Striving for Excellence in Taqwa & Character

The Before & After

outside_and_inside

I’m sure you’ve seen them many times. The ‘before’ and ‘after’ pictures of someone who lost weight. The ‘after’ pictures may show them wearing their old clothes to show how much smaller that person has become or maybe how much bigger they were. Either way, it is definitely used to show the magnitude of their achievement.

Such a transformation had unfolded in front of me, courtesy of social media. I met her for the first time while on a trip abroad. I won’t deny that I did notice that she was on the large side. But I also noticed the twinkle in her eyes and her bright smile.  A number of interactions gave me a glimpse into her feisty personality.

A few months later she went into a fitness and healthy eating routine and lost so much weight. I was happy for her; she definitely looked healthier and seemed to enjoy her new routine. All good. Except for the comments. So many compliments on how amazing she looked and how beautiful she was. I thought, “but she’s always been beautiful!”.

Maybe I took this too personally. Because the reality is different from what is apparent. Yes, it takes discipline and persistence to follow a new path be it an exercise regime and/or eating certain types of food and refraining from others. It can be tough and does need a degree of focus on the end point. If that person managed to find enjoyable and practical ways of implementing these changes then really they are on their way to lifelong habits.

I want you to dig deeper. I very much doubt that my travel friend woke up one morning and decides out of the blue that she’ll do x, y and z to lose weight. That decision would have been preceded with an internal struggle. A struggle that began way before the weight piled on and had to shift way before the weight was going to fall off.

The body is an amazing vessel. It is fine tuned to tell us what we need in terms of food and drink. We get confused in reading those signals and so often we deactivate them as a result of our emotional and mental state. We comfort eat or hardly eat to punish ourselves. We eat for leisure or choose not to as a way of controlling something, anything, because the ability to do so was taken away from us. and sometimes the extra weight is a protective shield of sorts.

Can you hear the aches of a heart going through all of this?

Can you see the tears running down their cheeks?

Can you feel their doubt and sense of unworthiness?

I’ve chosen to talk about losing weight and how the external world to acknowledges the visible success without considering the internal struggle.  Wouldn’t this apply to any personal transformation? Poverty to wealth, no children to having children, single to married.

Remember, everyday you decide to get up and make the most of that gift of a new beginning is a success. If you need to spend time to work on yourself internally, please do. Do it with certainty that you are making progress. You’ll have your ups and downs but when the time is right, whenever that may be, you’ll wake one morning “out of the blue” deciding it is time to take action.

I wish you all the best all the way.

{Indeed, Allah will not change the condition of a people until they change what is in themselves}

Quran 13:11

 

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