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To be old and wise, you must first be young and stupid. - Unknown

Once you've accepted your flaws no one can use them against you. - George R.R. Martin

To know oneself, one should assert oneself. - Camus

It takes twenty years to become an overnight success. - Eddie Cantor

Make them scratch their head this year. Don't be afraid to be amazing. - Tony Gaskins

“If you can’t communicate and talk to other people and get across your ideas, you’re giving up your potential.” – Warren Buffet #

"A successful self-publisher must fill three roles: Author, Publisher, and Entrepreneur—or APE."

Those who are not courageous enough to take risks will accomplish nothing in life. - Muhammad Ali

If you are not willing to risk the usual you will have to settle for the ordinary. ―Jim Rohn

Whatever life gives you, even if it hurts, just be strong & act like you’re okay. Strong walls shake, but never collapse.

You are the one who teaches other people how to treat you. What do you teach? - Chalene Johnson

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Why is it so hard for me to tell you that every time you look at me with those soft brown eyes I get a rushing sensation that contradicts my melting heart. And when you wrap your arms around me I’ve never felt so safe.

… symptoms [of depression] were generally lost in reverse order… the first off were the last on, and vice versa… because different people acquire symptoms in different orders, what symptoms predominate during thenimprovement period varies radically.

A fascinating fact found in The Depths by Jonathan Rottenberg, page 155

The difference between between humans and machines? Humans make mistakes, but machines do not. The ability to make mistakes is what makes us human, it is what enables us to connect and to have relationships. Making mistakes gives rise to forgiveness, to sympathy, to compassion, to being incomplete and in need of others. What a blessing it is to be created imperfect and vulnerable!

It is part of a wise man, I say, to refresh and restore himself in moderation with pleasant food and drink, with scents, with the beauty of green plants, with decoration, music, sports, the theater, and other things of this kind, which anyone can use without injury to another. For the human body is composed of a great many parts of different natures, which constantly require new and varied nourishment, so that the whole body may be equally capable of all the things which can follow from its nature, and hence, so that the mind also may be equally capable of understanding many things at once.
—  Baruch Spinoza, Ethics, IVP45S

It’s so easy to lose momentum towards the end of Ramadan. You may feel discouraged because you were unable to reach your goals. You may feel exhausted from the few hours of sleep and hectic schedule. You may even feel disappointed that you didn’t make the changes you wanted in yourself.

Don’t worry…just keep at it.

It’s tempting to give up and throw in the towel feeling defeated, but it’s all about how you finish the race that counts. You may have had a slow start or no start- that’s ok. Make a commitment right now that you will seize these last 10 days inshaAllah.

Do as little or as much as you can - just keep moving in the right direction. Feel happy with those moments of connection and build your spiritual muscle one worship at a time. Remember to gain the reward of having the best character with each person you meet.

Haleh Banani

What you need to remember, with these guys, is that they don’t know they’re con men. They’re wildly overconfident. Omnipotence, omniscience–that’s part of the mythology that surrounds the Special Forces….Your guy can walk in the door and promise training in something he personally doesn’t know how to do, and not even realize he’s bullshitting about his own capabilities. It’s a special kind of gullibility….
—  William Gibson, Zero History
What do you think of the Count of Monte Cristo?

“I think he is a charming man, a wonderful host, someone who has seen a lot, studied a lot, thought a lot, who belongs, like Brutus, to the Stoic school, and -” he added, allowing a voluptuous puff of smoke to escape from his lips and spiral up towards the ceiling, “someone who, in addition to all that, has the most excellent cigars.”

“But, have you noticed something unusual?”

“What’s that?”

How closely he looks at you.

Hyped-up views of sexuality and the obsession with looking attractive to the opposite sex have taken over the world. Contoured cheeks and jawlines, perfect bodies, smooth and silky hair, acne-free faces- and very very unrealistic standards of beauty dominate our minds and our conversations.

They’re ruining lives, they’re forcing teens to take their lives, they’re forcing others to starve themselves, harm their bodies. The craze of being appealing makes people do outrageous things. And because of this we have become part of a world where we are judged because of our appearances, where we are questioned and looked down upon if we don’t meet the so-called standards of society. This is harming us. It’s harming relationships, it’s harming mental and emotional health. It’s harming our self-esteem, our self-worth.

No matter what we think and feel, we can’t deny the fact that notions of beauty have changed greatly. To ignore the issue would be like living a lie but to accept it and work around it, it’s required and needed.

We’ve created a culture where purity of heart, simplicity, kindness, sincerity and intelligence come secondary. How ironic. There was a time when people were praised for their honesty, for their achievements and for their sincerity. Not for their sense of style or the quality of their skin. Dark circles weren’t ridiculed, they were seen as signs of sleepless nights of hard work. Women who didn’t have the ‘pregnancy glow’ and instead had discolouration and pigmentation because of the hormonal changes were as normal as those who had glowing skin.

But everything is different now. And if we’re not doing anything about it, we’re agreeing to a culture which is slowly going to take away everything from us that makes us human.

Every word you utter, every comment you make, every moment you breathe, work to challenge and question these unhealthy norms and values.

Don’t give in.

Look beyond superficial appearances.

Because you are more than that.

Hira Zubair

Dear struggling soul, this is my prayer for you:

May every trial you face in this confusing world be a means for you to draw closer to your Creator in this world and in the Hereafter.

If your heart is hurting or breaking, may He heal it and grant you tranquility and peace. If you are battling loneliness and are longing for companionship, may He grant you a soul companion who will be a comfort and a mercy to you in this world and your companion in Paradise.

If you have suffered loss and have no idea how you’ll go on, may He grant you better than you lost and reunite you with the believers amongst His beloved in this world and in the Hereafter.

If you are battling spiritual confusion, emptiness, or frustration, may He gift you with the light of emaan, make the coolness of your eye the Salaah, and make the spring of your heart the Qur’an until you meet Him.

And for those heartfelt prayers that you’ve whispered to Him on the edge of desperation, tears in your eyes, begging of His bounty and mercy, may He grant you what your heart desires—and may He grant you better than the best you could hope for or imagine.

And may your last days be the best of your life, your last deeds your best deeds, and your best day the Day you meet Ar-Rahmaan.

And dear struggling soul, may the Most Merciful write you down amongst those whom He loves, announcing your name above the heavens and commanding the angels to love you as He loves you, until love of you is placed in the hearts of His believers on earth.

from the journal of Umm Zakiyyah