Choose to be Different! - RUMAH QURAN Network

06 September 2007

Choose to be Different!

Muslim youth face the same problems as any other youth plus more. The teen years are a time of many changes in your life: physical, emotional, psychological and social changes. All these changes are happening to you at the same time. You can become moody, depressed, unsure of yourself and frustrated by all these competing emotions and changes in your life. You might become angry and rebel against these pressures. You might have lots of arguments with your parents and feel like they don’t understand you. How do you deal with all of these changes???

On top of all these changes, as a Muslim youth living in the west, you feel pressured to be like everyone else. You worry about other kids liking you and you really want to fit in. You might fall into some bad habits like smoking, cursing, cheating, stealing, drinking, drugs, etc. just to act cool and be accepted as a part of the group. There are many activities you aren’t allowed to participate in such as school dances, proms, and dating. As a Muslim, you know these things are wrong but you feel alienated and lonely when you can’t participate. Sometimes it’s hard to find other Muslim friends and you feel isolated and depressed. What do you do???

The changes in your life are making you crazy, your parents don’t understand you, it’s hard to find good friends and you don't have a social life: It's time to think hard and make some choices!

Realize everybody else your age is facing all these same problems even if their lives look perfect to you. You don't know how they are feeling inside or what problems they are dealing with in their lives. They are probably feeling just as confused, depressed, angry or messed up as you feel. Take time out and have a nice long talk with Allah (swt) about everything going on in your life. Life is about choices. You can choose to be happy or choose to be miserable. Sometimes it just takes getting into practice of choosing to look at the positives instead of the negatives in your life.

Talk to your parents and keep communication open no matter how mad you get at them. Talk with other family members (an older brother or sister is a good place to start) teachers, Imam, youth leaders, etc. Believe it or not, they were all kids once and they understand how you are feeling. They can give you some good advice.

Choose your friends carefully. Don’t make close friends of those who would make fun of your faith or your family. After all, both of these are an important part of who you are. Be true to yourself instead of trying to be like others. Choose friends who share your same interests, who will listen to you and support you and who want to make good choices in life. Even if you don’t copy the bad behavior of those who make bad choices, you will be judged by the company you keep. Choose to be different!

Live your faith. Be true to yourself and to your beliefs. Why do you think being different from others is too hard to do? Allah (swt) is real, and loves you. Allah (swt) knows all your weaknesses and struggles. If all those around you are giving in to bad choices, you can choose to be different! It won’t be easy at first. It takes a lot of courage and determination to be different and go against the crowd but anything worthwhile in life takes effort. Do you get a good grade on your exam without studying? Do you become a good athlete without intensive training? Do you have a good relationship with your friends without really working at it? All of these take hard work and effort on your part. Choose to make an effort to be different!

Try to have an Islamic focus to all your activities, help others and truly live your beliefs. When you put your focus on helping others and making a difference to them then your own problems seem trivial in comparison. Every single person has something special to contribute no matter how small it may seem. Make yourself the one who is different; the one the others want to imitate. Choose to make a difference!

Check out some of the ways you can make a difference:

Get involved at your school, your masjid, and your community.

Smile; be polite and kind to everyone. (Even the snobby, mean kids)

Listen; be supportive and not judgmental of others.

Talk about your faith to your friends. (Encourage friends to ask Allah's help during tests, exams, and in dealing with problems.)

If your school doesn’t have a MSA, find out how you can start one!

If your masjid doesn’t have a youth group, get involved and help to start one!

Get involved in some kind of volunteer work no matter how small it may seem.

Nobody ever said being a teen and a Muslim was easy. It’s not easy to resist peer pressure, to be teased for being different, to feel lonely and left out. It’s really hard to always do your best despite whatever hardships and struggles comes your way. Next time you are feeling sad, lonely, or depressed turn to Allah (swt). Allah (swt) knows you better than you know yourself. You will be amazed at the strength and courage you gain from sharing everything with Allah (swt). The decision belongs to you. You can choose to sink or swim, to strive or give up, to waste your life or make a difference in the lives of others. Choose to be different!

Contributed by: hana_happiness

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