooted in our belief in Qadar.

The Islamic Solution

It is because of these clashes that I developed the Islamic Self-Confidence theory. This theory is expounded in my eBook, Best Of Creation: An Islamic Guide to Self-Confidence. I also cover it in details in “The Ultimate Islamic Self-Confidence Course“.

The theory is summary is as follows:

  1. Allah created us in the best of forms and has gifted each of us with different strengths.
  2. We must use these God-given gifts to make this world a better place and be our best.
  3. So we must trust God (Tawakul), and seek His Assistance (dua) when chasing our goals.
  4. We must chase our goals with full confidence in Our Creator and the abilities He has blessed us with.
  5. After making our best effort, we must accept our destiny (Qadar) for what it is, and then repeat these five steps.

This model will keep a believer confident and consistently moving forward, while remaining grounded in the Islamic belief system. I believe that this is the self-confidence model that Muslims should adopt and follow.

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Incorrect Beliefs that are killing your confidence

Incorrect Beliefs that are killing your confidence

This is an extract from our bestselling eBook: Best of Creation: An Islamic Guide To Self-Confidence.

This was covered in the previous chapter (of Best Of Creation) to some extent, when we discussed the concept of arrogance and humility. That is an example of just one wrong belief that kills confidence. There are others too. For example, the belief that it is wrong to desire and try to obtain the good things of this world.

Is Wealth a bad thing?

Some Muslims look down upon the wealthy, and regard the pursuit of Halal wealth as evil. In this way, they limit their own potential and get in the way of their own success. If you look at the Sahaba, many of them were wealthy businessmen and this did not take away from their piety at all. Classic examples of this include Abu Bakr, Umar, Uthman and Abdur Rahman Ibn Auf who were all wealthy businessmen and among the ten greatest companions.

In fact, through their Halal wealth they were able to do more good deeds than others by engaging in charity and humanitarian efforts that those with less wealth couldn’t do. The prophet (peace be upon him) never condemned them or stopped them from doing business and getting richer. He just emphasized that the wealth should be Halal, spent on good things and should not consume the heart in a way that leads to the disobedience of Allah or the oppression of his creation.

A Hadith about Wealth

The following narration is evidence that the Prophet (peace be upon him) and his companions regarded Halal wealth as a good thing:

Abu Hurairah reported that the poor amongst the emigrants came to the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) and said, “The wealthy have obtained the highest ranks and the lasting bliss,” The Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “How is that?” They said, “They pray as we pray, and they observe fast as we observe fast, and they give charity but we do not give charity, and they set slaves free but we do not set slaves free,”

Upon hearing this, the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said, “Shall I not teach you something by which you will catch up with those who have preceded you, and get ahead of those who come after you, only those who do as you do will excel you?” They said, “Yes, Oh Messenger of Allah.” He said, “Praise Allah, declare His Greatness, and Praise Him thirty-three times after every prayer,”

Abu Salih said that the poor amongst the emigrants returned to the Messenger of Allah (peace upon him) saying, “Our brothers, the wealthy have heard what we have done and they did the same,” So the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said, “This is Allah’s blessing which He gives to whom He wishes.”[1]

In this narration, it is clear that the Prophet (peace be upon him) and his companions viewed wealth as a blessing from Allah that can be used for great deeds. And they competed in doing such deeds. In fact, the poorer companions envied the wealthy companions. Not for any negative reason, but because they wanted to do as much charity work as their wealthier brothers.

The blind leading the blind

Another incorrect belief that leads to low self-confidence is the belief in blind following of elders. Many Muslim communities teach young people that you can never be as good as, as intelligent as, or as knowledgeable as the early Muslims. Since you can never be like them, don’t even try! Just follow the local school of thought and conform. As a result, many young minds, who could have grown into Mujtahids[2] and great scholars, end up wasting their potential due to this self-defeating belief.

If you think about it, this belief is both illogical and baseless. There is nothing in the Quran or Sunnah that indicates that latter Muslims cannot rise up to the intellectual levels of early scholars, and psychologically it doesn’t make any sense either. So, on what grounds can we claim that people today who work hard enough cannot become great scholars? It is self-defeating beliefs like this that hold back the ummah from returning to its former glory.

Are you working to achieve your destiny?

Another incorrect belief that holds people back is a misunderstanding of Qadar (Destiny). A fatalistic approach to Qadar leads to the victim mentality. Many people assume they are just victims of a bad destiny and that their lives can never improve. As a result, they live each day complaining about all the problems in their lives. But never doing anything proactive to fix them.

Qadar is a complex theological issue and this is not the place for a detailed discussion. Suffice to say that the Islamic concept of Qadar does not negate free will or responsibility. It provides a context for understanding things beyond our control and helps us remain humble. But it is not meant to keep us down.

Islam teaches us to focus on solutions and finding a way out of our problems. If Allah puts us in a test, part of that test is rising above the problems and growing through it. And this cannot be done with a defeatist or fatalistic attitude.

Is the Afterlife all about Hellfire?

One more belief that needs to be discussed is an overemphasis on punishment and Hellfire. Some Muslim communities talk about sin in the most condemning of language and leave people with no hope of repentance. This leads to despair, low self-confidence and loss of any hope.

Islam teaches us to find a balance between fear and hope. Furthermore, both of these emotions should be based on love of Allah. Our love for Allah should lead to us hoping for His Mercy whenever we slip. Yet being fearful enough of displeasing Him to avoid living a sinful lifestyle. This fear is rooted in love. Just like a child fears displeasing its parents, a believer fears displeasing his Creator. Yet, just like a loving parent forgives the child for its mistakes, Allah is Most-Forgiving and accepts all repentance. As a result, there is no room for losing hope in His Mercy.

Conclusion

These are some of the most common causes of low self-confidence. Overcoming any of these requires changing some of our beliefs, habits and thinking patterns. This can be done with the right guidance. Inshaa Allah, this book will assist you in rising up to the challenge of life and overcoming any obstacles along the way.

[1] Saheeh Muslim 4:1239

[2] Mujtahid: A person who makes Ijtihad i.e. someone who has the skills, knowledge and intellectual capabilities to deduce rulings for contemporary Fiqh issues

This was extracted from Best of Creation. Purchase the full eBook today to continue learning more about how to gain self-confidence the Islamic Way.

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5 Ways To Build Your Self-Confidence

5 Ways To Build Your Self-Confidence

There are many ways to build your self-confidence. In my book, Best of Creation: An Islamic Guide To Self-Confidence, you will learn dozens of self-confidence boosting tips and lessons.

Here are 5 tips extracted from that book. You can purchase the full eBook here.

1. Focus on your strengths

Every one of us have both strengths and weaknesses. When we focus too much on our weaknesses, we tend to become pessimistic and lose our confidence. A simple shift in attitude towards thinking about your strengths instead will give you a boost in confidence.

Identify your strengths, give them attention, develop them, and choose goals that utilize them. In doing so, you will maximize the productivity of your life and maintain high levels of confidence.

2. Learn new skills

There are so many things we don’t know, and every new skill we learn can transform our lives for the better. Learning a new skill gives you confidence in your own abilities. You realize that you have the capabilities to continuously grow and become a better person, and it motivates you to pursue even higher goals.

It could be a simple skill like driving or using or computer, or something more complex like learning new languages or studying towards a degree. Whatever it is, learning new skills benefits you as an individual, gives you more value as a person and helps you fulfil your life goals.

3. Increase your knowledge

Never stop learning. Too many of us close our books forever after school or university and as a result, we limit our potential. The truly great people who accomplish wonders with their lives are those who remain students for life.

Take up new courses, explore new areas of interest, read new books, or attend a new class. Whatever method you choose to study, just keep at it and keep learning new things. In this way, you are always growing, and continuous growth continuously increases confidence.

4. Take up public speaking

The number one fear of most people is public speaking. In fact, some people fear public speaking more than death itself!

This is why learning to speak in public is one of the most powerful ways to build self-confidence. If you can overcome your fear of public speaking, you can overcome any other worldly fear.

Take up a course in public speaking, and slowly start developing this skill and overcoming this fear. You might just discover that you have a talent for it and then you can use this talent to benefit the ummah. Even if you don’t, the very task of overcoming this fear will give you confidence in other areas of your life.

A True Story

When I was a child, I was very timid and quiet. I was the quiet boy at the back of the class who never spoke up or put myself in the spotlight. I never imagined that one day I would speak in public professionally. During my teenage years, a classmate and I used to skip our turns at public speaking class by pretending to be sick. One day, we made a deal that if he speaks during his turn, I will speak during mine.

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He ended up holding up his end of the deal so I was forced into a situation in which I had to speak in front of a group of a few dozen fellow students. I still remember my nervousness and fear. I had written out a speech about unity and read it directly from the paper in front of the group, and afterwards many students came to praise me telling me I had a natural public speaking voice.

My friend never spoke again in public since that day, but I am grateful to him for pushing me to break my fear. Over the years, I attended courses, listened to criticisms and slowly improved my public speaking skills as it became something I do professionally and enjoy doing too.

Learning to speak in public was one of the defining moments in my life that boosted my confidence and shaped my future. You too can have such a confidence boost by overcoming your fear of public speaking too.

5. Practice, Practice, Practice!

Nobody is born a master of any skill. We all are born with certain built in strengths and weaknesses, but we can develop those strengths into real assets with constant practice. As a child, I loved to write, and as a teen I discovered that I was good at public speaking.

Looking back though, my early writing and public speaking skills weren’t all that good. I just kept practicing over the years, listening to criticism, reading articles, attending courses, and working on continuous improvement, and I continue to do so today.

If you discover you are good at something, don’t let it stop there. Take whatever you are good at and practice it until you become an expert in it. Doing so will boost your confidence and make you an asset to your community.

Learn more self-confidence tips!

These are just five, out of dozens, of self-confidence building lessons that you will learn from Best Of Creation. Purchase the eBook today to continue your journey towards Self-Confidence. Click here to purchase the eBook.

 

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6 Crucial Self Confidence Tips

6 Crucial Self Confidence Tips

Here are six crucial self confidence tips. These tips are extracted from my eBook: Best Of Creation: An Islamic Guide To Self-Confidence. To read the full eBook, grab a copy here.

Thinking Straight

The human mind is such that if we are not monitoring our thoughts, we tend to think negatively. Perhaps it is Shaytaan trying to cause us to despair, but the idle mind is a dangerous thing and is often susceptible to negative thought patterns.

The key to overcoming this is to monitor your thoughts and be in charge. Keep a diary for a day of the kind of thoughts that pass through your mind. Mark them down as positive or negative, compare the amount of positive and negative thoughts and identify causes.

Once you are away of your thought patterns and the triggers, the next step is to replace a negative thought with a positive one. If your mind is telling you that Allah will never forgive you, remind yourself that Allah forgives all those who sincerely seek forgiveness. If you are thinking that you will never be successful in life, remind yourself that Allah is in control of destiny and He can help you succeed in miraculous ways.

Make a list of positive thoughts and remind yourself of them daily. For common negative thoughts, write down a positive response and remind yourself of it whenever the negative thought comes to mind. It also helps to look in a mirror and talk confidence into yourself.

It is Allah’s mercy that He does not hold us accountable for the thoughts that stray into our mind, but we are accountable for the thoughts we choose to entertain and act upon. Be an active thinker and don’t leave room for the whisperings of the devil.

Avoid the Blame Game

When developing the habit of positive thinking, it is important to weed out and remove negative thought patterns. A common negative thought pattern that causes low self-confidence is the blame game.

Many of us do not want to accept responsibility for our actions, so we look for something or someone to blame for our failures. This is also known as the victim mentality, were one feels one’s entire life is just being a victim of circumstance. It is a very fatalistic attitude and this unislamic.

Here are some common examples of the blame game in action:

“Society will never accept me if I do, so why bother trying,”

“The world we live in works with a certain system, I can’t try something outside that system,”

“My parents expect me to do this kind of job for the rest of my life, I can’t disappoint them by doing what I want,”

“The world is a bad place and there is nothing we can do about it,”

“I was raised like that, I can’t change who I am or what habits I developed”

“This is the local culture, and there is nothing we can do to change it,”

As you can see from these examples, the blame game creates an attitude of defeatism. Having something or someone to blame for one’s failure to act is easy, and eases some of the guilt one feels for not doing what you needed to do.

As Muslims, we cannot blame others for our shortcomings. Allah has created each of us with the ability to do well, and to be our best. Nobody is to blame for our failure to act except our own selves. We must accept responsibility for our lives and decisions, only then will we feel empowered enough to move forward.

Be Yourself as long as being yourself is Halal

This is my personal motto. I spent my teenage years in a Darul Uloom whose culture was such that everybody was bullied into dressing alike, speaking alike and pretending that we are all the same, stripped of any individuality. This environment made me grow rebellious and I would upset the status quo with small attempts at being different.

As I studied Islam more deeply, I was amazed at how Islam has room for so many different personality types. The companions of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) were diverse in their personalities. They included scholars, warriors, leaders, businessmen, farmers, strict people, funny people, thinkers and followers.

This led to me formulating my motto: Be yourself as long as being yourself is halal. Allah does not ask us to be robots: looking alike, dressing alike and behaving like we don’t have any unique attributes. At the same time, we all have evil within us that needs to be suppressed, and that part of us should be controlled.

Be yourself. Do not worry about what people say, just be yourself whether that means being strict or humorous. Don’t pretend to be strict because others are, and don’t pretend to be funny because other people want you to.

Let your natural personality flow and you will feel confident and happy. If you need to change anything, change it for the sake of Allah to grow closer to Him. Base your life changes on pleasing Allah, not on pleasing people.

Be your genuine and best self and not only will you grow in confidence but people will appreciate your honesty and courage and will eventually follow in your footsteps.

Write Your Thoughts

Thoughts are very powerful, but often confusing. The human mind is not completely logical. Most of our thoughts and decisions are based more on emotion than logic, and it often isn’t clear whether we are thinking straight.

This can be very dangerous when it comes to negative thoughts. Negative thoughts are often exaggerated, emotional and unrealistic. But because we don’t really analyse them, we tend to believe our own minds too easily. One of the ways to counter this is to write down your thoughts.

This is the reason why many people keep diaries. Writing down your thoughts can be very powerful. It gives you an outlet to get all those thoughts and emotions out of your mind without hurting anyone else. It also gives you a chance to look at your thoughts from an outside perspective and analyse them in an unbiased manner.

The next time you have negative thoughts, try writing them down. Write whatever comes to mind, and read it later when you are in a better mood. You will then be able to discover what went wrong in your thought process and how untrue most negative thoughts really are.

Be in charge of your emotions

Humans are emotional creatures, and our emotions affect our confidence and productivity a lot. This is why it is important to constantly stay in control and feed yourself positive emotions.

Sometimes we allow others to control our emotions. We allow people to make us angry, to upset us, to depress us, to irritate us and as a result we head down an emotional roller coaster because of what someone else said.

Reality is that nobody can make you do anything, because you control your emotions. People can do what they want, but you choose how you react. You don’t have to become angry when someone insults you, you can choose to feel sorry for him instead. He must be having a hard day and took it out on you. You don’t have to be depressed if someone is not happy with how you live your life. You answer to Allah, not that person, so why worry?

Emotions affect our confidence is a major way. From today onward, tell yourself that you will not allow other people to dictate how you think, feel or behave. You live to serve Allah and if He is happy with your lifestyle, it doesn’t matter what people say. Don’t let them affect you, focus on what is important and don’t give people the keys to your emotions.

Be comfortable with who you are

Stop worrying about the shape of your nose, the way you walk, the tone of your skin or the sound of your voice. Allah made you exactly as He wanted you to be. Embrace that and be happy with it. Life is after all about pleasing Him and He doesn’t look at all that, He looks at our hearts and actions.

Become comfortable with your human flaws. Yes, you may have a stutter or a weak immune system. It’s all fine in the long run, stop worrying about that and focus on all the good Allah has blessed you with.

The day you stop worrying about all this and embrace your natural self is the day you stop killing your own confidence with negative self-talk. Replace it positive talk. You are as Allah wanted you to be, you can improve your thoughts, deeds and character so you will focus on that and not on the things that don’t matter.

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Dealing with Setbacks: A Different Perspective

Dealing With SetbacksDealing with Setbacks: A Different Perspective

There are many ways of dealing with setbacks. But as Muslims, we have a unique approach that gives us strength and optimism, even when facing the biggest challenges.

And We will surely test you with something of fear, hunger and a loss of wealth, lives and fruits, but give glad tidings to the patient, those who, when disaster strikes them, say, “Indeed we belong to Allah, and indeed to Him we will return.”Those are the ones upon whom are blessings from their Lord and mercy. And it is those who are the rightly guided. (Surah Al-Baqarah 2:2:155-157)

It is not possible to live in this world and fulfill our goals without dealing with setbacks and obstacles along the way. This life is not perfect. And it is not possible to have everything we desire in it. Certain setbacks are unavoidable. We have no control over life and death, natural disasters, wars, crime or even the daily weather. This is something we have to learn to live with and accept as a part of life.

When you understand that the world is not perfect and that setbacks are inevitable, the next logical step is to prepare for any potential obstacles you will face in life. If you have a high goal, there is no doubt that you will face many obstacles on the way to achieving that goal. When we chase a worthy goal, we are first tested regarding how badly we want it before the opportunity to get it opens up.

A Different Perspective

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One way of dealing with setbacks is to restructure how you look at them. You can look at them as obstacles or as challenges. Challenges are meant to be tackled and overcome. They force us to grow, help us tap into our true potential and develop our strengths. Without challenges, we will never grow or gain the skills needed to accomplish our goals. As the English proverb goes, “Every dark cloud has a silver lining”.

Every difficulty that we face contains an opportunity, a chance to learn something new, to grow, to reach the next level of life. Stop looking at the obstacles and start looking through them at what you want to accomplish, and how overcoming this obstacle can help you accomplish it better.

Lessons From History

When Prophet Yusuf (peace be upon him) was thrown in a well by his brothers, it set off a chain of events including slavery, temptation and imprisonment that eventually ended in him becoming the ruler of Egypt. He needed to go through all those obstacles and challenges. Through which he learned many important things, before he became the ruler, a position in which he needed all those skills.

When Abu Salamah was martyred, his wife Umm Salamah was left devastated. She was now a widowed young mother with many kids, and had lost the most beloved man in her life. She began to pray to Allah to grant her someone better, while thinking to herself who could be better than Abu Salamah. Eventually, she received a proposal from Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) himself, and her prayers were answered. Her challenges, and the patience it built, helped prepare her for her new role as a Mother of the Believers.

Allah promised us in the Qur’an, “With hardship, there is Ease, definitely with hardship there is ease,” (Surah Ash-Sharh 94:5-6)

And the Prophet (peace be upon him) explained, “One hardship cannot overcome two eases,” (Fath Al-Qadeer, p. 1918) meaning that for every challenge we face in life, there is double the amount of good in that situation.

Every difficult situation we face is surrounded by many blessings, followed by many blessings and contains many lessons and blessings. It’s a gift from Allah wrapped up in a layer of hardship. Beneath that hardship is beauty. So much of it that you will thank Allah later for sending those challenges your way.

This is, without a doubt, a guarantee from Allah. When he puts you in a situation of difficulty to test you, you will experience ease as well.

Ease During Difficulty

For example, When the Prophet (peace be upon him) was facing great trials in Makkah, Allah had granted him the companionship of his beloved wife Khadijah and his uncle Abu Talib. They were there to make the test easy for him. And they supported him financially and emotionally, and Abu Talib’s influence kept his enemies from physically harming him. So they were an ease during a difficult time.

When migrating to Madinah and hiding in a cave. Allah assisted the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) by veiling him from the eyes of his enemies and keeping Abu Bakr in his company. Providing him with this ease during his difficult journey.

You might find this happening in your own life, perhaps you are going through a period of unemployment. Allah helps you in many ways during this time. Perhaps by someone helping you out financially, or reducing your financial responsibilities, or by sending some good people into your life to offer you a new job or opportunity. Allah’s help comes in amazing ways that we do not understand.

Allah makes a way out

“Whoever is conscious of Allah, He will make for him a way out, and provide for him from where he never imagined. And whoever puts their trust in Allah, He is Sufficient for him,” (Surah At-Talaaq 65:2-3)

Whichever way you look at it, hardships and setbacks are challenges which contain blessings and are necessary for our growth. After overcoming a challenge, you will feel stronger, more confident and closer to Allah. In that way, challenges are necessary for building our self-confidence. When dealing with setbacks in this way, they become a blessing instead.

This is an extract from the eBook Best Of Creation: An Islamic Guide to Self-Confidence, available exclusively at Islamic Self Help.

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