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Never Give Up: Day 4 of 365 Days of Love

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Never Give Up: Day 4 of 365 Days of Love

Welcome to 365 days of love! If you’ve been following the daily stories, welcome back! If this is your first time reading, amazing to have you and welcome! Here is the brief intro to what we are doing here, but essentially I (and hopefully you by sharing your stories) are sharing one story a day for the next year to show incredible ways we could meet the love of our life as well as share insights on the thing we all crave the most as humans - Love. Why? Because we want to be the people who invest in possibilities rather than impossibilities (as well as increase the amount of love in our lives).

Every story would fall in one of the following categories (the category in bold is the one that we will discuss today):

  1. Fictional story of where we could have met someone today (fostering the mindset of possibility)

  2. Factual story of a love story (inspiring us from real life stories

  3. Insights/thoughts about love

LETS SEE WHAT LOVE HAS IN STORE FOR US TODAY - DAY 4 OF 365 DAYS. LETS KICK THIS OFF!


In the past 4 days of launching 365 Days of Love I have received so many messages from both women and men telling me that they are about to give up on finding love. This was alarming to me on numerous levels as when you give up on something so major in life it becomes the start to giving up on many other things including yourself and what you my dear deserve. So the short answer to everyone who is thinking about giving up on love, don’t. Don’t do it.

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As in everything in life we will always be experiencing the ebbs and flows of life. As a practicing muslim I was taught that it is natural for our heart to contract and expand, where we experience days where our heart is so open and you feel so close to God. Then there are days where your heart is contracted and you wonder where did those feelings go. But the truth that i’ve been taught is that God is always with us, during our expansions and contractions and that no matter where we are in life, He is our constant.

This concept got me also thinking of Love. Where some times we are filled with it, feeling it from all angels from our family to friends to strangers, then on the other extreme we experience days where we feel no love and wonder if we are alone and if we will stay that way for a while or even forever.

My message to you is simple: Trust in life to give you what you deserve, trust in yourself that you are worth it and let it go knowing that something bigger than you will take care of you. It’s okay to have days where you are contracted and this is in fact if you see it with a different perspective a beautiful opportunity to take your attention inward. Take the days of contraction to identify what is it that is contracting your heart, to work on training yourself to be more centered, to work on loving yourself more and to push harder to see that love is truly all around us if only we see clearer.


My advice is when you feel your heart contracted, try the following (they have really helped me):

  1. Go into a room alone and take 10 deep breaths.

  2. Take another 10 more deep breaths where in every inhale you visualize breathing in love and fullness and when you exhale visualize breathing out any negative thoughts you have.

  3. Then imagine yourself as a child version of you. Remember how a child is filled naturally with love, how the natural self is meant to be curious, to fall a million times and get up typically without having scarred the inner self. Really feel that inner child and bring it back to life in your present day because children are truly a reminder of how we were meant to live life, without scars or negativity but rather with hope, light and love.

  4. Then with that child mindset go out and do something you’ve never done before. However small such as baking a new recipe or walking down a new road but go do something new. As you do it work hard on being present and try to train yourself not to think of other things (as adults do) but to be fully present in this one new thing (as a child does).

Wherever you are know that you are special, you are loved and that you are not alone. Never give up most importantly on yourself, love, and all the beautiful things that life has in store for you.



With Lots of Love,

Aida

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Women, Lets Build Our Self-Confidence

Today is Wednesday, September 26th 2018. Stop to take a moment to think when was the last time you looked at the mirror and said right now I look and feel so beautiful. Was it this morning as you were getting ready for your day? Was it yesterday? a week ago? or was it such a rare sentence you uttered to yourself that you don’t even remember?

I ask you because today I felt unbeautiful (ugly feels like too strong of a word to use). I hated that I cut my hair short, I looked at my body and found a million and one flaws in it. I even went to the bathroom’s mirror and looked at my face thinking: ugh why is my skin like this, why is my nose this big and the list goes on. I am sure countless women have done the same.

Imagine after a self-hate session (which is often mistaken as a self-improvement session) sitting down and looking at old photos of yourself when you were supposedly skinnier and younger. I found myself looking at pictures of only a year ago when I did a photoshoot for an online interview (read full interview here). I remembered that day feeling so self-conscious in those dresses and I remember telling my good friend and photographer, Megan to tell me if I looked fat and if my face looked ok. Point is I did not feel beautiful, but today when I look at the pictures (shown below) I say what an idiot I was for not feeling and seeing it, because damn it I am beautiful (and so are you beautiful reader).

Photo by Megan Won

Photo by Megan Won

All of a sudden it hit me, I have lost so many days not appreciating myself. I had no idea I was beautiful then, I didn’t see it or feel it. And today, with my short hair, my one year older self I still don’t know or feel beautiful. But that is not right and is definitely not sustainable.

Photo by Megan Won

Photo by Megan Won

Why do we put ourselves down so much? Wouldn’t life be much more beautiful if we enjoyed it while being comfortable in our own skin and feeling beautiful inside and out (without being egotistical about it)? I have seen too many incredible women, including myself standing up for other people and trying to show them that they are super women but most of us forget about the most important woman - our individual selves. Enough is enough.

We will always need to improve ourselves, always. But we need to start to learn how to better love ourselves in this beautiful, messy and rollercoaster of life. There is nothing wrong in seeing yourself as beautiful. God after all has created you. As the Prophet Muhammad in Islam says:

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To end this blog post I leave you with some practical things you may do if you have the same problem as me. For any problem I face I analyze and solve it with the same 3 ingredients: Looking into my thoughts, words and actions. Nothing is neutral in life and every thought, word and action you have is either taking you closer to something positive or away from it. So in our topic of today of seeing yourself as beautiful and building your self-confidence, below are some things I will be personally working on and I truly hope it helps you too:

  • Early-morning: As soon as I wake up I am going to take a few minutes to express and feel gratitude for being alive, for having the basics I need, for having a body, being able to speak and get out of bed.

  • Morning: Take 5 minutes to stretch but this will be no ordinary stretching. This will be stretching with awareness, gratitude and love. As I stretch my legs I want to really feel them, feel their ability to move and look at them with love. I want to be aware of the tiny devilish thoughts of: Aida your thighs are so big, you need to run more. I want to turn the thought into: Aida your legs are beautiful and we will work on making the more beautiful through running and honoring this body.

  • Mid-day: Go to the bathroom and just say I love you, you are beautiful. then repeat and said I love you, I am beautiful. I started with you because it feels awkward to say I am beautiful to myself immediately so I will work its way in slowly.

  • Night: As I clean my face from the day’s dust, I will clean it with the emotion of pride. Pride in the sense of being proud of my accomplishments of the day, proud of being brave enough to have gone out and put myself out there, and proud of working on loving myself more and more every single day. I aim to ending the day with committing to trying harder tomorrow which means loving myself a bit more and hopefully unconsciously giving women more permission to love themselves more every day.

With Love,

Aida

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Podcast Interview with Middle East Collective

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Podcast Interview with Middle East Collective


Thankfully in the past years I have had hundreds of interviews but nothing was as beautiful, meaningful and comfortable as this one. In these 48 minutes we talk about the power of activism, value-based living, love, art, religion, healing and refugee integration. 

I hope you enjoy listening to this as much as I did being part of it. Thank you for taking from your valuable time and tuning in. 

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