In our human journey, we all face that relentless internal negative voice that chips away at our self-worth and leaves us feeling unfulfilled. It's astonishing how quickly contentment can become doubt when confronted with life's challenges.
Life has its funny and frightening moments that catch us off guard. Recently, I read a heartbreaking story of a young girl who took her own life. It made me reflect deeply on why negative thoughts consume us and push us towards such extreme actions.
Perhaps it's crucial not to let these negative thoughts linger for too long. Allowing them to fester can lead to depression, self-harm, and other dreadful consequences.
I, too, have struggled with these thoughts. I did not give myself the nickname Djoyfulgirl for show; rather, I did it to serve as a constant reminder to find joy in everything that comes my way. My source, my present, and my future are all evoked by the name.
A few years ago, I experienced depression without realizing it at the time. I thought I was simply chasing shadows until I discovered the truth through research and self-reflection.
During that time, life seemed devoid of value, and though I never attempted suicide, I contemplated it. I remember parking on the 3rd mainland bridge in Lagos, Nigeria, allowing several negative thoughts to take up my mind.
There were moments when I would drive aimlessly, tears streaming down my face, overwhelmed by feelings of worthlessness. Thoughts like "No one likes you," "Are you doing well for your kids," and "You have not achieved anything in life."
Some days, tears would flow inexplicably, leaving me emotionally and physically drained. But how did I overcome this darkness? It was a journey marked by several key steps below:
Seeking help and solace from a higher power: I earnestly prayed for divine assistance and guidance, reciting a prayer that resonated with me whenever I had a shift in mood.
One day while praying, God placed this Ayah in my heart: "Ya Giyaathal-mustgithinna agithni." It has always been helpful when I feel overwhelmed. Also, reminding myself of divine promises and guidance provided strength during tough times.
"Ya Giyaathal-mustgithinna agithni—O God Who helps those who seek help, please help me."
Practicing gratitude: Acknowledging the blessings in my life cultivated a mindset of appreciation and positivity. I was lucky to find support in a community of like-minded people who were crazy about gratitude.
In this community, we share daily prompts and read the prompts of others. This always reminds me that I am not alone. We are all facing challenges, and if others are living through them, so can I!
Embracing positive affirmations: I spoke words of encouragement and shielded myself with positivity. The Gratitude app and daily affirmations from the Daily Zen aided in developing a positive mindset.
Engaging with uplifting content: Whether through listening to recitations from the Quran or consuming positive podcasts, videos, or music, I sought out sources that nourished my soul.
Distancing oneself from negativity: Having recognized the harmful impact of negative influences, I consciously surrounded myself with individuals who uplifted and supported me.
Prioritizing self-love: I learned to accept and love myself, embraced my flaws, and also came to an understanding that my worth is not defined by others' opinions of me. I count my blessings and applaud myself for every little achievement.
Creating a vision board: Visualizing my goals and aspirations renewed my sense of purpose and direction. The gratitude app has a vision board that helped me map out a vision for my life. It reminds me of my WHY!
Reading books: Reading became an escape and a way to expand my knowledge and perspective. One of my favorite books that does the magic is "Don't Be Sad" by Aid al-Qarni.
Do negative thoughts still linger? Absolutely. However, through consistent application of the strategies mentioned earlier, I witnessed an improved version of myself. I have come to realize that life might present challenges, yet I possess the ability to quiet the inner voice.