Withdraw from the opinions of people and seek to find the beauty in it all by exploring the truth yourself. If we allow the opinions and tainted excesses of others to shape our thinking, it is inevitable that we will feel suffocated and disheartened because excess goes against our nature, whereas what Allah has deemed fit for us is closest to our nature. Excess in anything, good or bad, will lead to more harm than good. Therefore, choose a path of moderation and awareness. 

Don’t be tainted by man and assume that they are a reflection of Allah. That is a flawed perspective on which to approach life. Instead, reflect on Allah and see the true nature of man. The more you seek closeness to Allah, the greater your success at understanding man. The more you understand man, the greater your appreciation of the magnificence of Allah. 

A Strange Incident

About a year ago, I was home one morning. It was an average morning. Normal clear blue African sky, with a scattering of clouds, and the early morning chill that usually lifts shortly after sunrise. But being South Africa, and being Johannesburg, this is all enjoyed within the confines of high walls, electric fence and burglar alarm systems. The perimeter wall around my yard is no exception.

I have electric fence all around, coupled with palisade spikes set in panels between solid brick pillars on the front wall, and for good measure, another security gate halfway down the driveway to separate the front of the yard from the back of the yard, also with palisade spikes forming the security gate. So it was particularly surprising on this ordinary morning that I found a pristinely clean husky dog in my backyard. 

As can be seen from my above description, the only way into this section of the yard would have been to jump over the electric fence, which would have triggered the alarm, or creep through the gap between the electric fence and the palisade spikes, which would have seriously injured the dog given the sharp metal spikes at the top of the palisade. But this dog was without injury, and without collar. I walked towards it, and instead of it reacting in a defensive or threatening manner, it simply rolled onto its side and looked at me with those piercing blue eyes. As I approached it even closer, it remained calm, tilted its head to the side and continued looking straight at me without even a hint of threatening to attack me. In return, I didn’t feel the slightest bit threatened or in danger.

After a while I stood up and walked back into the house and continued watching him from my window. He calmly walked over to the flower bed under the tree in the backyard, went specifically to a spot where I had recently caught my maid burying some muti* from her sangoma**, urinated on that spot and then quite literally disappeared. I never saw that dog again. 

* muti is the African word for medicine, but is often used to refer to that of the dark arts. It is a common practice amongst the black population in South Africa

** sangoma is the African word for witch doctor, or traditional healer. There are good ones, and there are bad ones. And the bad ones are often visited by house maids who are generally from the black communities in South Africa (legacy of apartheid). They tend to get their muti in the hope that it will help them keep their job, especially when they know they’re at risk of losing it because of poor performance. Again, a common practice in South Africa.

The believers, both men and women, are allies of one another. They enjoin good, forbid evil, establish Prayer, pay Zakah, and obey Allah and His Messenger. Surely Allah will show mercy to them. Allah is All-Mighty, All-Wise

Qur’an – 9:71

Top 10 Myths About ‘Introverts’

Top 10 Myths about Introverts

Myth #1 – Introverts don’t like to talk. This is not true. Introverts just don’t talk unless they have something to say. They hate small talk. Get an introvert talking about something they are interested in, and they won’t shut up for days.

Myth #2 – Introverts are shy. Shyness has nothing to do with being an Introvert. Introverts are not necessarily afraid of people. What they need is a reason to interact. They don’t interact for the sake of interacting. If you want to talk to an Introvert, just start talking. Don’t worry about being polite.

Myth #3 – Introverts are rude. Introverts often don’t see a reason for beating around the bush with social pleasantries. They want everyone to just be real and honest. Unfortunately, this is not acceptable in most settings, so Introverts can feel a lot of pressure to fit in, which they find exhausting.

Myth #4 – Introverts don’t like people. On the contrary, Introverts intensely value the few friends they have. They can count their close friends on one hand. If you are lucky enough for an introvert to consider you a friend, you probably have a loyal ally for life. Once you have earned their respect as being a person of substance, you’re in.

Myth #5 – Introverts don’t like to go out in public. Nonsense. Introverts just don’t like to go out in public FOR AS LONG. They also like to avoid the complications that are involved in public activities. They take in data and experiences very quickly, and as a result, don’t need to be there for long to “get it.” They’re ready to go home, recharge, and process it all. In fact, recharging is absolutely crucial for Introverts.

Myth #6 – Introverts always want to be alone. Introverts are perfectly comfortable with their own thoughts. They think a lot. They daydream. They like to have problems to work on, puzzles to solve. But they can also get incredibly lonely if they don’t have anyone to share their discoveries with. They crave an authentic and sincere connection with ONE PERSON at a time.

Myth #7 – Introverts are weird. Introverts are often individualists. They don’t follow the crowd. They’d prefer to be valued for their novel ways of living. They think for themselves and because of that, they often challenge the norm. They don’t make most decisions based on what is popular or trendy.

Myth #8 – Introverts are aloof nerds. Introverts are people who primarily look inward, paying close attention to their thoughts and emotions. It’s not that they are incapable of paying attention to what is going on around them, it’s just that their inner world is much more stimulating and rewarding to them.

Myth #9 – Introverts don’t know how to relax and have fun. Introverts typically relax at home or in nature, not in busy public places. Introverts are not thrill seekers and adrenaline junkies. If there is too much talking and noise going on, they shut down. Their brains are too sensitive to the neurotransmitter called Dopamine. Introverts and Extroverts have different dominant neuro-pathways. Just look it up.

Myth #10 – Introverts can fix themselves and become Extroverts. Introverts cannot “fix themselves” and deserve respect for their natural temperament and contributions to the human race. In fact, one study (Silverman, 1986) showed that the percentage of Introverts increases with IQ.

Finally someone that understands me! This is me to the last detail! I’m not weird. I can be defined. There’s hope yet.Seriously, this is so damn accurate. Can’t disagree with a single point. In the original article the first comment is by someone that suggests that this guy (original writer) may have aspergers or autism. All I can say is, ‘Crap!’. Being an introvert is a natural disposition of someone that has less time for pointless banter and is more interested in understanding why things are the way they are and why people do the things they do. Seeking social acceptance is not the objective of the life of an introvert. As it states above, they’re more about substance than they are about image.

I’m losing myself

Acceptance. I’m pretty much screwed without it. No amount of affirmation, gratitude or inclusion will ever fill the gaping hole left by not being accepted for who I really am. Needing to pander to the dictates of others, or suppress my true nature from fear of ridicule leaves me wanting for life. I could easily be Charlie Chaplin or Jim Carrie if I felt confident enough to show my silly side. It’s often this silly side that makes me feel most human.

I have an underlying need on occasion to abandon decorum amongst those that I trust will not use that moment of surrender as a yardstick against which to measure me. Moments like that would make me feel so much more wholesome. But I do not see any that I can trust in this way any longer.

It’s not possible to live a life of perpetual pompous parades of good etiquette or restrained manners every moment of my life. Such unnatural behaviour has turned me into the jaded bitter old man that I am. Realising the need for social order on one hand, but also knowing that if unrestrained I will probably be shunned. I am not as contradictory or hypocritical as I may sound right now. This surrender I desire is not a surrender of principles or ethics, nor morals or discipline. It’s simply a surrender of control and restraint in being able to express myself in the most natural and colourful way I am capable of. With dignity of course. Always with dignity.

I used to reduce many to stuttering, blubbering, gyrating, tearing, helpless bundles of laughter because of my antics and my humour, but I have no inclination nor motivation to express that side of me any more. I have no inclination for a life fully lived. The romantic notions I write about are lost concepts to my present being. Distant memories of a youth never lived. I am faced with a reality that spits in the face of my aspirations, and just saying that literally conjures up images in my head of venomous interactions of previous lives.

I am a recluse under construction. I do not fit in, nor do I aspire to any more. I despise the erosion of sincerity that I witness around me, and I refuse to play any part in it. I am not socially anxious, nor inept. Nor do I have a mental illness or disorder that predisposes me to this behaviour. My only shortcoming is that I expect more than people are willing to expose of themselves. Our embellished facades shall be protected to our very last breath. And I will protrude like a hernia against the six pack of a society that is obsessed with image but lacks substance.

What dreams may come…

Being in a somewhat melancholic mood today, it’s easy to slip into a daze about the what-if’s and the if-only’s of life. Disappointment is born when I see beauty denied, and regrets are born when I see beauty taken for granted, by me as well as others. I have healthy doses of both in my life, but neither is strong enough to taint my optimism for the future even though holding on to such optimism is getting to be quite a challenge on its own.

I’ve often said that I’m not built or designed to be alone. I have this aching desire to want to take care of someone, to share a life with her and to create an intimate space that is uniquely ours, built on every romantic notion I’ve ever harboured, and embellished with every ideal that I court. I want to prove to myself that a romantic life is still possible against the backdrop of horror that comprised the canvas of my life to this point. 

I still subscribe to the naive notion that if only a few days of absolute bliss, peace and consoling comfort is experienced in my last moments on this earth, it would render every heartache and every pain impotent. It will cause every regret and every disappointment to recede in humiliation, and will leave me with an eternal smile subtly formed at the corners of my lips when I take my last breath.

At the moment of my death I don’t want to smile only because the struggle is over. I want to smile because I was successful in proving to the world that despite their hypocrisy and insincerity, I was able to rise above it and still achieve my moment of bliss in spite of their efforts to dismiss me as a dreamer. I know it’s possible. But the fatal flaw in my plan is to find one with as much conviction as me to secure this dream that has been so elusive. But even in this I am optimistic that I will succeed in finding her. The one that will embrace my child-like tendencies, my romantic inclinations, my overbearing responsibility at times, and my overwhelming drive to achieve that which others mock in my aspirations. In return, she’ll enjoy nothing less from me.

Edit: This was my 800th post.