By: Madiha Malik
How Did We Get Stuck in the Cycle?
The day we abandoned our purpose as Muslim women, we lost our empowering village. For many years, we have been looking for our way back to this village. The village is made up of strong and empowered women who support and inspire one another. As women, we have been stuck in a vicious cycle of comparison for so long. The different environments that we grew up in had one thing in common and that is comparison. Comparison of our looks and abilities to decide and judge who has more and is better. We learned that we need to beat each other in everything including relationships.
Due to the lack of resources, many adults raising our generation did not know any better. They rarely thought outside of the box. So, eventually, the spirit of the village weakened, and we all drifted apart. Individualism took over where women struggled to find their place in the community. Whether it was education, work, or home, we learned that to survive, we had to get ahead of other women. Without support, so many of us gave up and accepted environments where there was no value for our being. When there is no sense of community and belonging, women cannot thrive. Emotionally and spiritually, there will always be a void that can only be fulfilled through creating stronger connections. Year after year, we witnessed each other suffering from a lack of respect, acceptance, love, and opportunities. This is when women decided, it was time for a change. A change in mindsets and a change in lifestyles had to be formed through becoming each others’ teammates.
How Are We Recreating Our Village?
The village needs a generational change. So, we are setting new trends. We are becoming better role models for the young girls that are watching us. These girls are watching us recognize each other’s unique qualities and speak to one another from a place of love instead of fear. We are overcoming our insecurities by finding our own goals and holding each other’s hands as we work our way towards them. We offer support and guidance.
We understand that, as women, what we can achieve together is greater and has more impact. Slowly, we are working on fixing what shakes our inner grounds. We are becoming stronger and more conscious in all the roles that we are required to fulfill whether it be of a mother, a wife, or a friend. With time, we are reshaping our toxic relationships. We are eliminating manipulation, blame, guilt, and fear and replacing them with acceptance. We are learning to set boundaries. We are learning to give each other space and most of all we are learning to trust one another with a full heart. We are rebuilding the foundation of our community as we speak up, raise our voices, and say “no” to everything that is damaging our well-being.
We are recognizing that, collectively, we need to:
- Support positive body and self-image.
- Encourage higher education.
- Offer work/employment resources.
- Compliment, admiration, and praise.
- Prioritize self-esteem and self-worth.
- Prioritize mental and physical well-being.
- Remind ourselves of our purpose as Muslim women.
- Say “no” to abusive relationships (physical, emotional, sexual, neglect).
- Empathize with each other’s challenges.
- Respect, respect, and respect our boundaries.
2021 is the year of hope, love, compassion, and empathy. Let us stay positive and reclaim our lost village.