Ego O my Ego

While often blamed on the personal growth and spiritual journey, let’s take a moment to look at our ego. Before being observed as a value of humility of modesty, or most often the lack of theses, the primary function of your ego is to allow your positioning into your human experience. Its definition in dictionaries is pretty simple: the ego is the image and the consciousness we have of ourselves. To go even deeper, its Latin roots simply defines it as the: “I”.

Between the ego and the “I” a world was built!

In many cultures, the ego was assimilated to the selfish “I” rather than for its awareness of the self. For leaders of human history, having people becoming aware of themselves, of their needs and the respect of the later, is a menace to their power; a person aware of his limits and respecting his needs is less likely to be manipulated. The “I” became naturally an emblem of egoism or pretentiousness. If it was true and applicable for some people, for many it instilled the guilt of having needs. This belief is unfortunately perpetuated in many personal development movements that suggest you bewareof your ego. However, it is not the ego that needs to be watched out for, but the persona that we build The ego is not an attitude nor behaviour, being an egoist is an action dictated by the personality.

To better understand the ego, one could simply observe life’s evolution.

Take a child, at the beginning of its life he will need others to survive. Then he will grow and become independent while learning to speak and walk. At that moment his self (ego) will appear at the same time that his phase of “no” will rise. This period is the beginning of his affirmation of needs and identity.

His Identity will keep evolving during his entire life. But as a result of this first phase, the child will take his position in his family. He will begin to build its personality on the basis of what he deducted from the experiment of the “no” and the answer that he received at that time. This child would have observed how the social interaction was done, what gets him closer or farther from people, and what would have made him feel loved or rejected. He will finally adapt his behaviours according to his understanding of a situation to try to be loved and cared for.

This scenario will be repeated throughout his life to allow him to position himself in the world. Around the teenage-hood, he will leave the cocoon and now his scholar environment will become his social reference. He will then act as he did in the first years of his life, testing what brings people close or far from him, trying to build a tribe as an extended version of a chosen family. As a young adult, he will do the same during his studies or at work. And finally, he will possibly become parent and apply the same technique of learning. At each step of life, the human being will have a moment of positioning into society…

Each phase of the human function through a period of construction of the being and will evolve into a period of sharing with society. By doing so, either by embodying who he is, speaking or creating, he will allow others to evolve. It does not mean that the world will agree with his theories or conclusion. But rather, the fact that when sharing ideas, others are emerging and could influence or impact others or event societies.

Take the example of revolutions or technical evolutions. It is thanks to the ego that it came to life. If the Lumière brothers (the first film maker in history) would have the only function with what they knew rather than follow the calling of their creativity, fiction movies would maybe not have been born. In this regard, their ego allowed them to respond to their inner calling and thus influence other creators and impact us on almost daily bases with TV or movies.

It is what we could call the consciousness evolution. It emerges from an individual and with his energy and the rooting of its ego. This individual will dare to be different. He will propagate to society, or even the world, his ideas and the collective will absorb its impact or inspiration.

The ego illusion…

But what does mean standing for yourself? Stepping on others? No! Far from it.Taking a stand for yourself is simply beginning to listen to your needs, values or limits. It is also recognizing yourselfas a being; building your self-confidence by validating your qualities and competencies; but also, to recognize that you have the right to exist.

But to do so, one needs to ask oneself what it wants beyond what one was taught and beyond the masks that were built to be liked or loved. These masks are often called ego, but it would be more accurate to call them the illusion of the ego, as they were built on beliefs acquired through a need of identification or recognition from others.

Ego can be benevolent, loving and generous!

Your real ego is the one that you want to build, not on the image of you, but on what you deeply want to share with the world.

It requires you to free yourself from fears of rejection, abandonment or humiliation.Needless to say, it won’t be done in a day, but it is a beautiful path to choose. It also requires some courage of you, but you have way more than you think. In addition, you do not need to change radically to be in tune with your ego.

To sum up, listening to your ego, your “I”, is not surrendering to the know-it-all in you, that stares at its bellybutton and loves walking on others’ head. These are projections liaised to idioms that were wrongly using the word ego… Maybe it’s to better silent it.

Idioms like “what an ego he has”, “are you on an ego-trip?”, “stroke someone’s ego” are coming from an incorrect use of the word ego or even a fear from the other power. As a matter of fact, assertive people or people who know their value when they speak about themselves will often be judged by others’ beliefs or filters. And remember, standing up for your beliefs and yourself does not mean that you are right. However, it means that you are right by you.

How to meet your true ego?

Embracing your ego and using it wisely will require you to recognise your needs and to respect them. But also, to identify what are your expectation from others and being the first to serve you:

  • Recognize your weakness for the quality they can offer you
  • Recognize your dark sides (your shadow or the part of you that you do not appreciate that much) for the clarity they can bring about who you can be
  • Identify your judgment and expectations and confront them to check their accuracy

Your ego can be your strength and motivation to pursue your one alchemy process, your transformation and self-awareness.

Use it wisely.

Christel Mesey
Online Life-Coach & Author