What did she just say to me? How dare she critique my article. Who does she think she is, I've been doing this work for over 10 years! I'm pissed off...going to get a double glazed doughnut, maybe two.
Yikes! Ego gone awry.
What is ego? Ego is the false, reactive sense of self. Unfortunately, ego controls and run most peoples lives every day. Ego is strong willed, loves control and is not going anywhere.
So how do you take back control? How do you co-exist with this huge force? Fortunately, you can co-exist peacefully with ego. A peaceful co-existence begins with being aware of how ego impacts your life.
Once you become aware of the ego and it's purpose, everything changes. You will begin to recognize it when it surfaces and you'll begin to see how your emotions are controlled by ego. And most important, your awareness will allow you time to shift before it gets out of hand.
I hear a lot of talk about "eradicating the ego" but I don't think of terms of eradicating, getting rid of the ego, that's too much energy. Rather, I think more in terms of a peaceful co-existence through awareness.
I don't see my ego as evil... rather I see it as a bratty child insisting on getting it's way. Sometimes I'll let my child thrash out a bit... just a little to give him a voice and acknowledge him. Then I'll reign him in with awareness before he really gets out of control.
How to Tame Your Wild Child
As situations occur and you begin feeling a certain way, angry, uncomfortable, sad, unworthy, inferior, reactive or impulsive, take a breath and focus your awareness on your initial reaction,feeling. Begin asking yourself what's really going on, why you are feeling these emotions and where are they coming from.
After identifying your feelings, visualize that little child thrashing about (ego) acknowledge him and tell him to relax. Take a few deep breaths until you see him settle down.
Think about the situation at hand and begin looking at it from a different, calmer and non-reactive perspective. Pivot your thoughts with the intention to getting to the core.
As you "sit with it" for a while you are able to get to the root of the issue. Most of the time, what comes up immediately is not the real issue, it's ego trying block you from dealing with the real issue. In it's own way, ego is trying to protect you because it thinks you can't deal with the real problem.
Ego driven scenario
At work, you and your manager disagree on your project plan. She's not happy with what you've produced and ask that you to tweak it and get back to her. Your initial reaction is anger, indignation and sadness. You want to shout and bitch about it or you want to push it down with mindless food.
This is the time to pause, take a look at your bratty child thrashing about. Watch him for awhile and then tell him to relax. Take a few minutes and think about what you're really feeling. Are you feeling insecure or embarrassed because your work was questioned? Are you feeling smug and superior with the "how dare she question my work" attitude. By the way, smugness and a superiority attitude are both ego based.
Pivot thoughts to..."perhaps it can be better, maybe I didn't get the full vision of what she was looking for, perhaps I can learn something from the outcome.
As time goes on, and you sharpen your awareness to ego, you will be able to let your little bratty child have his voice and you'll notice that in time, it will become less aggressive. When he rears his head, acknowledge him with awareness and he'll calm down and go about his business allowing you to co-exist peacefully.
As I wrote this piece, I thought about the late, great Debbie Ford and her Shadow Work. She often referred to ego as one of the shadow spaces in us all. I deeply miss her voice.
Deborah Skye is a teacher, energy medicine practitioner, speaker, writer/blogger, and creator of SoulConnection Wellness. She has dedicated her life to helping women in midlife re-ignite their passion, discover their authenticity and share their light with the world. Deborah has created a series of SoulConnection Wellness eCourses, eBooks, webinars and workshops to support clients while on their journey.