When you think of the word ego most people relate it to someone who is full of themselves to a flaw. Or maybe you think of the hit song Ego by Beyoncé! Ha! If you have studied psychology you may relate ego to being one of the three elements of your personality, the other two being superego and id as per Sigmund Freud’s psychoanalytic theory of personality. Lastly, one may associate ego with it being the self-image you display to society that is constantly seeking approval from all things it wishes to identify with. There are ways to connect these different understandings, even the song. Regardless of which you can relate to, sit back for a moment right now and ask yourself, how big is my ego? Whatever your answer is, are you able to connect with the “you” behind your ego? Do you know who the “you” behind the ego even is? Chances are you are so identified with your ego that you believe it is who you are!
Too much ego can suppress your inner wisdom, your soul. That gut feeling that most ignore because the ego is so big and powerful. You inner wisdom never steers you wrong, it is your power and leads you in the right direction to make safe, sound, balanced decisions if your able to set the ego aside and listen to it. When you are constantly allowing the voice of the ego to control your actions you lose your true sense of self. You are not living from your heart. You can spend your entire life searching for what is already inside of you but clouded by that big ole ego!
When the ego takes over, it becomes the source of your own isolation and spiritual suffering. The ego has a way of never being satisfied. Its appetite grows with its size. If you are too identified to your own ego, the ego will give you no opportunity to develop your spirit, which will leave you bewildered and miserable, particularly when suffering inevitably catches up with you.
“Wait,” someone identified with his or her ego might object, “I live for myself only, and I don’t feel I’m miserable! In fact, I’m having a ball!”
These are the convinced materialists, who thrive in a materialist environment. They spread the false gospel of the happiness to be found in materialism. They present the seductive facades luring people into lives dedicated to possession and greed. They have governments, celebrities, the media and multi-billion dollar advertising industries to back up their claims. Is this you? Many members of the generation I am part of fall into this category; Generation X and Y.
I could go on and on but I am not here to preach. My purpose is to bring issues to your attention and help you to find healthy ways to deal with them.
Below are some dos and don’ts to help you to balance the ego. You do not want to get rid of the ego because it does have a purpose and can be helpful in life. What you want to do is have a balanced ego.
- Don’t try to be the center of attention, if you naturally just are because you are a star that is great, but when you have to put forth effort, that is the ego taking control.
- Don’t show off your good deeds, praise should and will come naturally. You shouldn’t do things for recognition; if you are it isn’t coming from the right place!
- Don’t belittle others to appear “bigger” yourself. You are not any smarter or better than anyone else. Don’t belittle anyone, we all are special and have our own talents and unique abilities!
- Don’t fish for compliments, if they don’t come naturally then you are looking for them for the wrong reason for some kind of validation that you don’t have within yourself. That is the ego taking over!
- Don’t nurture feelings or thoughts of superiority, this will reflect in your attitude and ultimately your decisions.
- Don’t keep company with people who flatter you, not only do they have their own selfish agenda but it serves you no real good.
- Don’t show off possessions, they do not make you who you are or define you. They can be taken away as easily as they were given to you and then what do you have to show?
- Don’t use your good looks to impress, not only do they eventually fade away but they only get you so far before you have to show who you really are, inside! Your true being!
- Don’t lie to impress others; you forget them and then you’re exposed! After a while people start to catch on to them anyway and see that you are a front!
- Don’t gossip, this breaks all rules of compassion and wisdom. Don’t even listen to gossip, listening is participation.
- Be compassionate, all the Don’ts mentioned become irrelevant if you live in true compassion with a commitment to be constructive and to care for others.
- Accept emptiness, the moment you have stripped yourself of your “false self” or your ego, only emptiness remains. You come face-to-face with reality, your “true self”, who is in fact, complete emptiness, where no “self” exists. This is enlightenment.
- Curb your desires, free yourself from materialism and the consumerism of a society preoccupied with materialistic aims, as well as your longing for status and recognition
- Be silent when you have nothing to say; listen more than you speak. Really listening to other people gives you the opportunity to be supportive and constructive.
- Meditate regularly; find a form of meditation that suits your needs, time restraints and temperament. Correct forms of meditation have a way of preparing you for life out there and revitalizing your spirit. They bring you closer to your true self and they reduce your ego.
- Spend time with uplifting company. Have honest, compassionate friends who will support you in need, and will not hesitate to tell you when you are wrong, or getting too fatheaded.
- Utilize victory and defeat for growth. Failure is an opportunity, if you blame someone else; there is no end to the blame.
- Be committed. You will suffer many setbacks. You often have to overcome cultural conditioning and education. You may come into situations or come into conflict with people that bring out the worst in you. In our society, which runs on greed, you have to overcome a barrage of negative stimuli incessantly encouraging you to inflate your ego. The trouble is that the ego can become so much part of you that it becomes invisible to you and feels like a “natural” part of you. The worst thing that can happen to you is to accept it as a “natural” part of you, for then it will control your actions.
“Don’t die with your music still inside you. Listen to your intuitive inner voice and find what passion stirs your soul. Listen to that inner voice, and don’t get to the end of your life and say, ‘What if my whole life has been wrong?”
- Dr. Wayne W. Dyer, best-selling author and an amazing individual.