Let’s Stone the Devil!
By Humaira Nasim
As we walked towards the Jamrat to perform the ritual of Rami, there was a big crowd and we had to take special care not to step over other people. While amidst all this, one may find his feet being crushed under a wheelchair, the scratches, the knock-outs, and the unexpected bumps were nothing as compared to what I had been bruising my soul with all through the years. However, when you are engrossed in empowering thoughts, even mountain-sized challenges turn into molehills.
We finally made it through. The first Jamrah stood like a giant-sized statue of resentments that I had been piling up all my life. I was carrying resentments inside me since I don’t even remember when. However, this baggage was so heavy, it had been hurting me. I had been bleeding emotionally and the blood kept on oozing endlessly, wasting so many beautiful years of my life.
Resentments are negative energies trapped inside our body. Whenever we face obstacles and challenges in our lives, the evil whispers of the devil try to make us a victim of those experiences. We start complaining ‘Why me?’ and eventually build a victim mindset.
We start seeing the world from the lens of anger and bitterness. The devil’s whispers diligently work hard to keep our attention focused on all the negatives that have happened in our lives. It is said that where attention goes, energy flows. We start building walls around us against the love and compassion that the world has to offer. We deplete ourselves from all the positive energy. This triggers the spiral of miseries in our lives that we continue attracting because of successfully building a negative mindset. This thought pattern becomes so habitual that we are unable to see the world outside the bubble that we have created for ourselves.
What triggers resentment?
We all are susceptible to these evil whispers of the devil. Resentments creep into our lives in many forms. It may be triggered if someone takes advantage of us or if we feel put down or not heard. At times, interacting with people who insist that they are never wrong, or who have unrealistic expectations, or who are rarely punctual can also make us resentful.
“At first, you feel angry that you’re not being treated fairly or that your needs are being ignored,” says Psychologist Susan Albers, PsyD. “Overtime, this snowballs into disappointment, bitterness and hard feelings.”
How does resentment manifest itself?
We consistently experience strong emotions – like anger, frustration, or bitterness – whenever we recall a specific incident. We are unable to stop thinking about it. Resentment also leads to regret, tense relationships, and fear of conflict.
Disadvantages of resentments
You have bottled up emotions. When you hold on to emotions for long, a small incident can become a hair that broke the camel’s back and you will end up in a sudden unhealthy outburst of emotion in the form of anger. People will question your sanity; what they don’t know is the baggage of prejudices and injustices that you have faced in your life. You did not stand against them or it is likely that the circumstances were not favourable for you to voice your feelings.
This emotional imbalance affects your physical and mental health and transforms into headaches and chronic pain. If this imbalance goes for a long-time, it can result into addiction and physical illnesses like auto immune disorders, hyper tension, diabetes, insomnia, cancer, skin problems and so on later in your life.
It can negatively ruin your relationships and isolate you from others.
Resentments are unhealthy thinking patterns that keep on playing in our mind whenever we are having an experience. The confirmation bias of past negative incidents solidifies our lens of how we look at the world. It can subdue our instincts and disconnect us from our natural feelings. This stack of resentments keeps on piling up with every other experience and we get stuck in this spiral of negativity.
Plan of action
A better practise while going through negative experiences is to surrender to Allah (swt) and seek His guidance to overcome the challenges. The next step is to indulge ourselves in empowering thoughts and use the experience as an opportunity to build resilience. Successful people are those who make every situation an opportunity to grow by learning valuable lessons.
I rushed towards the first Jamrat. I was excited to shed off this extra weight that I had been carrying. I was excited to hit the devil who had been whispering ugly resentful thoughts in my mind. I no longer wanted to be a victim of my history. With extreme determination and power, I stoned the first Jamrat. As I did so, I suddenly felt lighter as if someone had lifted off a boulder from my chest. This was my first step to rediscover the ways to overcome this negative spiral and it opened ways to seek solutions to let go my resentments.
Before I move to the story of stoning the second Jamrat, I want to ask you, what resentments are you holding on to in life? Would you be willing to let go and start living the world with a fresh lens?