We all have an ego. Ego is defined on Google as: “a person’s sense of self-esteem or self-importance; the part of the mind that mediates between the conscious and the unconscious and is responsible for reality testing and a sense of personal identity; a conscious thinking subject” It is crucial to understand how your ego impacts your life, so that you are not being led by this unconscious force into an identity that is not aligned to who you desire to be.
Ever have one of those moments when someone tries to tell you how to do something, and you hear that voice in your head that says, “I already know that,” or “Who do you think you are?” That defensive voice is your ego. It’s that part of us that over-reacts before reading a message in full, or only hears that part of a conversation that they feel is about themselves. It’s the part of us that compare ourselves to others, or judges them, in order to keep ourselves in the right, and feeling righteous. It’s the part that feels the need to brag, or inflate our adventures or accomplishments. It’s the part that falls on the sword so that others may see them skewered. It’s that part that gets pissy with others because we feel like we are in the right. “I’m terrible at math.” “Nobody likes me.” “She is trying to make me feel bad.” “That was stupid of me.” All ego. On the website, Pathway to Happiness, ego is wonderfully defined as: “The ego is an identity of our own construction, an identity which is false. If we take all the beliefs of what we are – beliefs about our personality, talents, and abilities – we have the structure of our ego. The talents, abilities and aspects of our personality will be attributes of our skills, but the mental construct of our ‘self’ is artificial.”
The intuition within us, I consider that our soul. The soul is devoid of ego. The soul is not influenced by the assumed judgments of others, or the reactivity around us, or the worldly concerns of finances; the soul is our deepest internal light. Some may consider this our “God” piece, or our Universal connection – to me, it is our purest truth, our guider, and it is not burdened with constructed self-beliefs.
I was out walking my reactive dog the other day, when this gentleman, who must have been a realtor showing a couple a unit in a building, stepped out the front door. I shortened my dog’s leash, while still keeping it slackened. I didn’t want to risk her rushing any of the people to jump on them. The realtor said to me, “You know, I have two big dogs at home, and I learned that if you tighten their leashes, they will perceive a threat and become more reactive.” What I know, as a human, is that this is true. However, my ego had me respond, “Yep, thanks.” Inside I heard my ego screaming, “Yes, I know that. Do you think I don’t know that? And, I wasn’t tightening her leash! I was simply shortening it!” As I walked away, I just shook my head at my reaction, chuckling to myself that my ego was alive and well.
I was recently in a conversation where I pointed out an obvious aspect of a person’s behavior. The person became immediately defensive. They were misunderstanding my words, with the intention of proving me in the wrong, or to try to shame me. It was absolutely fascinating. They were unable to hear my vulnerable self-expression that was intended to create an honest dialogue, and find a solution. What was even more intriguing to me was how my coach mindset recognized all of these dynamics. The leverage this person was using to get their way, how they used defensiveness to shut down those more passive than them, or end the conversation to get their own way. It made me sad for them that, until they addressed this, the relationships they have will be lacking in vulnerable truth, because they are unwilling to take themselves there. People will come to discover how they need to be around them, to keep them stable. This person has given away their power of self to any, and all, who question it.
So, what do we do to live beyond our ego? First, we recognize it. We understand the difference between the internal voice of our ego, and the voice of our soul. Quick tip—the soul is always focused on love; how to give love, share love, or create it. Then, it’s about investigating the beliefs that have formed our ego, and choosing to rewire them into a more soul-approved alignment.