Monthly Archives: October 2008

Individual Factors: Certain attributes must come from within

According to Merriam-Webster, an intense effort is one marked by great zeal, energy, determination, or concentration.

Intensity certainly seems like a straightforward concept, but it’s not something that is visible on paper. Not even the best book or website can illustrate intensity through text alone. It does not pass through osmosis and isn’t even sold at the supplement store. Training is like many things in life. You get what you put into it. The intensity that is put forth is entirely up to you, and must come from within.

Unfortunately, many athletes overlook this imperative (yet simple) fact. Even highly motivated athletes with the best intentions tend to forget that certain attributes must come from within, and cannot be found elsewhere. Intensity is one example, with passion, perseverance, and dedication an abbreviated list of others. These individual factors cannot be located with even the cleverest Google search. They must be found internally, as external resources can only offer so much in return.

And don’t get me wrong, I’m not against reading. As an author, it wouldn’t make sense for me to knock the values of reading and writing. My problem isn’t with books or websites, but rather with those who assume that the keys to success always lie somewhere else. Those who fall into this trap tirelessly search books and websites for new workouts, new rep schemes, and new exercises. They search high and low for answers, but never take the time to search internally. In their eyes, the secret to success must be hiding elsewhere.

Just recently, I received an email from a new reader to the site who asked where he could find the most intense workouts. Here was a young fighter looking for a challenge. At face value, it was a fine request. How could anyone knock a fighter who is looking for a greater challenge?

My problem is not with the question, but the fact that aspiring athletes have been fooled to believe that they need someone else to create an intense workout for them. Perhaps the industry has fooled him, which shouldn’t come as a surprise. Many in this industry do everything in their power to create confusion and unnecessary complexity.

As I stated in a past blog entry:

“Many from the world of fitness strive to create confusion in topics that a 5th grader could easily comprehend. They’ll throw together a few basic movements and then create a fancy name that “defines” the workout, as if a fancy name somehow adds another level of sophistication. After all, if you are confused, you’ll become dependent on the guru and his advice. If you become self sufficient, you offer nothing in return.”

Taking Responsibility

You don’t need anyone to create an intense workout for you. It isn’t that complicated, no matter what others would like you to believe. Creating new workouts also happens to be fun. It is a great way to stay personally connected to your training, while ridding yourself of staleness and monotony. For a perfect example, you can find over 50 workouts on my message board. I did not create any of these workouts. Readers from the forum contribute a new workout each week.

Many of the workouts will appear easy on paper, but then creep up on you as you begin to work through the session. This shouldn’t come as a surprise however, as even basic workouts can be challenging if you are willing to bring the intensity. Even a one mile run could be a challenging mini-workout.

At first glance, you may be thinking that I left something out. Did I just say a one mile run could be challenging? How hard could it be?

As always, the answer to this question lies within. The one mile run will be as intense as you make it. For example, suppose your training partner strolls through the run. He will finish the distance without breaking a sweat. Now suppose you run the mile as if your life depended on it. Perhaps you envision running away from a pack of hungry wolves. Wouldn’t you crank up the intensity and run your ass off?

You and your partner will have completed the exact workout on paper. You have both run one mile. Intensity was an individual factor however that you applied to the workout. It isn’t visible on paper.

How Much Is Enough?

I’m not suggesting that we attack each workout as if our lives depended on it. That isn’t the point to this article. The real message that I wish to convey is that you cannot expect to become a special athlete without a special effort. If your goals are general fitness, you can accomplish this task with a moderate level of intensity. If however you wish to become a champion, the time will come when you must dig down deep within. You cannot stroll through workouts and expect greatness. You must raise the bar on what is expected of you to separate yourself from the majority.

Many years ago, a story passed through our gym about Bernard Hopkins, who at the time was the undisputed middleweight champion. He was (and still is) known for his Spartan-like lifestyle and training camps. One of his sparring partners at the time (who was also a professional fighter) had left camp and commented on the experience. The sparring partner described training camp by saying if that is what it takes to be a champion, he doesn’t want to be a champion. It isn’t worth it. Hopkins was up at the crack of dawn, training fanatically each day, in bed early at night, and always eager to start the next day, only to repeat the process. His work ethic was enough to break down professional fighters who were just training with him, never mind having to actually fight the man.

Paper Is Never Enough

On paper, much of what Hopkins does in camp is not much different from what many fighters do as well. Whether it is running, sparring, hitting the bags, or hitting the mitts, these are all common activities amongst fighters. One cannot simply go through the motions however, replicating the same workouts on paper and expect the same results. A round does not always equal a round. World champions separate themselves from the majority. They push the limits of the human body, always looking to improve.

I often see young fighters on the message boards who search for workouts performed by top level fighters. Unfortunately, reading a workout on paper does not paint the full picture of what goes on behind the scenes. For example, a few rounds on the heavy bag can be intense if you push yourself, throwing as many punches as possible throughout each round. Conversely, these same few rounds could also be a light session if you toned down the intensity. I’ve seen many fighters over the years who have mastered the art of looking busy on the bag, while exerting as little energy as possible. Therefore, hitting the bag for X number of rounds does not mean anything by itself. What you put into each round is far more important than the number of rounds. Once again, intensity is not something that you can find on paper.

Simplicity Trumps Complexity

I was fortunate to grow up around some of the best fighters and trainers around, and have been fortunate to train some of today’s top fighters. Yet despite years of research and real world experience, I still believe that the most important ingredient to a successful training program comes from internal resources within each athlete. These individual factors outweigh even the most sophisticated means of exercise selection, periodization, and program creation. Often times the most important task of the coach is to light the fire that ignites the passion and intensity within the athlete. Once that fire burns, the athlete will find success with almost any style of training. He’ll realize that a round does not equal a round, as his rounds are always crammed full of intensity and action.

And while this may seem like a knock against research and science, it is everything but that. I’m actually a firm believer in research and science. I just happen to be against unnecessary complexity. After all, science is defined as the state of knowing. It is knowledge as distinguished from ignorance or misunderstanding. No part of the definition calls for needless complexity.

”Most of the fundamental ideas of science are essentially simple, and may, as a rule, be expressed in a language comprehensible to everyone.” – Albert Einstein

I don’t need to throw out irrelevant catch phrases or technical terms to develop successful athletes. I’d rather focus on topics of substance, as we travel the most direct path towards dominance. I’m also not here to suggest that my style of training is the only style of training. Yes, I have my own way of doing things, but there are countless others who have also developed successful athletes with their own methods. I’d be ignorant to suggest otherwise. Yet to those who do, why not simply accept this fact and focus on your own athletes? Why waste time trying to belittle other coaches and athletes who may have found success with other methods? Does anyone in this day and age honestly believe that they have reinvented the wheel?

No one can deny that countless trainers and countless methods have worked for countless champions. No single system reigns supreme and never will. Those athletes who bring forth unparalleled levels of desire, intensity, and perseverance will excel with almost anything. Clearly, training knowledge is imperative, but not any more important than getting the athlete to believe in the system and then maximize his efforts.

Many athletes have potential that currently lies dormant. An external search will never uncover the key to unlock this potential. The athlete must tap into these resources by first looking within. Great athletes find these resources on their own, just as great coaches find these resources in athletes who had previously failed in past searches.


To the coaches, push the buttons that need to be pushed and light the fire that needs to be lit.

To the athletes, ask yourself how bad you want it and then look inward to find the real secrets to success.

The results will follow.


See also:

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The Power of Du`a

By Khalid Baig

Once Prophet Muhammad Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam passed by a people who were suffering from some affliction. “Why don’t they make dua (pray ) to Allah for protection,” he said. With all the suffering and disasters Muslims are facing in various parts of the world, the question can be directed to all of us today.

It is not that we have forgotten dua completely; we refer to it regularly. But, our ideas and practice regarding dua have become distorted. Often it is reduced to the level of a ritual. Generally it is considered when all our efforts have failed — an act of last resort. It is belittled through actions and sometimes even with words. Is it any wonder that today mostly a mention of dua is meant to indicate the hopelessness of a situation.

What a tragedy, for dua is the most potent weapon of a believer. It can change fate, while no action of ours ever can. It is the essence of ibadah or worship. With it we can never fail; without it we can never succeed. In the proper scheme of things, dua should be the first and the last resort of the believer, with all his plans and actions coming in between.

Dua is conversation with Allah, out Creator, our Lord and Master, the All Knowing, the All Powerful. This act in itself is of extraordinary significance. It is the most uplifting, liberating, empowering, and transforming conversation a person can ever have. We turn to Him because we know that He alone can lift our sufferings and solve our problems. We feel relieved after describing our difficulties to our Creator. We feel empowered after having communicated with the All Mighty. We sense His mercy all around us after talking to the Most Merciful. We get a new commitment to follow His path for that is the only path for success. We feel blessed with each such commitment

In every difficulty our first action is dua, as is our last. We ask Allah to show us the way to handle that difficulty; we seek His help in following the path He shows to us; we seek His aid in making our efforts successful. When we fall sick, we know that we cannot find the right doctor without His Will; that the best doctor may not be able to diagnose our condition without His Command; that the best treatment plan will not succeed without His Permission. We make dua for all of these. We make dua before we seek medical help, while we are receiving it and after it has been delivered. The same is true of all other difficulties we may encounter.

Dua is the essence of ibadah. A person engaged in dua affirms his belief in Tawheed (monotheism) and shuns belief in all false gods. With each dua his belief in Allah grows. He beseeches Him, affirming his own powerlessness. A person seriously and sincerely engaged in dua understands exactly the relationship between himself and the Creator and affirms it through his actions. That is the essence of worship! Additionally, such a person can never become arrogant or proud, a logical result of true worship.

Dua is our most potent weapon in all struggles of life as well as in jihad in the battlefield. During the battle of Badr, the Prophet Muhammad Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam stood up all night in prayer seeking Allah’s help in the battle between unequal armies that would follow the next day. In the decisive battles against the crusaders, Sultan Salatuddin Ayyubi was busy day and night. His days were devoted to Jihad. His nights were spent making dua, crying, seeking Allah’s help. This has been the practice of all true mujahideen.

We should make it a point to make dua for all things big and small. It is the beginning of wisdom to realize that big and small are arbitrary labels that are totally irrelevant in this context. Nothing is too big for Whom we are asking from; nothing is too small for the one who is asking. That is why we have been taught to ask Allah when we need something as small as shoelaces. We should ask as a beggar, as a destitute person, for that is what we in reality are in relationship to Allah. At the same time we should ask with great hope and conviction that we shall be granted our prayers. We should remember the Hadith: “There is nothing more dear to Allah than a servant making dua to Him.” On the other hand, a prayer lacking concentration and conviction is no prayer at all.

We should make dua at all times, not only during times of distress. The Prophet Muhammad Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam said: “Whosoever desires that Allah answers his duas in unfavorable and difficult conditions, he should make plentiful dua in days of ease and comfort.” Also he said: “The person who does not ask from Allah, Allah becomes angry with him.”

We should ask for all of our needs: those related to this world as well as those related to the Hereafter. Those who only concentrate on the former are, in effect, announcing that they don’t care for their life in the permanent abode. They should blame no body but themselves for the total ruin in that world that Qur’an assures us awaits them. Those who only concentrate on the later are also showing lack of balance, for we need Allah’s help to lead a good life here as well.

We should make dua not only for ourselves but also for our parents, brothers and sisters, spouses and children, relatives and friends, teachers and other benefactors, and destitute and struggling Muslims everywhere. We should pray for them for the good in this world as well as in the Hereafter. The Prophet Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam said: “The dua of a Muslim for his brother (in Islam) in his absence is readily accepted. An angel is appointed to his side. Whenever he makes a beneficial dua for his brother the appointed angel says, ‘Aameen. And may you also be blessed with the same.'” [Sahih Muslim]

In the dark ages that we are living in today, everyday brings fresh news about atrocities committed against our brothers in Palestine, Kashmir, India, Afghanistan, Iraq, Chechnya, and the list goes on. And what do we do? We can continue to just feel frustrated and depressed. We can petition the determined perpetrators or a fictional “International Community”. We can just forget all this and move on to some other subject. Or we can stand up before Allah and pray for His help, who alone can help. The dua can change our life, our outlook, and our fate. It is the most potent weapon. But it works only for those who try sincerely and seriously to use it.


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“Indeed, he loves Allah & His Messenger…”

By Dr. `Abd al-Wahhâb al-Turayrî

There was a man named `Abd Allah who loved Allah and His Messenger so much that the Prophet (peace be upon him) had to declare about him: “Indeed, he loves Allah and His Messenger.” [Sahîh al-Bukhârî (6282)]

This man named `Abd Allah so loved the Prophet (peace be upon him) that he used to delight in presenting the Prophet with any delicacy that came to Medina, so when any merchant caravan arrived with something like butter or honey, he would take it for him as a gift. Later, when the seller demanded payment, `Abd Allah would bring the seller to the Prophet and say: “Give this man its price.”

The Prophet (peace be upon him) would then say: “Didn’t you give it to me as a gift?”

`Abd Allah would say: “Yes, O Messenger of Allah; however I cannot afford to pay.”

The two of them would laugh together and then the Prophet (peace be upon him) would have the merchant paid.

This was the type of close and jovial relationship that `Abd Allah and the Prophet had with each other.

It remains to be said that `Abdullah was an alcoholic. He would often become so drunk that he had to be brought staggering through the streets before the Prophet (peace be upon him) to be sentenced for public drunkenness, and each time, the Prophet would rule to have the prescribed punishment carried out. This was a common occurrence.

After `Abd Allah had departed from one of these all too frequent sentencings, one of the Companion’s declared about `Abd Allah: “O Allah curse him! How often he is summoned for this!”

The Prophet (peace be upon him): rebuked that Companion, saying: “Do not curse him, for I swear by Allah, if you only knew just how very much indeed he loves Allah and His Messenger.” [Sahîh al-Bukhârî (6282)] He then added: “Do not help Satan against your brother.”

We can learn a lot from the Prophet’s attitude.

We should reflect first upon the close and affectionate relationship this Companion enjoyed with the Prophet (peace be upon him), in spite of this Companion’s shameful fault. Though the Prophet (peace be upon him) was who he was, it did not prevent him from relating to `Abd Allah in a familiar manner, of being his friend, and joking with him.

This shows us that in the society envisioned by the Prophet (peace be upon him) people were not segregated into the pious and the sinners, with social interactions debarred between the two groups. Rather, it was a unified, inclusive society, where each person could be at a different level of piety. Some were at the forefront of righteousness, some were moderately pious, while others were prone to fall into sin. However, no one lived aloof from society, nor was anyone shunned. Everyone remained part of society.

This inclusiveness meant that when some members of society fell into error, the effects of their mistakes were limited and short-lived. No one was marginalized, so there was no chance sinfulness to grow on society’s “fringes”. When anyone made a mistake, there was no end of brotherly support from others in society who were more than willing to lend a helping hand and get that person back on track.

Another lesson the Prophet’s conduct shows us is the importance of maintaining a positive outlook. In spite of the fact that `Abd Allah was frequently being summoned before the Prophet (peace be upon him) for public drunkenness, the Prophet drew everyone’s attention to one of Abd Allah’s positive qualities – that he loved Allah and His Messenger. Yet, when we think about this particular quality, we find that it was not something unique for `Abd Allah, but a quality that all believers have in common. Nevertheless, the Prophet (peace be upon him) chose to praise `Abd Allah for this reason. In doing so, the Prophet could cultivate, encourage, and strengthen this quality in everyone. He also reminded them that if someone slips up, that person’s faith and love of Allah is still intact.

We can imagine how `Abd Allah must have felt when he learned that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said this about him. He must certainly felt it as an immense honor to have Allah’s Messenger declare this about him. It served to help him overcome his bad habit and gave him hope, by confirming that his essential being was not permanently marred by the mistakes.

It was the Prophet’s way to point out the good qualities of those who sinned and fell into error. We sometimes forget this, and treat past sins as impenetrable barriers to future good. A person who commits a shameful deed is never allowed to live it down, but is instead often remembered only for that sin. We need to realize that this helps Satan to avail upon the sinner and get that person to sin again. The Prophet’s approach, by contrast, inspires virtue. When reminded of `Abd Allah’s frequent drunkenness, he boasted of that man’s possessing the greatest virtue of loving Allah and His Messenger.

Finally, `Abd Allah had done something that was clearly wrong. There can be no doubt that `Abd Allah committed a sin. Imbibing intoxicants is a major sin, and the Prophet (peace be upon him) had often cursed wine. Nevertheless, after the Prophet had the prescribed sentence carried out upon `Abd Allah for his public drunkenness, he did not seek anything further against him. He saw any further reprimand to be helping Satan against the man. Rather, he turned everyone’s attention to his merits that compensate for his shortcomings.

This should give us pause, when we consider how harshly we sometimes behave in our disagreements with others whose transgressions are far less serious or certain than `Abd Allah’s were. Sometimes, it is merely our opinion that someone has done something wrong and the matter is really open to other points of view, but we still have no hesitations about railing against our opponents with everything in our verbal arsenal. How far this is from the example set by the Prophet (peace be upon him), who when faced with a person committing an obvious sin, still found it better to speak good about that person. He still kept up his good relationship with that person, despite his shortcomings.

The Prophet’s conduct with `Abd Allah is an excellent example for us, full of valuable lessons regarding not only how we should treat one another, but how society can foster social bonds that are strong, wholesome, and nurturing, bonds which can serve to dissuade people from falling into sin.

[Islam Today]

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Some Unseen Events Which the Messenger صلى الله عليه وسلم Prophesied and Which Occured After His Demise

1. The leader of the truthful, the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, “There will constantly be a group from my Umma holding fast to the matter of Allah. They will not be harmed by those who abandon them, nor by those who oppose them. This will remain their condition until the decree of Allah arrives” (Bukhari, Muslim).

The “matter of Allah” refers to matters of religion, including preservation of His Book, knowledge of the Sunna, deriving juridical rulings from them [for issues that arise], fighting in His path [to protect the faith], acting in sincerity towards his creation, and, in general, preserving His every command. “Decree of Allah” implies their death and departure from this world or, according to some commentators the Last Day (Mirqat al-mafatih 10:653). Regarding the actual identity of the “group,” there are a number of opinions. Imam Ahmed ibn Hanbal states, “If these are not scholars of hadith then I do not know who they are.” However, the more inclusive opinion is that the hadith does not refer to any one group in particular, but, as Imam Nawawi states, a host of individuals from every religious activity and group–scholars of hadith, commentators of the Qur’an, teachers of sacred knowledge, fighters in the path of Allah, worshipers, ascetics, etc. He states that all these individual could exist throughout the world or a few from them in some parts of the world. It is also possible that only some remain in one part of the world until a time comes when none will remain, and it is then that the “decree of Allah” [i.e., the Last Day] will come (Fath al-Bari 3:3271). [A] Such groups of people will always remain in this world in order to preserve the various teachings and practices of Islam until it is the will of Allah. “But Allah will complete His light, even though the unbelievers may detest (it)” (Qur’an 61:8).

(Shaykh `Ashiq Ilahi al-Bulandshehri, Zad al-Talibin, translation & commentary by `Abdur-Rahman ibn Yusuf and published by White Thread Press, as Provisions for the Seekers, p.114)

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On Arrogance, Humbleness, and Inferiority Complex

By Khalid Baig

It has been called ummul-amradh, or the root of all sicknesses of the heart. Prophet Muhammad, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam, warned that a person having even an iota of it in his heart will never enter paradise. This deadliest of all sins is kibr, or arrogance.

No one likes arrogance — in others. We never like a person who is haughty, too proud, or condescending. We detest a person who belittles us and has a huge ego. Similarly we love people who are humble, polite, and easy to talk to. We love people who give us respect and honor. Thus if we follow the principle of treating others the way we like to be treated, most of these problems might be cured. In reality, the treatment of ummul-amradh requires a deeper look.

For that we need to appreciate the difference between adab or manners, on the one hand and akhlaq or morals on the other. While adab deal with one’s external disposition, akhlaq as defined by Islam deal with our inner thoughts, feeling, and attitudes. In a healthy personality, the manners and morals are in harmony. But it is also possible to have the former without having the latter. The first concerns itself with how a person deals with others. The second is concerned with what a person thinks of himself. Two persons showing humbleness in their dealings with others, may have exactly opposite ideas in their minds. One may do it out of his or her “generosity”; the other may do it because he genuinely thinks that he is not better than the other person. The first person only has a shell of humbleness, which will crumble when tested. It is the second person who is really free of arrogance.

Real greatness belongs only to Allah, our Lord, Creator, and Master. Human beings are just a creation of Allah — and a very small creation in comparison to the unimaginably vast universe. Anyone who understands this will realize that our proper status is only that of servants of Allah. In fact for a Muslim the real human model is none other than Prophet Muhammad, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam, who is the greatest of all human beings. His greatness lies in being the humblest of all servants of Allah! It is impossible for any person who has this consciousness to entertain any notions of his own greatness.

This leads us to the definition of kibr, given in a famous hadith: “Kibr is to knowingly reject Truth and to belittle other people.” This hadith exposes two strains of this deadly disease, both dealing with our exaggerated ideas of self-importance. The first suggests that I am more important than the Truth. The second suggests that I am more important than other people.

We know about the Quraish and Jews of Arabia who had come in contact with Prophet Muhammad, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam, and who knew in the heart of their hearts that he indeed was the Messenger of Allah. Their arrogance, though, kept them from accepting it. History has recorded statements from some of them who said we know he is the Promised Prophet but we will keep on opposing him to maintain our leadership.

While that was the most blatant form of arrogance, we can witness the same attitude on a smaller scale in our discussions and arguments. A person realizes that he was wrong, but then his pride keeps him from admitting it. No matter how polite or “humble” that person may appear to be ordinarily, this test shows the presence of arrogance in his heart. It is arrogance that keeps a person from saying “I am sorry.”

The second strain involves our feeling of superiority with respect to other people. Islam’s teaching is that one should never consider oneself greater than other people, because that Judgment will come from Allah, and Allah alone, on the Day of Judgment. None of us knows what our end will be, whether we will end up being a winner or loser over there. The person who appears to be nobody here may end up with eternal bliss because of his goodness that only Allah knew. The person who is a big shot here may end up among the sinners who will be punished there, because of his evil that only Allah knew. How foolish, it is then to congratulate ourselves over our fleeting “superiority”.

What if a person does have edge over another person in measurable worldly terms? How then can he not consider himself superior than the other person in that respect? The point is sometimes made in half jest: it is difficult to be humble when you are so great. Islam does not ask us to reject reality and imagine we don’t have what we really do. Rather it asks us to take a deeper look at the reality and not be misled by a superficial perception of it. And the simple reality that escapes many is that our health, wealth, talents, and power are not of our own creation. God gave those to us as a test and He can take them back whenever He wills. Those who are conscious of this reality, their blessings will produce gratitude in them; those who are blind to it will develop pride and arrogance.

Some forms of kibr are subtle. If a person is embarrassed to bow to Allah in the presence of non-believers, that is a case of “kibr in the face of Allah,” says Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanvi.

While throughout history humanity had agreed on the evil of arrogance and the virtue of humbleness (despite its failures in practice), this century has seen new dogmas that aim at changing the definitions of good and evil. Humbleness is no longer desirable. Rather, one has to avoid “Inferiority Complex.” Alfred Adler (1870-1937) gave us that term. According to him, life is a continuous struggle to move from a position of inferiority to a position of significance. Those who fail to make the progress, develop inferiority complex, which can be treated by increasing self-esteem. Unfortunately today such pseudo-science is accepted as gospel truth.

The truth is that problems arise when we turn away from reality. A humble person is a happy, content, grateful person who thanks God for his blessings and has no notions of his own superiority. False notions of superiority or of one’s entitlements in life, on the other hand, lead to frustrations and complexes.


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Anger Management – How to Express Anger Healthily

The world can be an unfair place at times, with people seemingly conspiring to make your life difficult. When people do something to annoy you ‘losing it’ and venting your fury might seem like a good way of sticking up for yourself. But constantly losing your temper at the merest slight is only going to harm your relationships with work colleagues, friends and family, as well as your health.

Getting angry can be a healthy response when you need to assert your rights. But there’s a difference between healthy anger and the destructive rages that are accompanied by the uncomfortable feeling you’re always at war with the world.

Healthy anger vs destructive rage

Anger is a natural human emotion. And it can be useful when you need to spur yourself into action to solve a problem. But anger becomes unhealthy when it turns into verbal or physical abuse, hatred for other people and your thoughts turn to plotting revenge.

The reasons why you might react in either way are not because of what someone has said or done. But the way in which you have interpreted it.

As with the symptoms of social anxiety, unhealthy anger is driven by unhelpful, inaccurate thoughts. So the trick is to identify what they are and change them.

Why you get mad

There are common reasons why people get mad:

  • Someone breaks your personal rules about how they should think or behave e.g. pushing in front of you in a cue
  • Someone threatens your self esteem by being abusive or trying to humiliate you
  • Frustration when you’re blocked from achieving one of your aims e.g. one of the kids spills juice on your shirt making you late for work

Whilst these things have every right to annoy you, anger management is about controlling how you react by having a more flexible attitude to other people.

Unhealthy anger comes from unhelpful thinking

One of the unhelpful thought processes associated with social anxiety is that of rigid thinking, in which you think that you and other people must behave in a certain way to be acceptable. For example, you might think other people must be polite to you otherwise they’re a jerk. Rigid ways of thinking means that when people fail to reach your high standards of behaviour you feel you’re justified in getting mad.

The problem with rigid thinking is that the world isn’t always fair and other people have their own ideas about how they should behave. Whilst screaming at people because they’ve broken your rules might make you feel better in the short-term, the habit of ‘losing it’ at the slightest mishap is only going to push people away.

Learn to be flexible and have preferences instead of demands

Instead of living by a rigid set of rules that other people must abide by, you need to develop a more flexible attitude that accepts other people’s weaknesses. Think of your standards of behaviour as preferences, rather than demands written in stone.

Appreciate the fact that people are sometimes rude, selfish and make mistakes. If someone pushes in front if you in a cue instead of screaming obscenities at them try to think of their inconsiderate behaviour as reflection of their values and not a personal slight against you.

Remember that it’s not other people who make you lose your temper in an unhealthy way, but the way in which you interpret their behaviour.

Use your anger to assert yourself, rather than self-detonate

If someone is rude or inconsiderate then it’s fine to get angry. But you need to learn how to direct your anger in a more objective way.

Anger can be healthy when it’s used to kick you into action to resolve a problem or to assert yourself in a disagreement.

Assertion is ensuring your opinions and feelings are considered by others. Assertion is not threatening, being insulting or trying to shout the loudest. It’s being able to verbally negotiate to resolve problems in an objective manner that takes your needs and opinions into consideration.

Assertion is ensuring your needs and opinions are considered by others

When you sense the red mist descending try to take a deep breath, count to ten and allow yourself time to objectively assess the situation.

Rather than bawling and stamping your feet, you’ll get more of what you want out of situations if you use negotiation to resolve a problem. Effective negotiation comes from being able to empathise with the other person, seeing the world through their eyes and understanding what has caused them to behave in a manner that has got you annoyed.

When negotiating a solution point out your problem tactfully, empathise by agreeing with what they have to say, compliment them if necessary and then repeat your request firmly.

So for example:

You’re in a crowded restaurant. You’re starting to feel impatient at the time it’s taking to get served and think the waiters are ignoring you. Instead of getting angry, tactfully tell a waiter that you’ve been waiting a long time and would like to be served. If they say they’re busy, compliment them on how popular the restaurant is and then repeat your request politely but firmly. You’ll find that listening and sounding considerate will be a lot more effective than telling them what a useless job they’re doing.

Resolving a problem through assertive negotiation is obviously a much healthier outcome then trading verbal and physical blows.

Anger management can help you be assertive and boost your self esteem

Anger management is about learning to control your anger in a healthy way: through assessing situations objectively, thinking how to solve the problem and using negotiation to assert yourself.

Learning to be more flexible and using negotiation instead of getting mad takes a lot of practice. But the emotional growth from learning how to use your anger to resolve life’s frustrations in a healthy way will improve your relationships with the people around you, and boost your self esteem as a result.

From: Overcoming Social Anxiety

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Filed under Character, Islam, Religion, Tasawwuf

Make sure their Belief is Correct

by Abu Abdullah Ibne Ismail

“Through reading a book the reader develops a certain attachment to the writer of the book. Similar is the case with lectures.

Therefore before reading any book or listening to any lecture one needs to ensure that the author or the speaker’s beliefs are correct.

This is because by reading or listening once one will be inclined to read or listen to more. Thus one may begin to learn much which is contrary to the Qur’aan and hadeeth.”

From: In Shaykh’s Company

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Filed under Aqidah/Belief, Islam, Religion, Seeking knowledge