Our ego isn’t our enemy, but it isn’t serving us either. This isn’t about being a narcissist or self-absorbed; it’s about protection:
Your ego preserves the current image we have of ourselves & works to prevent all change TO THAT IMAGE, including changes that could be good for us because it doesn’t know if we’ll survive the transition.
The Ego is At Work When:
– You feel FEAR or SELF-SABOTAGE whenever you make changes in your life.
– You are EXHAUSTED after conversations: your ego is trying to project an image of you that it thinks people will approve of.
What Ego Self feels like:
- Uncertain about our wants or intense resistance to pursuing our dreams.
- Indecision & procrastination.
- We become hyper-vigilant to criticism & sensitive to being “disregarded.”
- Abandoning our true Self to become someone other people will approve of.
- We need to prove we are good enough to earn love and value.
- Labelling or putting other people down to protect ourselves, which we do by defending or proving our beliefs.
- Vacillating between the lows & highs of tension & self-elation.
- Self-oriented; preserving the Self takes priority over our relationships or the feelings of others.
- Different beliefs feel like a threat to our own because accepting that “different” is ok implies our opinions may be “wrong.”
True Self VS Ego Self:
1. Sensitive to criticism:
The EGO hates to be wrong; in fact, it can’t be wrong to survive. So when anyone has a different opinion from us or disagrees with us, the ego feels threatened.
It responds to otherwise minor disagreements as though its life is on the line because, in many ways, it is. The ego’s life is all about preserving things as they are. Any threat to that IS a threat to its life.
The TRUE SELF, by comparison, knows its worth is inherent and exists without requiring others to agree with us. Disagreements are not a threat because self-value isn’t rooted in others agreeing with us. We can accept others’ opinions without personalizing them.
2. Labelling Others & Accepting Differences:
The EGO-SELF can’t accept different beliefs because if others are correct, we could be wrong. So therefore, it will label & judge others or put them down to keep itself/us lifted higher.
TRUE SELF wouldn’t have to label anyone. It sees other opinions as a result of a lifetime of different experiences from ours. Different beliefs, therefore, are neutral and not a threat to our importance.
3. Self Focus and Others Focus:
The EGO is self-oriented & preserving the Self takes priority over our relationships or the feelings of others.
On the other hand, the TRUE SELF can recognize the worth of others. Therefore, we can value what others think and feel without threatening our importance.
The EGO-driven Self regularly abandons their ideas to become someone other people will approve of. This is because it needs to prove we are good enough to earn love and value.
The TRUE SELF maintains its integrity and doesn’t change to fit the occasion. Its worth is independent of approval and exists without effort & its value doesn’t require others to agree with us.
What True Self feels like:
- Able to freely enjoy & connect with what WE LOVE.
- Acceptance of others’ opinions without personalizing them.
- Maintaining our integrity by being true to the Self, independent of approval.
- We know our worth is inherent, not earned & our worth exists without effort.
- Our sense of Self isn’t rooted in external approval of our opinions & doesn’t require others to agree with us.
- Accompanied by a feeling of openness & grounded self-worth.
- We recognize the worth of others. We can value what others think & feel without it threatening our importance.
- See different beliefs neutrally due to different experiences, not a reflection of worth. Thus we don’t have to defend our beliefs by putting down theirs.
It is exhausting to be ego-driven: you are always putting up a false front or are on guard looking for a threat.
INSTEAD, Learn to appreciate yourself:
Get to know what you value and enjoy. Then, choose to spend time in those areas instead of ones that deplete your resources.
Instead of being driven by insecurity & self-doubt, drive Yourself by directing your attention to those areas that light you up.
Forget about what lights others up.
Forget about creating something to gain something else. Just create. Be You.
This is not to say we become self-focused; the opposite is true. True-Self orientation means we can be Self AND others’ focused.
We’re better able to give once we’ve learned what we LOVE TO GIVE.
The POWER of Perspective Change