The measure of a man’s freedom is the degree to which he can stay courteous under provocation. Conversely, the extent of the man’s slavehood and bondage is the degree to which he can be provoked.
Our nafs (self or soul) is the greatest gift from Allah to us, and at the same time our deadliest enemy. Rather it is an amanah that Allah has entrusted us with, so we must honor and appreciate it, but also fight and subdue that aspect of it, which will cause our ruin, if we do not guard ourselves against it. The most cited metaphor for it is that of a wild riding beast, which will try to throw off its rider, as long as it is untamed, but which becomes a trusted companion and support in his quest, if he masters it.