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What is Ihsan(DW# 802)

ihsan mindfulness quran Sep 22, 2020
Yesterday we started our discussion on verse 16:90 of the Quran where it says:
 
Indeed Allah enjoins justice (Adl) and kindness (Ihsanand generosity towards relatives, and He forbids indecency, wrong, and aggression. He advises you, so that you may take admonition.
 
Yesterday we talked about the first injunction in this verse, which was that of Adlor justice, a foundation of a healthy family and society.
Today, let us explore second injunction of the verse, that of Ihsan.
 
The Arabic word Ihsanis rather challenging to translate into English. It is derived from the root word h-s-n which appears almost 200 times in the Quran in many derived forms. Some of these are ahsana ("does good"), ahsanu ("is best"),  husnan ("good") and al muhsineen ("the good doers").

 

The word Ihsanis a verb which means to do or to establish what is good and beautiful. It is often translated as virtue or excellence but one...
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The pursuit and practice of Ihsan(DW#801)

behaviour ihsan quran Sep 21, 2020
This year for the Muharram lectures, we focused our discussions on "The Pursuit and Practice of Ihsan". Over the next several weeks, I will be sharing some insights and wisdom from these discussions, many of which never made it to the lectures!

As always, our focus will be on commonalities, universal values and ethics which are shared by different faiths and cultures. We will also inshallah explore similar concepts in other traditions and throughout history with the aim of understanding that (conscious and enlightened) human beings throughout history have aimed towards the pursuit and practice of excellence and virtue.
 
The Quranic verse which we chose as our focusing theme is from Sura Nahl, chapter 16 of the Holy Quran (The Bee) where it says:
 
Indeed Allah enjoins justice (Adl) and kindness (Ihsan) and generosity towards relatives, and He forbids indecency, wrong, and aggression. He advises you, so that you may take admonition.[Holy Quran 16:90]
 
It is...
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How much do you value the relationship(DW# 800 )

As we end our series on apologies, I leave you with one final thought:
 
If we value our relationships, we need to learn to apologize effectively. When we apologize, we send a clear message that the other person matters to us. That our relationship with them is valuable enough that we will do what it takes to make amends for our poor behaviour without evasion, excuse making or blaming.
 
Sometimes the process of apologizing is less about insisting on justice and more about investing in the relationship and the other person’s happiness. It is also about having the maturity and emotional intelligence to apologize for our part even when the other person’s reactions seem exaggerated, or when they can’t see their own contribution to the problem.
 
Here is how Dr Lerner ends her book Why Won't You Apologize?: Healing Big Betrayals and Everyday Hurts:
 
Lead with your heart and not your attack dog. It’s difficult and it’s worth...
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Elements of a good apology(DW# 799)

Now that we have a good understanding of why apologies matter so much and how easily they can go wrong, let us explore what a good apology sounds like.
 
Researchers at various universities have found that the most compelling apologies include some or all of these elements:
 
§ An expression of regret
 
§ A statement of empathy for the pain caused
 
§ An explanation of what happened (not as an excuse!)
 
§ An acknowledgment of responsibility
 
§ A declaration of repentance
 
§ An offer of repair
 
§ A request for forgiveness
 
Their results suggest that if you’ve really messed up, you’ll do best if you use as many of these components as possible in your apology. However, the studies clearly showed that some of these components were much more important than others.
 
The researchers found that the single most important part of an apology is an...
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A gift to the relationship(DW# 798)

Relationships experts all agree on one thing: that no matter how evolved we are; we will mess up. Happy relationships are not those devoid of conflict, disagreement or hurt feelings. Even with the best of intentions, we will sometimes fail to live up to our best selves. There will be times that we are tired, stressed and will do and say things that we regret and things that hurt our loved ones.
 
The secret weapon of happy relationships then is not that these things do not happen. It is that people in happy relationships are really good at repairing when they make mistakes. Instead of being defensive, they are humble and recognize that they messed up. They own their mistakes, validate the hurt of their loved ones and learn to apologize effectively.
 
And so, a good apology is a gift to the relationship:
 
Two people can feel secure in the knowledge that if they behave badly, even fight terribly, they can repair the disconnection. We strengthen our relationships...
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A gift to ourselves(DW# 797)

Dr. Lerner explains that a good apology can restore our own self respect and also how much others respect us.  
 
Our self-respect and level of maturity rest squarely on our ability to see ourselves objectively, to take a clear-eyed look at the ways that our behavior affects others, and to acknowledge when we’ve acted at another person’s expense. The good apology also earns us respect in the eyes of others, even though we may fear the opposite.
 
I would add that although taking responsibility earns us respect in the eyes of others, the greater benefit is that we restore our own self respect and self esteem.
 
When our conscience is pricking because we have harmed someone, it is so easy to try and make ourselves feel better by trying to avert the blame from ourselves and onto the other person. This does NOT work. We may distract ourselves in the short term but it comes at enormous spiritual and emotional cost.
 
The path to apologizing may...
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The gift of a sincere apology(DW# 796)

We have talked at length about how apologies can easily go wrong and fail to make amends for our slips and mistakes.
 
Now let us look at what does make a good apology and why it matters.
 
Harriet Lerner puts it so well:
 
"I’m sorry" are the two most healing words in the English language. When they are spoken as part of a wholehearted apology, these words are the greatest gift we can give to the person we have offended. Our apology can help free the hurt person from life-draining anger, bitterness, and pain. It validates their sense of reality by affirming that, yes, their feelings make sense, we get it, and we take full responsibility for our words and actions (or our failure to speak or act). A heartfelt apology allows the hurt party the space to explore the possibilities of healing instead of just struggling to make sense of it all.
 
Isn’t that so powerful?
 
It is true that the hurt person has their own journey of forgiveness and...
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Have the last laugh(DW# 795)

As we conclude the series on emotional abuse, let us just remind ourselves that regardless of other people’s behaviour, we can still choose how to respond to it.
 
With support, with increased emotional awareness, by learning to identify and call out the gaslighting, we can learn to validate ourselves. When others challenge our perception, we can choose to ignore them. We can work against adopting the self-doubt that is so crippling in emotionally abusive tactics such as gaslighting. We can practice reminding ourselves that despite the challenges we are currently experiencing, we have the resources to emerge stronger.
 
Let us look at what happens in the last scene of the movie Gaslight:
 
Paula, realizing that her husband Gregory has been manipulating her and intentionally trying to drive her crazy, turns the tables on him. In the final scene, Gregory has been caught and tied to a chair by police. When Paula enters the room, he instructs her to get a knife...
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Getting help(DW# 794)

feelings opinion selfgrowth Jul 09, 2020
Please know this: no matter what, the journey of healing from abuse can be long and challenging. AND there are some things that you can do to make it easier on yourself.
 
Please consider getting professional help if at all possible. On your own if you have to. Do not hold back because the person who "needs help" refuses to get it. There is a saying amongst the therapeutic community that people often seek out support in order to deal with people who refuse to! This saying is very relevant to a situation where you have been the victim of emotional abuse.
 
Victims of abuse often lose confidence in their own thoughts and feelings and find themselves nervously double-checking themselves on a regular basis. It can feel isolating and shameful. You may find it hard to share what you have been through even with close friends because you may begin to think that you should have known better. Or you may want to stay in the relationship while everyone you share your story with...
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Decide how you will manage this relationship(DW# 793)

Once you have had time to process the emotional abuse and taken stock of its cost to you and to your life, you will need to decide what to do about this relationship.

 

Take the time you need to do this. It is not a good idea to hurry the process. It is not a good idea to make significant life decisions or to end/leave relationships when you are at the peak of emotional distress.

 

Some relationships are easier to let go of than others, of course. If gaslighting or emotional abuse is a part of a work relationship or a relatively new friendship, it is easier to walk away than when it is from a close family member or a spouse.

 

Please know that there is no right or wrong answer here. It is up to you whether you choose to continue or end this relationship. Please remind yourself that it is your situation and that your decision is valid even if other people in your life do not agree with it.

 

Before you decide, here are some options to consider:

 

You can walk...
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