Your Pain Has A Purpose: Letters To My Younger Self II

By Umm Zachariyyah

Dear Little Me,

Yes, you. The one who cries so often, who is called “dramatic”, “attention-seeking”, “selfish”. Come here little one; I have so much to tell you now that I’m older, and hopefully, wiser.

I know you hold pain, and grief. I still feel it now as an adult sometimes – rising up in my chest and tightening until I find a safe, quiet space to breathe, to be in my body, and release the sorrow through the tears in my eyes.

I know you cried alone so often, and I know you feel lonely, and betrayed that you weren’t supported through your most vulnerable and traumatic experiences. I don’t for a minute want to tell you to “get over it”, or “forget it”, that “it’s in the past”, or get you to pretend you’ve forgiven when really you feel hurt and angry, to make ME more comfortable. I know all that raw and held pain is there because I still feel it today: I hold it in my back with chronic pain and tension; I hold it in my chest as anxiety and panic; I hold it in my stomach with anger when people around me aren’t there when I need them; I hold it as shame, manifesting as frantic and frenetic energy when I think I “shouldn’t” be feeling all these things still, and that I should never have felt them because I have grown up in so much material comfort and privilege.

However, saying all this, I want you to know that everything happened for a reason. Allah, the One in charge of all people, all experiences and all the world, didn’t let you suffer this emotional pain without reason. There is a famous scholar, Ibn Al Qayyum, who told us:

“If a heart becomes attached to anything other than Allah, Allah makes him dependent on what he is attached to. And he will be betrayed by it.”

Can you see how your attachment to people, and your expectations of their love and support have slowly been unravelling, starting from a young age? You desperately sought love and care and tried to depend on people as though they could save you, but again and again they disappointed, and the bitterness only hit harder when you remembered that it seems to have always been this way: that emotional loneliness and longing for closeness.

Well, sometimes this disappointment can be a gift, when you understand that whatever Allah withholds from you, He does so in order to place a greater gift in your hands. And what can be greater than that closeness and connection with Him that He has forced you to seek in duaa, in the tears you’ve poured out over your feelings of abandonment from people, when  in reality they cannot even help their own selves? What is more beautiful that the peace that descends and softens the tightness of your chest when you know, really know inside, that the Creator will never abandon you? That He always listens to you when you ask him from your heart? On the day when we will run from our own mother, father, spouse and children, on the Day of Judgement, what will it all matter then?

How truly precious is the profound understanding that this dunya, with all its bitter-sweet ups and downs, is going,it’s leaving, and what you have with the Creator and what you did for the Lord of the Worlds in this life is what will stay forever?

So remember that all the pain you hold from your childhood had a purpose. Don’t push it away, don’t try to bury it under addictions to clothes, food, television, music, or in seeking admiration and love from created things. Don’t try to pack the sadness back inside without carefully examining it’s origins and expression,  because in fact, it all holds the keys to finding meaning, self-growth, and greater closeness with your Creator. A speaker once said; just like when you touch a hot stove and the pain tells you to pull your finger away quickly before the heat damages your skin, the emotional pain from the abandonment of people is saying, ‘pull away’: you are wanting and longing for too much, and its going to hurt.

When you want a human to comfort your tears, remember it is only Allah who will really take away the sadness. He may use any human as a means for this, but never forget He Who sent them, and if that person doesn’t come, remember Who it is who holds them back.

It is all to bring you back to Him. So don’t be afraid of the pain. It has purpose. Go into the tears, both their origin and their resolution. Walk right into it. Walk into healing through the comfort of the One who made you. Then go back to the people expecting nothing, and giving what you gained.

About the author:

Umm Zachariyyah is a revert of ten years with a special interest in child development and mental health. She has qualifications in Political Science, Positive Discipline for children and is working towards a Certificate in Counselling Skills.

Many revert women struggle on their own after embracing Islam.

Your contributions keep them supported, and that support keeps them going.

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