طراحی سایت

Life Skills: Self-Awareness

Written by: Mahsa Amiri

Published on: September 30th, 2018


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Despite the growing apparent prosperity in life, human-being has not yet achieved inner peace and the mental conflicts. Achieving the inner peace, satisfaction and happiness requires improving relationships and skills that are taught in various schools of thoughts. The rich Islamic teaching in this context is obvious to everyone and there are a lot of verses and hadiths (traditions) that insist on the significance of self-awareness; for example, Imam Sadiq (Peace Be Upon Him; PBUH) divided communication skills in life into four categories: “Interaction with the Creator, interaction with self, interaction with people and interaction with the universe” and has elaborated on each in detail. According to the Islamic teachings, the balance and the high quality of these interactions lead to increased levels of mental health; therefore, peace would be reachable.

However, modern psychology has also introduced the prevention-improvement methods in mental health with the theme of “life skills”. In the psychological definition, life skills include: ability to perform adaptive and positive behavior that enable individuals to deal effectively with the problems and struggles of everyday life. Learning these skills helps people to protect themselves and the community they live in, from mental damage and promote mental health and make human being useful for themselves and the society. The majority of psychology and counseling clinics’ clients, who are beset of problems in their life or looking for solutions to enhance the quality of their life and relationships would be able to find new solutions by learning these skills.

I recall that once a woman in her thirties visited me and after explaining here problems, she asked me to give her a solution; perhaps this story sounds familiar and interesting to you.

“I am of no use!”

Banoo had already been married for 12 years and had two healthy children. She was employed by a private firm due to her post-secondary education and her friend’s referral. “I probably would not attend university and work, even if I had a choice! I just followed the rest of the youths in my family“ she said. She loved her husband, but not since the beginning of their relationship. They knew each other through her colleague and her family started to like him after they had several interactions with him. According to my grandfather, he was a mature and responsible man; my father also believed the same. I had a mixed feeling about him. However, when I realized my family’s opinion about him, I thought he could be a good candidate.

After the birth of her newborn, she stayed home for a while taking care of her family. Although their family income was reduced; however, she was more satisfied, as she could enjoy the time she spent with her family. Her husband was also happy with the current situation and thus she completely resigned from her employment. She believed that the benefits of being a housewife would be to participate in gatherings that she was not able to make it in the past, due to her full time job and also to have more time to spend with her family and work towards their comfort. In the year, she also gave birth to their second child.

However, after a while, she was always pondering if whether this was the life style that she wanted. The kids were in school by then and needed less attendance; her husband was not communicative and the work preoccupied him. She had more free time on her own. Banoo was not feeling as happy and energetic as before, She felt she was gaining weight and getting old at the same time. Despite the fact that she was not interested in working full time, she regarded her working friends to be successful. Even she thought her housewife-friends were more successful. Basically, she did not find herself as effective for her family, as before. Subsequently, she became more isolated since she did not want her family or friends to find out about her loss. The relationship between Banoo and her family was affected by this feeling and she thought that her family is the cause for her loss. Suggested by her husband, she was seeking advice from a counselor and now she was expecting my thoughts as guidelines.


Self-awareness defined:

We read Banoo’s challenge and life story; however, before providing a solution I introduced one of the significant life skills: self-awareness. Self-awareness means the capability of getting to know our strengths and weaknesses, our goals and fears, knowing what we like and what we dislike.

Skills are not inherent or intrinsic. They can be achieved through training and practice. Life skills results in the capability of reaching your goals efficiently. In fact, life skills could be regarded as guidelines for life and how to resolve the problems. As mentioned above, self-awareness is amongst essential life skills that are required for success. This skills result in enhancing our knowledge of our emotions and thoughts which promote confidence and satisfaction. Imam Ali (PBUH) has said “Recognizing manners and demonstrating good behavior and suppress bad behavior are indication of high level wisdom.”

Whom self-awareness is essential for? Do you need these skills?
If there are any issues bothering you individually;
If you bias or uncertain on so many things and cannot tolerate any criticism;
If visiting the old memories make you uncomfortable;
If you have unresolved issues or weird feelings towards people surrounding you;
If you believe no one understands you and loneliness bothers you;
If you cannot have effective relationship with the people you are interested in;
If you feel unwanted by your spouse or children;
So you need self-awareness.


Path to self-awareness:

The first step in self-awareness is having a pencil and a notebook and I invite you to follow me in this process. Write all questions in your notebook and leave a blank page for each question.

What activities can I do well?
What is my good personality trait?
What is my bad personality trait?
Which activities I cannot do?
What are the priorities in my life?
How do I feel at the moment?
How does someone act or think of himself when feels positive about himself?
How can someone change or improve their weaknesses and if they do so, how they feel about themselves?
What activities can I do well?
What is my good personality trait?
What is my bad personality trait?
Which activities I cannot do?
What are the priorities in my life?
How do I feel at the moment?
How does someone act or think of himself who feels positive about himself?
How can someone change or improve their weaknesses and if they do so, how they feel about themselves?

Answer these questions in separate papers, and choose three friends and your family members and ask them to respond to the questions about you. Now pay attention to the same and different points in answers. Do you find yourself in your own and others’ opinion so different? What solutions you have identified to change your behaviors and emotions?

The next step is action. ” Whoever finds cognition, it leads him to practice his knowledge and who does not understand, he would not be practical.” In another words, practice makes perfect. Write down four of your abilities and skills that you can teach to others in your notebook and also write one item that you like to learn. Now, find a way to do this transaction!

Imam Ali (PBUH) has said: ‘Be aware that there are no benefits in knowledge without understanding’. Be careful that don’t have high expectations or demands, don’t be perfectionist and proud, when doing this exercise. If you are happy with this exercise for success, you have somewhat recognized and made sense of your goals in life. Congratulations! With repetition of this exercise, you will increase the positive points and reduce weaknesses too. Despite all the weaknesses and failures, human remains to be valuable, just like if a hundred-dollar bill crumpled still hundred dollars! Imam Sajjad (PBUH) requests the self-awareness from God: “Put us of those who understand themselves.” I hope his followers are also in the same path and follow his footstep.

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