To tame a man’s ego
Shakespeare wrote about the taming of the shrew, and that shrew was a woman; but a man’s ego needs more taming than the shrewdness of a woman.
Of all negative human emotions, ego is one of the most elusive but extremely dangerous and capable of massive destruction with widespread consequences.
What is ego? It is the feeling of pride and conceit that makes us think we are superior to others. It sits somewhere in the depth of our soul, getting angry and looking down on others.
When we are denied what we want, or if we feel undermined, it is our ego that rants and raves, especially the volatile ego in men.
Our ego is bloated when we are easily offended, when we refuse to follow wise counsel, when we believe we cannot go wrong, when we feel we don’t need help, and when we think some people are beneath us.
Why did Almighty God give us ego? It is because ego is useful for promoting our self-worth and our sense of personal identity.
For a man to be designated head of his family indicates his leadership and authority, which is why he must assert his pride and dignity. A real man would want to protect his family at the peril of his life. That is ego positively championed.
Therefore, let us not confuse ego with self-confidence. The difference is that while ego is laced with negativity, self-confidence demonstrates the positive.
Even pride can be positive. We must be proud of our achievements without looking down on others. We are proud to be Ghanaians without being racist or prejudicial against other nationals.
It is wonderful to be confident but when a man’s ego is bloated it becomes dangerous to him and those around him.
To understand the dual nature of a man’s ego, let’s consider these scenarios: First, when a careless driver roughly pushes a man off his lane, what does he do?
He can chase the offending driver and assault him; or he can exercise self-respect, forgive the careless driver, and move on.
In the above situation, the man’s calm disposition indicates his tamed ego, whereas in the first, his ego is inflated.
In the second scenario, the ego in politicians propels their vim and enthusiasm to undertake the noble duty of becoming parliamentarians.
But why do the same people, unable to exercise restraint in the face of provocation during a parliamentary debate, turn the house into a boxing arena? Bloated ego, and no woman threw a punch!
If it can happen in parliament, it can happen also in our homes, workplaces and in the community. Read war reports and you cannot fail to recognise men’s swollen ego on display.
The author, Nouman Ali Khan, says, “If someone corrects you and you feel offended, then you have an ego problem.” It means you have a superiority complex, and people with superiority complex are not easily corrected.
An egoistic businessman told his pastor that the church would be impoverished if he were to stop giving his hefty contributions. Therefore, he must be accorded due respect.
The pastor had only delivered a sensitive sermon on the Lord Jesus’ statement about how hard it is for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God, which angered the businessman.
It is said that a man’s huge ego is his worst enemy, and it is not difficult to understand why. A man’s big ego can destroy relationships built over years, blind us to available opportunities and impede success.
What happened when Cain’s offering was rejected by God? His ego, raw and untamed, rose in protest. Even when God intervened to cool him down, he still went ahead and killed his brother.
We think we are enlightened but untamed ego can easily transport us back to the stone age where survival belonged to the fittest.
Not long ago, newspapers carried the story of a man whose ego was frayed when his wife denied him conjugal intimacy. He killed her in the bush to appease his ego!
When it comes to a man’s sexual drive, his ego is a time bomb, for we have read stories of men who act like untamed wild beasts of the wilderness when they are denied that intimacy. It is what accounts for rape and other related perversions.
The problem of ego is the problem of the heart. For the Scripture says the heart of man is desperately wicked. It is for this reason that God’s promise in Ezekiel 36:26 is particularly needed in combating the ego of the heart:
“I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you. I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.” Give us this heart, Oh Lord!