Your Ego Is Not Your Enemy

Defined as a person’s sense of self-esteem, the ego has become a sort of villain in the personal development community.

Your ego is not your enemy. Your ego is not an excuse for being obnoxious, arrogant, or self-centered.

Your ego is simply who you think you are. Your ego is either the reason you are walking through hell or the reason you often catch a glimpse of heaven.

If you look within, you are able to venture in the center of your fears and confront them. If you look around, you are often told that those fears are who you truly are.

You Must First Develop A Strong Sense of Self

The ego being portrayed as the primary source of unhappiness is a simplistic truth. It’s, in a way, true. But it’s also false.

The truth is rather nuanced. The truth is that you need a strong sense of self in order to achieve your goals and ambitions.

Most people don’t have much of an ego, thus they gravitate towards being who others want or need them to be.

A strong sense of self saves you from paying this price. A strong sense of self means that if you define yourself as someone who’s physically fit, you will either find a way to stay fit or die trying.

That’s what the ego does. It allows us to create an internal reality that we then project in the real world. What we see when we venture inward becomes the thing we see when we look in the mirror.

Without a strong sense of self, achievement and mastery are almost impossible.

Mastery Is The Side-Effect of A Strong Sense of Self

According to psychologists, a strong sense of self is required in order to become a high-achiever.

We are not just who we think we are, but also who we think others think we are.

The strongest aspects of the ego are when the two are aligned. When perception and desire become one.

If you define yourself as “the best,” you will do whatever you can do be the best. If you believe everyone else requires that you be that good, you will find the energy that did not exist to make it happen.

Some argue that this type of energy is destructive.

The opposite is equally true. If there’s no sense of self, you are destined to spend your life believing, and rightly so, that hell is other people.

If you ask the world who you are, you will receive an answer that is far from pleasing. Having no ego at all is a shortcut to becoming helpless or worse.

If The Ego Is Not The Enemy, What Is?

The default setting. That’s the real villain of your life’s story. The mental laziness that comes with you always choosing the path of least resistance.

That path often leads to hell.

We are self-centered and arrogant because our default setting tells us we are the center of the universe. Without us, the universe could not exist, because we wouldn’t be around to experience it.

It is not a matter of being perceived in a certain way. It’s not a desire, but a reflex.

And that’s why we suffer.

That’s why we can’t stand to wait in line, why we don’t like to be told what to do, why we believe our boss is a jerk, or why we end up arguing with our significant other.

The default setting is just trying to keep us alive. It’s being locked in survival mode, even if it doesn’t seem that way. Yes, our palms our not sweaty, yet we are trying to do whatever we can to be the first in line…

It does seem an awful lot like having an inflated sense of self until you realize that it’s mostly a way to ruin your day-to-day life. It’s not a desire to conquer the world, or even oneself, but a strong reflex to not be the last.

You’re all “me, me, me” by default because the alternative is being the beta in the group, the last one to get access to resources.

To fight this enemy, you have to look inward for a definition of who you are and outward to properly calibrate that definition according to who others need you to be.

Like I’m so fond of saying, life is a balancing act. It often feels like walking on a bridge of dreams, with who we’d like to be on one side, and who’d others want us to be on the other.

We are often stuck in the middle, trying to navigate through the day-to-day trenches of life.

The trouble arises when we go with either of the two options, and the results are tragic either way.

Go with the default option, the ego-centrism born out of fear of being ignored, ridiculed, or isolated from others and you will develop the kind of ego that is repugnant.

If you go in the other direction, though, you are a leaf in the wind. You are shapeless, and you will have to shape yourself in order to accommodate the most unrealistic of perceptions.

In order to develop a true sense of self, you have to define yourself in such a way that you can easily help those around you, or at least not hurt them.

It’s as simple as that.

But it’s not easy. It’s a battle that never ends. It’s a battle you have to fight with yourself and your desire to conquer the world, and a battle you have to fight with all those around you who are trying to conquer your sense of self to best suit their needs.

Look inward to define yourself, but also constantly calibrate in order to bring value to others as well.

In other words, your ego is not your enemy. Your desire for a life without having to go through the struggle of defining yourself is.

11 Comments

  1. Good to see you back to writing again, Cristian!

    For me, Ego is a necessary ingredient for the Individual to be able to say confidently, “I Am that I Am”
    At the deepest part of the Human Being, every Individual meets God Alone, for the Good or Evil!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Ego is central like gravity for the earth. wthout gravity the planet would fall apart and so would we without ego. But how it is employed is important. Ego is the basis of survival, to protect ourentity from destruction. but when we employ it not merely for survival but to aggrandise on others for an exaggerated need for survival then it becomes an evil as it goes beyond its essential purpose.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This type of post is not one you can read just once. It’ll lose a lot of its value if you do so. At the very least, read it in the morning when you rise and the same day before you settle down to rest. Food for thought. Word to self.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. After that he poured water into a bason, and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel wherewith he was girded.
      Then he came to Simon Peter: and Peter said to him, Lord, do you wash my feet?
      Jesus answered and said to him, What I do you know not now; but you shall know hereafter.
      Peter said to him, You shalt never wash my feet. Jesus answered him, If I wash you not, you have no part with me.

      Simon Peter said to him, Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head.
      Jesus said to him, He that is washed needs not save to wash his feet, but is clean every whit: and you are clean, but not all.
      For he knew who should betray him; therefore said he, You are not all clean.

      So after he had washed their feet, and had taken his garments, and was set down again, he said to them, Know you what I have done to you?
      You call me Master and Lord: and you say well; for so I am.

      If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; you also ought to wash one another’s feet.
      For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you.
      An example of Good Ego in practice.

      The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,
      Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.

      Like

  4. Cristian,
    Thanks very much for getting all of us readers to consider what our “ego” actually is? Regardless of what some may say, I believe that everyone has an ego. On some, it may be very small and unrecognizable, whereas others have such a large one we consider it beyond the pale. As you rightly say “Your ego is not your enemy”, it just needs to be of sufficient size to provide a measure of self confidence, and at the same time, not offensive to others. I think the term is egocentric when it adversely effects others? One should be proud enough of ones own strengths to not hide it away from others, but to show it with humility and confidence. Your pathway through life will be smoother and with less self doubts. Perhaps some of your other readers may like to provide their input, because everyone has something to offer, it is just a matter of finding it! Thanks once again Cristian, you have done it again.
    Regards, Phil at http://knowledge-data.net.

    Liked by 1 person

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