Ego and the false self

You are not who you think you are. Who you think you are is who you think you are.

A friend called me egotistical the other day. It’s not the first time I’ve been accused of having an ego. Usually, I just laugh and brush it off, even take it as a compliment. I don’t mind being a little cocky. The statement was laced with undertones so I knew she wasn’t simply referring to me as arrogant, she was poking at something deeper. I was defensive about it naturally, but I’ve been turning it over in my mind lately.

There is the idea of ego as arrogance or pride, the internal narrative of being superior to others. we all know some people like that (yours truly, lol..just half kidding). And yes, this element of pride always comes into play in some form when we talk about egos. But there is the deeper layer of the ego as the ‘false self’ according to Eastern and Verdic tradition. This false self is a bundle of expectations, anxieties, insecurities and neurosis. Your ego/self is so desperate to remain alive and validated it becomes a scared tyrant attacking every perceived threat or thing that contradicts it. You clam up, you wall off, you resist life, only accepting the things that make sense to your ego.

Lately I’ve been thinking…’Sometimes you don’t accept a thing into your life because you think you need or deserve other things because of who you think you are in your head, things that actually wouldn’t fulfil you when you get them but are really just accessories to complement your ego. You miss out on the things that would actually make you happy’.

Your true self is deeper than that. Once you strip away everything, the ideas of who you are, and the boxes that places you in, you get the opportunity to meet life as it truly is. To connect authentically with others, to be vulnerable, to hurt and forgive, to learn, to grow, to expand, to be truly and harmoniously human.


Originally published at otoabasibassey.com on April 13, 2016.