Monday, January 23, 2017

Problem Of The Ego

So the more I am around on Earth going through this human experience, the more I realise that I have an issue with managing my anger which comes from my ego. I have an ego problem and I don't think it's at all healthy to have, so I'll have to examine it and think up of ways to better deal with it.

I think the first time I realised that such a thing existed within me was when I watched a Nouman Ali Khan video a handful of years ago. He talked about ego within the people in the Muslim community, and I find it to be somewhat applicable to people in general, although that might take a bit of a reinterpretation of what he's saying in the video. If you'd like to watch it (and I highly recommend that you do), please click here.

In the video, Mr Khan talks about certain people who tend to develop a certain way of viewing the world in which they take offence to other people all the time for the smallest of reasons. The example that he gave was when a person who is being a makmum in a congregational prayer hears that the imam is mispronouncing certain parts of a surah or the tajweed is off, and they'd dwell on it and resent that that person is saying it wrong or saying it not the way they would. This becomes one of the identifiers of an ego problem within oneself.

One with an ego problem feels like they are more knowledgeable and worthy than other people, regardless of what that thing may be, be it material possessions or religious positions. There is an undeniable paradox that exists when a person gets egotistical about their religious knowledge, when religious knowledge was always meant to humble those who receive it.

And I know that I have that problem. I've known since I watched that video all those years ago, and even though I try to manage it, it comes up and messes with my brain. I'd get angry for no good reason, such as when a person talks to me certain way, a way in which I wouldn't. I would get all muddled up inside dwelling on it, thinking that on the one hand, I have this feeling of superiority against this other person, but on the other hand trying my best to not let that feeling manifest itself in my actions. At the same time I'm conflicted and feel guilty for feeling superior and beat myself up inside my head for ever thinking that I was better than anybody else in anything at all.

And in those moments, I grow silent and go peak introvert, because I'm having these conversations in my head that say "Ugh, I'm angry!" and "Ugh, I shouldn't be angry!" and even "Ugh, I'm such a terrible human being for feeling angry in the first place!" at the same time. I never know how to deal with these thoughts, and I don't know how to lower my ego to a point where I don't get angry anymore about such trivial things.

Some would say that I'd have to go on a spiritual journey, like read the Quran more, zikir more often, solat sunat tahajjud and whatnot. And they might have a point. Maybe the solutions to my problems lies on outward expressions of faith instead of inward introspection. Or maybe those outward expressions of faith may lead me to a more guided and well-built inward introspection. One can only try to see if it works. But will I? There's lies the question.

Here's to Nouman Ali Khan for being a great guy.

1 comment:

Aneesah said...

It was a few months ago that I "borrowed" a book from my mum's bookshelf -- on "EQ in the workplace" -- and it was probably the earliest exposure I've had to that thing called emotional intelligence.

I would suggest you look into books on emotional intelligence to see if it might help: the particular book covered steps on observing yourself (your thoughts, emotions, and physical self) and then being aware of "triggers" and all sorts of things before being attempting to make a change.

I believe most of us have issues with emotions, be it related to ego or habits or our upbringing... all sorts of factors can be at play and it might take our more mature years to realise it and then change it for the better.