What is ego? The definition is “a person’s self-esteem or self-importance.” Is ego what drives us humans to be a part of the group? Not sure if anyone else feels like this, but I have always liked to be with people. I want to know them, and I want them to know me. I like to be the interesting one, or the fun one. Is that my ego or the real me?
I haven’t stopped to think, why? Not until the last couple of years. I have been doing some introspection lately and this is something I have landed on. The idea that people notice me and like what they see is important to me. That they enjoy me and what I have to offer this crazy world.
But it comes down to more than that. I know that if I am rejected in any way, it wounds me. Not always deeply, but still. I have begun to recognize that my ego is fragile and as it turns out quite large. Ugh, all this self-realization. Do I love it or hate it? Either way, I know that knowing yourself better creates a happier life, but it isn’t always fun.
So does your ego help or hurt you? I’m sure it can be both, like so many things in this world there is no right answer. Looking deep into my own behaviors, I have discovered that my Ego is not really my friend at the moment. Not to say I should change myself or be less than who I am. However, I need to take a hard look at how I affect others. Am I a positive force? Or do I bulldoze those around me? Because at this point in my life, I care, where I didn’t before.
My ego has controlled me
For most of my life, I have been this big, bold, loud personality. I say the quiet parts out loud. I make off-colored jokes and I just become this force without a care who gets sucked up in the vortex. Usually, people love that part of me and it’s all great, but as I have gotten older I have noticed that I hurt people with my brashness sometimes. I’m not patient and open to them. I just shove myself down their throats.
So as I began to work on myself, I decided to face the fact that sometimes I’m too much! The fear that goes along with any major deep dive into yourself is palpable. That is my ego chiming in with what it thinks is a terrible idea. Self-examination, no way!
Fear is a dirty word to me. Looking at myself and purposefully throwing myself into the fear universe is not something I have ever done. I don’t do close examinations. So as I opened myself up to this new strange world I had to check my ego and ask myself why it matters. I had to tell myself so many things but most of all that fear and change don’t have to go hand in hand. I can look at myself and embrace what I see. There is much more to that than you think.
So when I started a new job after being home with my kids for many years, a large part of me said this is too much, you don’t know anything about anything. What have you done with yourself? I was completely unsure about this new club I would join. Would I fit in? Can I use my typical tactics to win over this new group? But most of all why should I care?
Tame the Beast
These people are professionals after all. What do you know? You’ve been at home for the last ten years. So, you hear all the ideas in your head that your ego tells you that you’re not good enough. I had to embrace the idea that I might not be everybody’s cup of tea. And then I had to tell my ego that it would be okay if I wasn’t.
It’s human nature to want to fit in. I think even possibly a part of our DNA for our survival. Turns out our ego is a little bit of us that helps us fit into society. I guess it was important back in the caveman days, where if you didn’t fit in, you were left out to die on your own. So why would you need to alter your ego now? Is it even possible?
Sometimes what you have created in your ego is not self-serving. It can be a false belief about yourself. Like you’ll never be able to do math, or you’re not beautiful. We spend years and years building our ego self-images. So it goes, detaching from your false beliefs is not an easy task, and as I have found doesn’t happen overnight. And your ego fights back. It can hijack your self-analysis and turn it outward to blame and hides in self-criticism. It takes hard work and practice to peel the layers one by one.
Like anything worthwhile, it takes time to extract our genuine selves from the mess of the ego. A few good practices to take up are forgiveness and letting go. Try to surrender the need to control and practice being authentically honest. And if you’re still having trouble don’t be afraid to ask for help!
So how did it go on the new job?
Turns out, my ego is a big fat liar. I do have a brain that is capable of figuring it out. I am talented and smart and can do a “real” job with other professionals. Taking my own advice I have let go of the control. I am unapologetically me. The loud, outgoing, jokester. I am worthy and I have begun the hard work of self-forgiveness and letting go. My new coworkers are amazing and have embraced the genuine me that has emerged from this big ego.
I am still a work in progress. Those little false beliefs pop back up. I am always working to see the bigger picture, but now I can see the real me in it.
Here are a couple more articles that you might like; 3 Resason We’re Still Trying Deparately Hard to Fit in As Adults, Resilience: 9 Steps on How to Recover Faster From a Set Back