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IslamQA: How to be forgiving and mentally stronger

Assalamualaikum. Sorry to bother you but I think I really need to type this out. My heart has been so heavy lately. I feel like I am always the after thought with my friends (I am always made fun off and I always feel like the extra person) Maybe because I make it so easy. And family problems have also got me so down. And I feel lost and stuck. Do you have any advice on how I can be mentally stronger and not so sensitive all the time? How do I forgive my friends? Thank you for reading this.

Alaikumassalam wa rahmatullah,

It is in the nature of this world to constantly throw difficulties, challenges and distractions in our way that keep us out of balance. Many people’s lives are made of short periods in which their life feels happy and meaningful separated by long periods of boredom and discontent. It is possible to escape this cycle by attaching your heart to God rather than to the world. But the problem is that this is easier said than done. Even if you hang half a dozen signs throughout your home that say “Attach your heart to God, not to the world”, this reminder by itself will have no power to create the reality of being attached to God rather than to the world.

Attaching your heart to God requires daily work, skipping this work for just a few days is sufficient to put you back in the world’s cycle of ups and downs. I describe how to achieve the state of being attached to God in my essay: God has not abandoned you

About the questions you asked regarding family problems, being mentally stronger and being able to forgive your friends, if you have spent an hour last night in tahajjud and Quran-reading as I describe in the above essay, then the next day it becomes much easier to remain serene and free of negative emotions toward people regardless of what happens and what they do. Being attached to God means that your ego stops being a factor in your interactions with others, and this makes it extremely easy to be kind and forgiving toward those who are mean to you, and this in turn causes a virtuous cycle as people start to like you more and trust you more for your kind and forgiving nature. The Quran says:

Good and evil are not equal. Repel evil with good, and the person who was your enemy becomes like an intimate friend. (The Quran, verse 41:34)

For an egotistic person whose heart is attached to the worldly life, it is nearly impossible to respond to meanness with kindness. But for someone whose heart is attached to God and whose ego has been subdued, this requires no effort at all, it becomes second nature to them.

You may also like my essay: The Road to Maturity: On Dealing with Life’s Unsolvable Problems

Best wishes inshaAllah.

And God knows best.
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