The Emotional Bank Balance – Dr Muhammad Abd Al-Rahman Al Arifi

” We dictate how others think of us. If a person were to see
you in the market and frown at you, then see you at the grocer’s
and frown at you, and then you bump into him at a wedding
party and see him frowning at you, you would form a picture of
him in your mind. If you were to see him again, or even hear of
him again, his frowning face would instantly come mind. Isn’t that
If a person meets you with a smile, then he meets you elsewhere
with a smile, and so on, there will be a positive smiling
picture of him imprinted in your mind.
This is concerning someone with whom you have no relationship
and only meet with every now and then. But as for
those whom we meet all the time, like a wife, children, work colleagues
and neighbours, then we don’t always deal with them in
the same manner. Yes, they will see us laughing and joking, but no
doubt they will also see us sometimes angry, frowning, argumentative
or even insulting because we are, after all, human beings.
Consequently, their love for us is governed by our good or
bad conduct towards them.

If you wish, you can say that their
love for us is in proportion to the emotional credit that we may have in our accounts with them. How so?
When you show good conduct towards a person, you are in
reality depositing fond memories about yourself in his memory
register. In other words, it is as if he has opened up an account
for you in his heart where he keeps safe his love and respect for
you. Thereafter, your bank balance either increases or decreases.
Hence, each time you meet him with a smile, your emotional
bank balance increases. Each time you give him a gift, it also increases.
Every act of courtesy increases it further. Similarly, each
time you offend, insult or curse a person, you make a withdrawal
from that emotional bank balance.
Similarly, if you have a huge balance with a person and one
day end up angering him, you withdraw only a small percentage
from your emotional bank balance due to the huge original balance.

If a beloved comes with one vice,
His virtues come to the rescue with a thousand intercessors
However, if you don’t have an emotional bank balance with
a person to begin with and then begin to withdraw, then your
account with him will be in deficit. Subsequently, he may develop
a dislike for you since you continue to withdraw but never deposit.

You may have heard the story about a wife who was divorced
by her husband. When asked about the reason for the divorce,
she said, “It was a trivial reason. He wanted me to go with him to
see his sister and I refused. He became angry and began insulting
and cursing me, and then eventually divorced me!”
If you contemplate a little why she got divorced, you would
discover that the reason was not as trivial as she claimed. Rather,
the incident was the last straw that broke the camel’s back!
It is said that there was once a man who had a strong camel.
One day he decided to travel, so he placed all his belongings on
the camel’s back and tied it up. The poor camel tried to withstand
the pressure as he managed to place on its back the load
of four camels. The camel began to waver as the people shouted
at the man saying, “Enough!” But the man didn’t listen. He finally
took a belt made out of straw and placed it on the camel, saying,
“This is very light, and this is the last thing I will place on it.” As
soon as he placed the belt on it, the camel fell to the ground.
Thus, his story became an idiom and it was said, “The last straw
which broke the camel’s back!”
If you think about it, you will realise that the belt was quite
innocent, for it was not the belt that broke the camel’s back.
Rather, the back was broken due to the heavy overall load that
was placed on it, which it tried to withstand with patience until
it could stand it no longer. The miniscule weight of the belt then
finally broke its back.
The same goes for the woman who was divorced by her
husband. I can say for certain that the reason was not just the
fact that she refused to visit his sister. Rather, it was a number
of things including refusing to fulfil his requests and his wishes,
the lack of love between the two, her arrogance and the lack of
respect she had for his views. She continued to withdraw from
her emotional bank account without depositing anything. She
continued to hurt him without healing his wounds. He continued to bear her with patience, until this incident happened which broke the camel’s back.

If she were to have contributed to her emotional bank account
on a regular basis by meeting him nicely, spoiling him a
little, making herself beloved to him, joking and being light-hearted
with him, taking care of his food and clothes and respecting
his views, she would have had a huge emotional bank balance.
She would have been a millionaire in his heart. Consequently, it
would not have mattered much if her emotional bank balance
decreased slightly because her wrong actions would have disappeared
in the sea of her virtues.
You can say the same about a troublemaking student who
has made one mistake due to which his teacher become very
angry and perhaps hit him, or threw him out of the classroom.
Then the student may complain, “Such-and-such a colleague of
mine does things much worse than me, yet he isn’t punished!
As for me, then I didn’t do anything, except that I made a joke
without permission.” He doesn’t realise that the joke was the
last straw which broke the camel’s back. He had always hurt his
teacher without healing his wounds.

The same can be said about colleagues or neighbours who argue amongst each other.
Hence, we are always in need of depositing into the emotional
bank balance that lies in people’s hearts. The husband
should look for opportunities to deposit into his wife’s heart
and continue to increase his points. The wife should do the same.
The son should likewise deposit some love in his father’s heart,
as should the teacher with his students and a person with his
brother. In fact, even the manager should do the same with those who work under him.

In short…
If a beloved comes with one vice,
His virtues come to the rescue with a thousand intercessors”

[Source: Extract from the Book “Enjoy Your Life” via]


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Filed under Character, Islam, Marriage, Nikah, Religion, Tasawwuf

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