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Monday, March 21, 2011

Exploring Identity-Part 3- Identity and different levels of human functioning

The human being functions on different levels, there are 5 important levels that we function on.

- Spiritual
- Psychological
- Intellectual
- Social
- Physical

All these things are what makes up the whole human being and if we only function on some levels instead of all then we will always feel that something is missing in our lives. The way we perceive ourselves on all these different levels ultimately contributes to our IDENTITY OR SELF-DEFINITION.

1. What is your identity (i.e. how do you see yourself ) on each of the different levels of functioning?
2. Are you happy with your identity, is this a positive identity or a negative one, look at each area and decide.
3. What do you think your identity is based on?

Let's look at an example of how you can do this.
For instance you can say, I am a very spiritual person and I am happy with that. Then for the psychological level you might say, I have a certain personality type (I may be introverted, outgoing, perfectionistic, etc.) but I'm not that happy with my identity on a psychological level because it's not that good to be introverted, etc. Then you might say, on a physical level I am very happy with the way I look, (for whatever reasons- you can make a note of your own reasons). On an intellectual level you may think, I need to learn more and study more and I'm not very happy with my identity on an intellectual level. On a social level, you may say... I have lots of friends, I socialise easily, people like me, I am very happy with my identity on a social level.
The above is just to give you an idea of what needs to be done when thinking about your own identity on all the different levels. Now you can apply this to your own life and see what your identity is like on all the different levels and whether you are happy with it or not.
Rememember, you may be very happy with your identity on some levels and on other levels you may be unhappy with your identity.
Now we will take this a little further:
Consider the following:
What are the ideas about your identity based on? Are they based on Islamic ideals or something else? 
If they are based on something else, what are they based on and why have these other things become important to you?
Once you've identified how you feel about your identity on all the different levels, this will help you to understand why you have either a positive or a negative identity.
  •  If you have a negative identity on any level, then pay attention to the above questions and perhaps you feel negative about yourself on some levels when those things don't even matter in Islam.
  • Allah Almighty made us all differently, and we are all different on all the different levels mentioned above. It doesn't make sense for us to all wish to be the same when Allah (SWT) made us unique.
  •  Many times people have a negative self-identity because they do not accept themselves as Allah has made them and they try to be like others.
  •  This is also a form of ungratefulness, because we should be thankful to Allah for everything. If we are not good at a certain thing, then surely we will have to be good at something else. For instance, if we are not that good looking, we may be very intelligent, and so forth.
  • Allah Almighty has not deprived anyone so we should always be grateful for who we are, exactly how Allah has made us.
  • This will help us to always maintain a positive identity on all levels!
May The Almighty help us all to recognize the bounties He has given us, to accept ourselves the way we are, to only strive to better ourselves in ways that please our Creator, Allah and to always be happy with our identities! Insha'Allah Ameen!

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