Recently I have been having a lot of conversations with clients, colleagues, and friends about ego. The problem is not so much that we all have an ego. If we made that the problem, well then we would all be doomed because, well, get used to it, we all have one.
And if you are anything like me, and don’t plan on being enlightened in this lifetime, then we might as well find a different way to relate with this thing we call ego.
Enlightenment, really? Doesn’t that mean I’d also have to stop eating that flourless chocolate cake I love so much? Well, maybe not. But here is what I do see…
Ego: We vilify it, demonize it, think it is some kind of ruthless scoundrel. We often recognize when someone else’s ego is left “unchecked”. And when we do see it in others, we can get all self-righteous and sanctimonious. Isn’t that a bit hypocritical? Oh shit! Now there I go again. Back in my ego! Yup- me too!
What I have come to realize, is that when my ego is gaining momentum, it is just a cry for attention. My ego can be judgmental, opinionated, needy, and controlling. I can go on, but I am sure you know what I am talking about. And the more it attempts to be seen, the less attractive and more narrow minded I get. I lose kindness, understanding, and any sense of connection. I feel alone and completely unsupported. Let’s just say it sucks.
Yet the reality is that my experience of life is never being created from any circumstance outside myself. It is coming from in me. So this experience of feeling unsupported, and separate is really just a call for help.
So now when my ego is gearing up, I slow down.
I say hello…
“Well hello old friend.” You again? I notice your gearing up again. I know you’ve been with me for a long time, but the last time I let you handle this situation, it really did not go all that well. I know, I know… you want some attention. Well, that’s okay. I got this one. I’m going to take good care of this and you, so you can let go of your grip and relax”.
What I humbly and honestly believe, is that more I get to know and befriend my ego, the better off I am. Because what is hidden to us has power over us, but what we know and understand cannot harm us, and will indeed set you free!
When I pause and pay attention to my ego in a curious sort of way, I see that this thing I am calling ego, is just a part of me that so badly wants to be seen and wants connection. Heck, don’t we all?
When I notice I am being judgmental, or controlling, I now start to slow down. I now sometimes laugh and say to myself, “you again”?
I find more lightness and more kindness for that part of myself. And the interesting thing is, I find I have much more compassion for others when their ego is popping off, because I know that only hurting people, hurt people.
I recognized a long time ago, that I am not here in this lifetime to get enlightened. So, if that is the case, I probably need to be okay with all parts of my humanness and that includes my ego.
And that is what I believe it is really all about anyway. We humans are perfectly imperfect. We are made of the same energy and atoms that created the universe. We are all part of the same whole. We have an infinite potential for creative new thought so if you don’t like what your ego is thinking and doing, slow down and let it go, remember what you are made of, and I promise you that the rest will take care of itself.
So give your ego the day off. I promise you won’t regret it.