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  • Maulana Wahiduddin Khan

Learn the Art of Ego Management

The ego problem is one’s own personal affair. Others will not pay its price; one has to manage it on one’s own.

The ego, an innate part of the psychology of every individual, has a crucial role to play in the personality of every human being. This is because the ego is the source of self-awareness. It is the source of conviction, confidence and determination. In this sense, it is a great strength in every human being. Thus, the ego is a healthy phenomenon. In its absence, man is reduced to futility, and as far as great achievements are concerned, they are out of the question without the ego-spirit.

This is the positive aspect of ego. But, at the same time there is also a negative aspect. It is this negative aspect that creates problems. Being a social animal, man has to live amongst people – both within the family and outside it. In other words, social living is an intrinsic requirement of every person. It is this necessity of having social relations that leads to problems. When one is alone, one’s ego is in the dormant mode. But when one is living in a society, one cannot but come into contact with other people. For this reason, there is every chance of experiencing situations which could lead to ego clashes.

Everywhere throughout nature, there is diversity – an essential part of nature’s scheme. The same is true of human beings. All men and women are born with different characteristics. Society is thus a mélange of different personalities. It is personal differences in tastes, ways of thinking, and modes of expression that create problems. What is called an ego-problem is actually a phenomenon arising from the simple fact of living amongst a wide variety of human beings.

It is said that when the ego is provoked, it turns into a super-ego and the result is breakdown. There is some truth in this saying, but it needs to be understood in the proper perspective. It is a phenomenon of social living rather than a phenomenon of solitary living. Society creates problems for individuals, but at the same time it has to be conceded that very few people can live alone. In social life everyone shares with others. It is this ‘sharing culture’ that helps individuals to develop their personality and to bring their plans to completion. Without this willingness to share, there is very little that can come within the reach of human beings.

Every person is like a rose plant, in that he has a ‘flower content’ and at the same time he has a ‘thorn content’. This double-sidedness of all individuals should be accepted as a reality. When a person comes into contact with the ‘flower content’ of another, his equanimity remains undisturbed. But the moment he comes into contact with the ‘thorn content’ of the other person, his ego flares up. It is but natural to have this kind of contrary experience in social life. One has to accept the thorn in the same way as one accepts the flower. Failing this, one shall have to suffer irreparable loss. Sharing in social life is of benefit to everyone but, at the same time, it is accompanied by the negative experiences of ego clashes.

Then what should be done in such a situation? Learning the art of ego management is the only solution to this problem, for that is the price to be paid for enjoying the advantages of living in society. Inevitably, every commodity has its price. Without paying this price, one cannot acquire that commodity. This is very true when it comes to reaping the benefits of social living. If one wants to enjoy these benefits, one must inevitably learn the art of ego management.

The ego problem is one’s own personal affair. Others will not pay its price; one has to manage it on one’s own. Here there are only two choices: either manage the ego problem and prosper, or fail in its management and end in disaster.

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