Young Muslim Sisters

By the youth, for the youth

#LikeAMirror: Project Positivity Reflection

By: Musbha Chuddry | NJ 

When we are young, the smallest of things make us happy, whether it’s chocolate ice cream or getting a new toy. As we get older, this happiness diminishes and we are plagued with the world’s darkness.  The smallest of things don’t make us happy anymore and we seek bigger accomplishments to feel this happiness. When we end up achieving these accomplishments, somehow we manage to ruin it by thinking of things that put us down. We yearn for happiness so much, that when we do get it, we don’t let it last or we drill the negativity so much into our brains that it becomes the only thing we can focus on. Why is that? Why is happiness short-lived and sadness feels like it lasts for eternity?! We let negativity seep into our lives so easily and quickly but positivity seeps in too slowly and we push it out of our lives extra fast.  It’s also ironic how it’s easy to be negative but it takes more effort to be positive all the time. People think you’re crazy if you’re happy all the time. Why? Negativity has become such a norm, that we don’t even question it but we encourage it.

I never really thought about positivity and negativity in general until Project Positivity was announced.  Isn’t that unbelievable? We get so consumed in life, society, family and friends that we never take a minute to look at ourselves. This campaign was an awakening for me, it made me realize all the things I seemed to have forgotten.  It made me realize how powerful my words are not just to myself but to everyone around me. I didn’t know that if I smiled at someone, it would make their day or if I complimented them, it would have an effect on them. I didn’t know what I did mattered as much as it did until people started sharing how much it indeed did.  When someone compliments me, I brush it off or I don’t believe in it because somewhere in the back of my mind, I feel like I’m not worthy of that compliment but when someone would say an insult to me, it would hit me like a ton of bricks. That one insult would start to consume me and I would ponder and ponder, why they said it and I would make it my personal mission to accept the fact that they said what they said because I deserved it. If a negative comment affected me so tremendously, then how must it affect someone else? I realized that sticks and stones may break bones but words destroy you, and that day I came up with the conclusion that “don’t say things to others that you wouldn’t want someone saying to you.”

My second realization was that I don’t know what goes on in people’s lives. I have no idea what battles they have fought or what battles they are fighting. People go through so many hardships and suffer so much pain, that I definitely don’t have to be the one to sprinkle salt atop their existing wounds. Who am I to make someone’s situation worse when who knows what they’re going through?  What right do I have to make someone’s life harder than it already is? Why can’t I be that person, that makes them laugh, that makes them forget what they’re going through, the person that helps them? This world is hard and painful enough, so why don’t we just try to make it better instead of worse? What does one gain from being negative? Absolutely nothing. If you can have an impact on someone’s life, why not make it a positive one then? I was sitting in YM and I looked at all the faces in front of me. These faces were so innocent and vulnerable and it hurt me, when each and every one of them shared a story about them being abused whether it was verbally, mentally, or even being bullied. It shook me to my core that each girl had an experience they remembered so vividly. That this memory was etched into their brain like it was yesterday. The only question I had was, why would someone want to hurt them? Why is the world so cruel? These girls experienced people trying to bring them down, yet they prevailed and emerged even higher. They were sitting in front of me laughing and talking with their friends after they just told a story that impacted them so heavily. Yet, each and every one of them was positive. I don’t know any of these girls’ story nor do I know what they have endured but what I do know that the light in them hasn’t diminished.

I remember doing an activity called Positive Wanda and Negative Wanda. In the activity, everyone had to write compliments on a positive Wanda and insults on negative Wanda. After everyone was done, I read aloud all the positive things and the negative things. When I was done reading the negative things, I crumpled up negative Wanda and everyone cheered. But that wasn’t the point of the activity, I opened up negative Wanda and tried to straighten her. The point of this activity was that no matter how perfect a person may seem from the outside, they can be broken from the inside because we cannot always recover from the repercussions of the unkindness of others. The impact that this activity left on me and all the girls in that room was indeed powerful.

I want everyone from this day forward to be mindful of their actions and their words, we don’t need more Negative Wanda’s in the world we desperately need Positive Wanda’s and I hope that Project Positivity encourages you to make this world a better place because we are the change, we are the hope and we are the light. I’ll leave you with this: sweeten your words so it can fill all the voids of bitterness the world keeps leaving.