What is the ego?
The ego is a self-generated identity consisting of every belief we believe about who and what we are. This includes our personality, our skills, our likes and dislikes.
The ego is what keeps us locked away in our minds in an endless cycle of chatter separated from the present moment.
Dr. Andrew Arnold talks about how the ego is the identity that is created and reinforced by the story we tell ourselves.
Our stories are, however, just that stories. They do not make who we are. Eckhart Tolle says The most common ego identifications have to do with possessions, the work you do, social status and recognition, knowledge and education, physical appearance, special skills, relationships, personal and family history, belief systems, and often nationalistic, racial, religious, and other collective identifications.
None of these are you.
While the ego is an aspect of the human condition, it is not the true essence of who we are. When we operate from ego we are generally obsessed with right and wrong…blame and shame. We are not acting from unconditional love, but a judgemental place. We are not acting from a place of ‘how can I serve’ or ‘how can I give’…rather, ‘what do I get’ and ‘how do I look’.
Learning to identify the traits and behaviours of the ego…and then working to consciously make a different choice will drastically change your life. Here are 3 tips on managing your ego, to create a more peaceful loving life and practice.
- Stop taking things personally. The ego loves to get offended. It loves to feel wounded and it thrives on pain and conflict. When we choose to be offended over the thing’s we are actively choosing to allow the ego to take hold of our lives and create pain. To disassociate from this decision and make a different choice, we must recognize that love is our natural state. Humans actually want to connect and feel joy, not misery. If someone does or says something that makes you feel any negative emotion, you have two choices. You can react and engage in conflict or you can recognize the trigger within you is an opportunity for your own growth. You can choose to recognize that anything negative said or done from another, is likely a projection of their own ego. Don’t waste your energy on ego battles. Save it for love and service.
- The ego loves being right. It sustains itself in this way. The problem is it also keeps you from doing what you need to do to move closer to love and truth. The ego is sort of like a weed in this way. It may have pretty flowers for your inner garden, but if left unattended it will choke out all your other plants and leave you in a big mess. When you forgive you allow your heart to open and you separate from the need to be right and instead choose love. This is functioning from your true self. Forgive others and forgive yourself too.
- Let go and observe. Be the interested observer. Let go of trying to be right, trying to win, trying to be seen, trying to be heard. Instead, observe. The ego wants to prove itself and jump up and down to gain love and validation. Our higher self doesn’t need validation. Our higher self knows it IS love. By becoming aware of the ego, and its need to be seen heard and acknowledged, you open up space to be seen and heard without expectation. By observing without ‘expectation’ you then see things as they are. You see people as they are rather than through a projected sense of lack because they are not matching up to your ego’s demands. In this space there is also an opportunity to sit back and observe as to who or who is not functioning from a place where they can offer themselves up emotionally to GIVE love, acceptance, adoration to you. This means we let go of controlling people in an attempt to have our needs to be met. This is freedom. Eckhart Tolle said, ‘’The moment you become aware of the ego in you, it is strictly no longer the ego but just an old, conditioned mind pattern. Ego implies unawareness. Awareness and ego cannot co-exist.’’ There is no denying that the ego serves its purpose. But when the ego becomes the dominant process of your mind, you fall out of alignment with your true self. With practice, you can learn how to manage your ego better and create a practice that feels more peaceful, loving and authentic. As Gandhi said, ‘’When the ego dies the soul awakens’’. Let your ego die…a little more each day…so your own soul can awaken and grow. So your freedom and joy can grow. So, your peace can come forward. Bless your life and your practice by letting go of your ego.
Adapted from www.fearlesssoul.com
About the author:
Dr. Andrew Arnold is a Chiropractor and Founder of the Million Dollar Wellness Intern program.