I happen to be someone who is both extremely social and extremely private. I’ve done many psycho-analyses, trust me, it exists. I don’t know and I can’t explain how I’m on both sides of the extreme at the same time, but I am. This results in me having more circles of friends and acquaintances from various departments of life as opposed to the average person. Sometimes my circles collide and overlap; sometimes it’s awkward, but sometimes they kick off well. These circles are generally divided into the languages they speak in or the culture they identify with- and a part of me or all of me shares this with them. Next, there’s the types of personalities I belong with; the loud and fun group which I identify with so easily, no surprises there, the group who just does not care about their appearances; instead their stimulating discussions are mainly what drew me to them (I love a good conversation). The next group is just a small number of individuals who I’m simply comfortable around; not exactly material-minded nor are they super religious- they’re just easy-going. They’re open and are always ready to share stories, generally helpful and funny and give good hugs. Another group might share my worldly interests in certain brands, cosmetics, poetry or even in some community figures. This last group of friends I’m about to mention are what I call mafaatih al-jannah. They are my keys to Paradise, Jannah. They remind me of Allah, do things that will benefit their Aakhirah (hereafter) without directly telling me to join in. I generally love the feeling of being around them especially when the sense of peace and calmness that descend us when we’re gathered is real!!!
Being the common “factor” across these groups of people, I realize that I am at a great advantage alhamdulillah, in the sense that I have a great number of people whom I can rely on and seek for help when I’m in need, I have specific people from specific departments to run to for certain advices or topics of discussion etc. Outwardly, I do tend to get mixed up with the languages especially when two groups meet; I’d speak English to one person and then Arabic or Malay to the next- it’s all quite a challenge for my tongue and throat (ahem, Arabic). But let me tell you this, there aren’t many significant downsides to having numerous circles. It is completely okay to belong to many groups- you’re not bipolar or a hypocrite! You just have a vast spectrum, a rainbow of various, colourful different personalities and character- you’re simply a people-person! Don’t let someone else tell you otherwise. This is a blessing from Allah.
Each group brings out the best in me and being with them constantly opens up my horizons and broadens my perspective. They make me better in whatever they’re good at. Their company teaches me two things: to take what is good and to leave what is bad. Having a strong base-principle of your own is vital. Yes, be around many people of many different backgrounds, but stay “grounded” to your own rules and don’t ever back down and compromise your beliefs no matter what. You can be kind and click with everyone you meet, but do not be a yes-man. If something someone asks of you is something that’ll be of inconvenience to you, then hey, stand your ground and explain to them in the most respectable manner you possibly can. Coming from a former yes-man, trust me, this takes practice. (I’m still recovering) It’s okay to feel bad at first, in fact, if you don’t or never feel bad, there must be something terribly wrong with you! You’re human, and you feel.. things. It’s natural to feel bad upon turning down a favour someone’s asked of you, but learn to say no when you’re not up for it, or not in the position to help. Your plate is limited, and if it’s full, REALISE that it’s full. And then ADMIT that it’s full. Don’t make my mistake of always taking more than I can plate.
Now in reality, although you are surrounded by many souls, you are bound to feel lonely. One of these days you’re going to ask yourself, “I have friends, but where are they?” or “Do I even have friends?”. Being by yourself is of utmost importance, I cannot stress more on this matter. You MUST learn to be an independent individual. Detach yourself from people every once in a while. I don’t know how other people stand clingy friends, I know I can’t. And in effect, I don’t do unto others what I don’t want for myself. So I don’t become clingy. Plus if you want a healthy relationship with other people, set boundaries and lines. Spend time with yourself, stop neglecting your rest time at the cost of “helping” or “pleasing” others. Who takes care of you? God. So be alone and talk to Him, complain and rely on Him completely. Let go and surrender. I tell myself to feel the sweetness of prayer even when I’m not praying. At random times of the day, when things seem to be going smooth-sailing, look up to the skies and make duaa. Alhamdulillah. Allahu Akbar. Hasbi Allahu wa ni’mal wakeel. These precious moments are evidence that your spirituality well-being is being taken care of wholesomely, as is your social-life.
Here’s another good reason why it’s crucial to know what it feels like to be alone and to learn to accept that it’s part of nature to be alone:
Allah says in the Qur’an, “And every one of them will come to Him alone on the Day of Resurrection without any aid or protector. ” We were born alone, and will die alone, and will answer God alone. We should learn to get used to it.
This line-up of simple concepts aforementioned are what I’ve been trying to practice myself (with no hard and fast rule). I think they almost perfectly represent the “traveller” lifestyle model that was recommended by our beloved Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). “Be in this world as though you are a wayfarer/traveller”. A traveller does not stay in one place for too long; he takes only what he needs to build himself. He is kind to people for two reasons; because kindness is a virtue which he believes in and that perhaps his kindness would have an affect on the people he ‘s kind to. That they might be kind to him in return, and be kind themselves even after he leaves. He is focused and is goal-oriented. Though he is loved and know by many, he is not distracted. May Allah help us achieve this and earn his Redhaa (pleasure). What more can we ask for if He is pleased with us? Absolutely nothing. It would be a dreamy state of sheer bliss and worry-free.