Looking in the mirror, whatever might be the reflections in it, does the little voice in your head say, how special you are? Or how gifted and brilliant you are? Or how lucky the others are to have you in their lives? The soundtrack we play in our heads, the endless stream of self-aggrandizement, recitation of self-acclaimed, self-absorbed, and self-obsessed thoughts, and beliefs not self-love my dear friend, it is the sound of the ego playing at a repeat mode.
There is nothing wrong with being your favorite person, like Geet, Kareena Kapoor’s character from the movie ‘Jab we met’, but to be your favorite and to play the favorite of everyone else, that’s not self-love, that’s being a little self-obsessive. When such self-obsession goes unchecked and uncorrected, it becomes one ego ride for validation and attention from others to feel good and worthy.
The ego is our identity, or it is who we decide to be. We create our ego by creating a personality, and a story about us. Ego is not the problem, our perception of who we are and what we want to be is the larger part of the problem. And when the ego starts to feed on those thoughts that are, self-absorbed and self-obsessed, more delusional than real, that’s when Ego becomes inflated and starts to play messy.
Not everything about our personality is Ego. We all want to be a certain way, we all want to be perceived in a certain way, we all want to succeed in a certain way, while all this is absolutely alright, only when we become too attached to the idea of who we must be seen as, acknowledged as and talked about by the people around us, and this idea in our head that we are the centre of the universe, creates a roller coaster ride with ego in the driver’s seat.
Our desires, our need to be someone is not ego, how we respond and react to these desires getting fulfilled or getting denied, that’s when Ego takes over. Ego is sensitive about slights, insults and not getting their due. Ego is obsessed with the image game
The inflated Ego often leads us to believe we are enough, we know it all, and we will be able to figure it all out by ourselves. And it shames us and makes us feel insufficient, if we ever feel the need to ask help, assistance or if we simply need someone to hold us in crisis. And on the other hand, a deflated ego makes us the victim of inferiority complex; we become impulsive and reactive, suffer from a fragile sense of identity, unstable emotionality, and excessive vulnerability with a deep distortion of perception of our reality and our true self.
We all have inflated Egos, we all know about it. And we are all busy fixing the ego of the other person, while we are on our own Ego trip. The Ego is the part of us which is obsessed with self-identity. It needs material things, status, money, titles to feel secure and it continuously seeks validations and begs for attention. A big Ego can make you feel important, and it’ll cause you to behave arrogantly. Unless you look down upon others to feel superior and good about your own self, or let this feeling of superiority dominate you in making life decisions, Ego is not always destructive. We do need a healthy dose of ego to win our struggles to survive, to face life with stride and to achieve our goals, we need to have desires and have resilience against fear, insecurities and whatever that pulls us down.
Ego is naturally not always destructive. It’s only once the ego becomes the master of you, that it entraps you and makes you a slave of your desires. It takes over all the space in your head and heart, and you are only full of your false sense of self. When all your decisions are ego driven, there is a good justification for every bad decision you ever made.
There is a fine line between Ego and Self-respect which is often misread by people all the time. Self-respect is internalised. It is how you perceive yourself and how confident you feel within yourself and Ego is how important you feel around others. Where Ego’s job is to establish your importance or superiority, and a strong need to prove yourself to be better than others, Self-respect only concerns with preserving your confidence and creating secure boundaries in situations when someone is treating you unfairly. These blurring distinctions of Ego and Self-respect, people find themselves caught up in ‘war of egos’ or ‘ego clashes’, all in an attempt to prove they are always right instead of determining what is right!
Ego can start wars, it is impatient and doesn’t want to waste time, and it creates a mountain out of a molehill. The Ego does not care for good or wisdom within and without; its sole focus is on vanity, conceit and saving face. It digs its heels in and escalates hostility and it becomes more manipulative and reactive when it is losing ground.
Ego only loves itself above others. Ego doesn’t have any relationship skills and therefore it only knows how to manipulate to give and receive love. Ego cannot handle dissent; it treats every feedback as criticism and to protect itself, the ego resorts to resistance, arguments, conflicts, sarcasm, and when things don’t go its way, it leads to depression, withdrawal, aggression, frustration, passive-aggressiveness, revenge, disrespectful, intolerance, blame, competition, distrust, resentment and self-doubt. With ego as your centre, you will either be overconfident of your abilities or will always underestimate your efforts, whichever way; ego keeps you on the edge, all the time.
Our ego is part of our identity, but we shouldn’t let it take over our lives. We all have Egos, so we all need a plan to walk out of the trap before our Ego becomes the culprit behind our regrettable decisions. We don’t have to kill our Egos to claim our true self; we need to learn to tame our Ego, and How do we tame our Ego?
One has to learn to observe one’s mind and recognize that your thoughts don›t define who you are. You are not your mind. Get out of your head, stop living in your head. You need to stop listening to the same story your mind is telling you of yourself, change this grand narrative to a more humble narrative about yourself, where not you but love, respect, compassion, is the centre of existence.
Become aware of the present; cherish people more than you cherish things and material wealth. Be more mindful, more pleasant, more considerate and more respectful towards other people. Learn to meditate, calm the mind and clear your thoughts. Be strong, confident and forgiving.
What ego considers as weakness, master those relationship skills of acceptance, apologising, acknowledging others and appreciating their efforts. Learn to create possibilities for making adjustments and compromising. Be truly courageous but in moving away from conflicts and in taking responsibility. Open your heart and fill it with gratitude, for everything that comes your way. Our dominant nature as humans is to love, become a capable human being, who can love and is deserving of unconditional love. Check the attitude of living life my way or highway. There is a better way, the middle way of living life and creating a balance, but that is a conscious, mindful choice you must learn to make each moment.
Believe in the soft power of love, gratitude, acceptance towards one’s own self and others, that’s how you learn to handle ego and emotion rather than give them up!