In the name of Allah, the Entirely Merciful, the Especially Merciful.
The more things change, the more they remain the same.
Ramadān is always an exciting one. Alhamdulillah. There is so much palnning and excitement as the month comes and then just like that it is done and leave us yearning for the next. may Allah ﷻ allow us to witness this month and many more and to take and reap from it. Amin.
For a number of years now, I have had a similar schedule for Ramadān. I host a community reflection circle post fajr which I love and then start my day right after, when I was working a 9-5, would proceed to work and even when I was a full-time entrepreneur, I would work as such too. Then I schedule everything else as needed from Qur’an classes to tafseer classes and so on. And I have loved it. I love knowing what I need to do, I love getting to do all I get to do, and the structure keeps me focused. Alhamdulillah.
However, this Ramadān, I find myself craving a much needed retreat. I want to take time out for myself to just be by myself and work on myself from within myself. I really miss solo journaling sessions as well and looking forward to that too. I am looking to get the children involved as well and so doing a lot of activities with them In sha’a Allah So let’s say there will be lots of children books in my Ramadān as well. There is also my studies. We do not get a break for Ramadān, just an adjusted schedule because we do not get a lunch break cos it is Ramadān.
I intend to make a number of changes in the coming months and I intend to use Ramadān as a training ground for that In sha’a Allah.
One other thing I am excited about is Pockets of peace – a bunch of letters of love, hope and personal stories, I would be sending out with so much more love scattered through the month of Ramadān. Feel free to subscribe here.
May Allah ﷻ allow us to witness the blessed month, see it and benefit from it and may He accept all of our ibadah and reward us for it and may he allow us to enter into His Jannah. Amin
How about you? Do you intend to have a different Ramadān?
Relationships are not easy. And then somehow we end up being attracted to someone who is the opposite of us, well, because ‘opposites attract.’ It is no secret that effective communication is key, not only in relationships but in life in general, and although introverts tend to be creative think-outside-the-box people, they struggle with the constant conversations and “check-ins” that a relationship may require.
Communication to a relationship is like what oxygen is to life.
Have you ever felt lost, stuck and maybe confused, yet unsure about how to communicate your inner world with your significant other? Have you ever been misunderstood or called “too sensitive” by a partner?
These are problems many introverts go through at some point in time. Introverts recharge their energy alone. Their strength lies in focusing inward and putting them in touch with their thoughts and feelings. They tend to prefer smaller intimate groups rather than bigger ones. They also love deep, meaningful conversations. As much as they love their own company and prefer being by themselves, they too crave deep, meaningful connection, especially with their partners.
Where some introverts are shy, others are charismatic – they just recharge their batteries through time alone. However, because introverts tend to be in touch with their feelings or highly sensitive, their partners might initially misunderstand them. While being misunderstood might be frustrating at first, there are ways you and your partner can improve the communication in your relationship.
Here’s how to improve your relationship communication as an introvert:
Get to know yourself better. One of the best things you can do as an introvert is to get to know yourself better. Journal regularly so you can figure out your strengths and blind spots. Knowing yourself better will help you communicate with your partner and speak up for yourself.
What gives you energy?
Observe yourself what part of the day you crave time to yourself the most – morning, evenings, just after everyone has gone out, those last minutes of silence before everyone is back home?
What activities drain you a lot faster?
Is there anywhere in life where you feel exhausted?
How did that make you feel? What would you change about that?
Do you have a certain rhythm of being ‘off’ and ‘on’ – maybe around your period or towards the end of the month when you are waiting for your monthly income or around the holidays?
Accept and compromise. You and your partner are entitled to two different experiences. If you and your partner see things differently, learn where you need to accept and compromise! And doing this is a big win because most times it is complementary and not antagonistic.
Celebrate your strengths. Your strengths as an introvert may be under-appreciated or overlooked. Recognise and celebrate your strengths and find ways to use them to improve your relationship! As an introvert, you probably are:
Empathetic. You understand when others need time alone. You have an easy time putting yourself in others’ shoes. Taking the time to get to know yourself and your feelings better will help you feel more confident communicating them to your significant other. The key is to feel with people with discernment of your feelings.
Open and deep. You can be open, vulnerable (when you feel safe) and transparent about how you feel.
Connected. Because you recharge alone and think inward, you can be connected to your body and mind.
A great listener plus you notice the details.You are a great listener and pay attention to others. This might mean you also have a great memory! People might be surprised by the details you tend to remember. “The colour of your partner’s shirt when they said that hurtful comment.”
Ask questions. Sometimes, introverts tend to rely on others to lead the conversation. Be curious about how your partner feels, in and out of arguments. “What” or “Why” questions can usually lead to a defensive response. So, you can play even safer and start by saying, ‘Help me understand…..’
Understand and embrace how you naturally express and receive love. People don’t believe it but sometimes you don’t necessarily give love the way you want to receive it. I love the work on the 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman. It is a great tool for understanding how you most naturally express and receive love. They love languages are:
Quality Time: Meaningful and fun time spent together. Like sitting with your partner and enjoying deep conversations.
Physical Touch: Affection through touch and physical closeness. A gentle rub of your shoulder as your spouse passes you hard at work at the table or cooking in the kitchen.
Words of Affirmation: Compliments, verbal encouragement, affirmations and loving acknowledgement. “I love you so much. Thank you for tolerating me.“
Gifts: Physical gifts, great or small. “So I was passing by a book store and I got you this book.“
Acts of Service: Helpful gestures that make another’s life easier and more enjoyable. “Wow! You sorted all of that laundry and without me asking?!”
Give yourself alone time when you need it. If you find yourself needing time or space to process emotions alone, clear your mind, or recharge, create that space for yourself! Sometimes it might be right after an argument with your spouse or just after your toddler’s fifth tantrum of the day and you would appreciate time to recharge. However, it can be perceived as a reaction to what just happened so go ahead and communicate that you just need the time. Taking this a step further, notice what fills your cup quicker so you can maximize the time you have. And sometimes it might be as simple as putting your phone away for five minutes.
Speak up. Introverts are less likely to speak up because they are mostly in their head. Sometimes, introverts will wait until they are asked before speaking up. You and your partner are a team! When you’re stressed or there’s an argument, request gracefully for time to be by yourself. Your partner will be at ease since they know you’re not walking away; you’re just taking the time you need so you can have a good discussion. Also share you views about the low-stakes situation like dinner plans and you will start to feel more confident about having those bigger discussions.
Learn to say “No”. It is important to know your limits. Don’t say yes to activities and gatherings that you know will drain you. “No” is healthy for you.
Just because you are an introvert does not mean that you are unable to communicate. Everyone needs a reminder of their inner awesome, it is how we become better people. Effective communication requires engagement, self-awareness, and creativity, all of which comes naturally for an introvert. It is not about quantity but about quality. So the goal is not to go out and start making a lot of noise. Talking does not equal communication. Going out everyday does not guarantee lasting connections.
Remember, relationships are a partnership! If you are not able to effectively communicate, your relationship will be based on assumption and that is not healthy at all. Be transparent with your partner about how you feel and where you struggle. Together, you can not just survive but thrive and weather all the storms that come your way.
O my Lord! Open for me my chest (grant me self-confidence, contentment, and boldness); Ease my task for me; And remove the impediment from my speech, so they may understand what I say. Amin!
If this was beneficial, please drop a comment, like the post or share to an introvert in your life.
I will be talking a lot about the differences in our personalities in adults and children, how they show up and how to communicate effectively irrespective of these difference in a workshop – The basis of relationships. Get your early bird discount today!
Did you say you can’t? It is so easy to think or say “I can’t….” Over and over again, we tell ourselves so many things without realizing it. I can’t wake up early for Fajr I can’t cook a meal I can’t help my child with their homework I can’t afford to pay for “the full cup” or whatever program on your list And sometimes you even have a reason added so it would sound like… I really want to join #FajrClub but I can’t because I am not a morning person. Most of the time, the truth isn’t that you can’t, it is that you won’t. I won’t wake up early for Fajr I won’t cook a meal right now I won’t help my child with their homework I won’t afford to pay for the full cup I really want to join Fajr Club but I won’t because I am not a morning person. The thing is when we say we “can’t” do something, we sound like we are a victim and it is comfortable but when we say we won’t then it shows our choice in the matter. And this is not to say that there are not things that we actually cannot do. I mean maybe you genuinely can’t afford something at the moment… But until you start to take note of this difference, you would not know. And your brain will believe whatever you tell it. So when you find yourself saying you can’t do something, change “can’t” to “won’t” and see if it still holds true. And don’t think it makes you lazy, it just makes you honest and most days, honesty is the cheapest thing you can afford.
These are words we hear a lot these days and there are a lot of things you can do to achieve them. Whether it is in your life, career, spirituality, business, relationships, there is so much you can do like get a coach, or take a course or join a membership or get a mentor but none is as easy as picking up a book and reading it. And books are such a fun way to escape. We should read more.
Not everyone loves reading and there are so many reasons why people do not read.
The commonest is that there is no time. You really do not need to focus for a long stretch. All the short bursts really do add up.
Another reason is people feel they need to finish every book they start (I used to think so too). You don’t. If it doesn’t do it for you, then dump it and find the one your soul needs. If the book is too intense for you and you need to peek at the end, go ahead. It is not a race.
Reading helps us improve our focus. Have you noticed that you hardly read long captions completely? But we can spend a good number of hours just scrolling through photos on Instagram. It is time, we put aside our phones and pick up books instead.
Concentration. and focus are like muscles, if you don’t use them regularly, it will be too weak for when you actually need them.
So you have work or school or you are an entrepreneur working 24/7 trying to make six or seven figures, where do you find the time to read? That is what this post is about.
Wake up a few minutes earlier
Waking up a few minutes earlier automatically gives you more time in your day. Yeah! It has so much barakah! This only works if you get up immediately. Don’t lie in bed scrolling for hours on end. Say your prayers, recite the Qur’an, plan your day if you are a morning planner, or journal if you need to clear your head and then pick up a book and read.
While you eat
When we eat, you will naturally seek out entertainment – whether it is scrolling your phone or watching something on the T.V or chatting a way with colleagues at work. If you can find a quiet place, then go ahead and read instead.
While you wait
There are pockets of time during the day when you are on your way to work or a meeting (If you are driving an audiobook will serve). Or while you wait for your meal at a restaurant especially if you are alone or while you wait for the bus or your ride or while you wait for your appointment (maybe you got to your appointment early). Always have a book with you for when the opportunity comes.
Make reading a treat
So you had a long list of things to do and by Allah’s mercy, you did all of it. What next? You deserve a treat. Make reading your treat. This is more effective for those who love to read. For the reluctant reader, choose a treat for when you meet your daily or weekly reading goals.
Wrap up the day
You are in bed and you aren’t yet asleep, you pick your phone and keep scrolling until your phone hits your face because you slept off. Not again?
Let’s do better. Try to leave your phone on the bedside shelf then pick a book instead. The sleep will come easier. Plus, screens are more detrimental to your health.
Knowledge is powerful but we can only unlock its power by actively seeking it and then translating it to action. In short, we all need to dedicate ourselves to a life of learning.
Learning never ends and reading doesn’t have to either. You can use Goodreads to track your progress. After all, what is measured is improved. So go ahead, and start. Start small, measure and celebrate your strides.