Have you ever said or thought, “I hate myself”, “I’m such a loser” “I’m such an idiot”, “I wish I would die”. Religion, I believe, has truly been may saving grace, the more religious I become the more I said this to these thoughts “Wait a minute, who is the “I” that hates me. Having faith in God allowed a pause in these thoughts that weren’t so readily apparent when my faith was just a vague identity attached to the fortune of my birth. As a teen -those years that are so harsh on many of us, these thoughts would come to mind. A pathetic incident would consume me, a harsh comment would slowly kill me inside, a tease would haunt me. It was as if every time I was pushed I’d throw myself to the ground.
But we don’t do that in the physical world, do we? Unless someone is severely mentally ill it’d be unimaginable that someone would punch a person and that person would respond by throwing themselves off a bridge but we do it mentally far too often. The boy in school tells us we’re ugly, and for the rest of the day, week, month -possible all our lives we continue to say “I’m ugly, I’m ugly” we’ll often take it much further than this, “I’m ugly, unworthy, no one likes me -no one will ever like me”. We hate when people kick us when we’re down but we do it to ourselves all the time.
As I grew older, wiser and more in tune -if even by a small proximity, with God, I stopped allowing these thoughts to consume me. Months became a month, weeks became a week, a week became a day, a day a few hours, hours in to only a moment until I wouldn’t let the thought complete itself. Let’s for a moment look at one of these examples and implement what I came to realize was an immensely strange paradox, “I wish I would die”. Here’s the question I began to ask myself: who is the “I” that wishes I would die and who is the “I” that should die? I use this example because it’s the best one in that it literally uses “I” twice. Do you realize how bizarre this is? There is a splitting that is happening right before our eyes and if we pay attention we gain not only insight but also freedom.
Who is the “I” that wishes I should die? This “I” takes a stance whereby it declares itself worthy of death. But it is in fact not speaking to itself. There is a conversation happening between it and the other I. One is the persecutor and one the persecuted. It appears to be the same person; the “I” wants to swallow itself whole. But does that make sense? Is the persecuting “I” wishing death on itself? It would appear so. But I don’t actually think that’s what’s happening. The persecuting “I” is almost like an outsider of the self or maybe it is the self looking out, either way it see’s a part of itself and mistakes it for the whole. Think of it this way, let’s say a person had a son who was killed and they want to avenge his death by killing the murderer. Let’s say the murderers’ name is Sam, so the mother says, “I want Sam to suffer and die”. Does she want Sam to suffer and die? Or does she want the murderer of her son to suffer and die? But- you say, they are the same person! No they are not (they are, but bare with me). Does she want the father of two children to suffer and die? Does she want the loving husband to suffer and die? Does she want the caring teacher to suffer and die? No of course not -but, they are all the same person.
The same applies to the self. It is not that you want to die, if you forced yourself to pick yourself apart in to every aspect of yourself you’d realize that there are parts of you that you want to live and flourish but there are other parts of you that you do indeed wish to die. The overwhelming sadness, the inability to be productive, the lack of interest in life, you’d rather live without that but is that all there is to life? And to your life specifically? In our example of the murderer he may indeed deserve to die as a punishment for a crime he committed against another but not for who he is which is not all bad. The ability to see people as people and to see one’s self as a multitude of selves is a human battle but it is a worthy one.
When those negative thoughts come to me, as they still do, I stop them with a reality check -I am more then my mistake, more than this incident, more than this occurrence, more than what this person summed me up to be. This works more often then not but when it fails, as it sometimes does, I remind myself “this too is the Qadr (divine destiny) of God”, and with that I find some small solance.
- Source: mayoclinic.com
Nuriddeen Knight is the Editor of Ethosinternational.co, she does remote life consultation and teaches various courses through nooralshadhili.com. Love our essays? Love Ethos? Support us by donating here: Ethosinternational.co/donate