So much has been said about ego, and yet again we get back to the topic. My intention today is to try a deeper analysis of the matter, which might give you something to think about.
The ego is very much related to freedom. Your personal freedom. What does it mean? I would say it is a condition in which you feel happy and satisfied with yourself and your life without fears, frustration, anger or worries. The latter points are all products of the ego, but from my experience, fighting each of them separately is not practical. Much more efficient is to defeat the ego: the root of all our afflictions and miseries.
We all are born without any ego; it is much later in life when it develops as a consequence of social and economic influence and the traditional model of education and upbringing. Society feeds on our ego. And the result? You are doomed to endlessly pursue the dreams that are not yours and only be what others want to see. Does it look like freedom to you? I don’t think so…
So, how does the ego happen? At some point in life, you confuse what you are with what you have or what others think of you, and you start defining yourself in these terms. You would always look for approval and worry about your image. Any disorder in these areas makes you feel frustrated, and all your actions are aimed at correcting the situation and thus feed your ego.
You might argue that you don’t mind what people think of you, but you can’t help feeling miserable or angry when someone treats you negatively and hurts your ego. How about we get rid of the ego? What would that be like?… You’ll lose the fear of failure, leave your comfort zone, take risks to explore new horizons and, most importantly, you’ll become free to live the life you really want. There will be no necessity to always win or be right, to have more or feel superior, no more obstacles on your path.
Sounds attractive, doesn’t it? But how to do it? It is easy to say: don’t get offended, hold the anger, you don’t have to win every time, relax… We all know what we need to do, why don’t we do it? Maybe it’s not that easy… Down below, I offer you some strategy to work through. The main asset you will need in the process is absolute honesty with yourself.
Step 1. Accept that you have the ego. Curiously enough, having the ego is considered an insult, so you would claim you don’t have it, which, in turn, would be an expression of your ego. It’s a vicious cycle. Be honest, recognize that you have the ego and you let it govern your actions and your life.
Step 2. Once you have accepted your ego and the fact that it controls your life, the next phase is observation. You need to figure out in which way the ego influences your actions and feelings, again, with total sincerity. You help others and present it as a selfless nature. Is it? Or is it your craving for acceptance and approval? What can be more innocent than liking to drink water! Or maybe you’re trying to claim moral points for being conscious of your own well-being and to despise coffee lovers so as to feel superior?
This is crucial: your main goal here is to become conscious of the true reasons that push you to do something or take a decision, if you do it to feed your ego or because you really love it. This is the point where you are taking control of your life.
Step 3. Now that you got to the core, you are able to distinguish between acting out of the ego or out of love. You can now become yourself. Of course, it doesn’t mean that you won’t help somebody because you know it’s out of the ego, but you’ll be able to take better decisions that will lead you to your personal freedom, peace of mind and happy life, doing what you really like and not what you are supposed to.
Create a habit of observing yourself and enjoy the process. Don’t be important, be happy.