What About Our Sensitive Egos?
First of all, I am not a trained psychologist, my ego felt it important to qualify that from the beginning. What I am, as a sensitive person, is a deep observer of human nature.
Ego — so much written on this topic from a clinical standpoint, from a spiritual growth point of view.
So, how does it really show up for us?
I read an amazing blog post several years ago by Dr. Elaine Aron where she writes about the biblical story of Joseph and the multicolored coat; as a metaphor for how HSPs relate to ego.
On one hand, Joseph had been given the special gift of prophesy and receiving the coat of many colors marked him as his father’s favorite; while at the same time he was ostracized and sold into slavery by his brothers out of jealousy.
As sensitive people, do we feel special because our biology allows us to tune in more deeply to everything around us?
We can also feel incredibly isolated when people don’t understand our gifts or are even afraid of what we see, hear or know.
This may lead us to hold back or even hide who we are, as we feel uncomfortable when others feel uncomfortable.
We might tell ourselves it’s better to try to fit in, to adjust ourselves to the rest of society.
Or, we might choose the other direction: into aloofness, separating ourselves from those who ‘can’t possibly understand.’
That’s a lonely place.
I’ve observed that ego often gets a bad rap. Freud wrote about our superego as the ‘monitoring parent’, which regulates our conscious activity through guilt and imposing structure.
Some spiritual teachings encourage us to eliminate ego altogether, labeling it nothing more than our instinctual, lower nature.
What happens then?
I believe ego has a key role to play, especially for HSPs.
The best definition of ego is our conscious sense of self, because that reminds us we have a choice in how we view ourselves and our place in the world.
I’ve been on a lifelong journey in search of the middle ground — fully honoring my gifts without getting too full of myself.
I realized for many years I used to walk around with my eyes downcast, not wanting to draw too much attention.
I knew deep inside I had great things to offer, but didn’t know how to own my gifts without coming across as arrogant. I had the mistaken belief that only the deepest humility was acceptable.
Recently, I’ve found myself looking everyone I meet, straight in the eye. Exuding confidence to let more of who I am shine out, being unapologetically me.
A willingness to talk about what I have to offer from a place of centeredness. Not diminishing in any way and not being a braggart either.
Honoring others’ gifts, holding space for their highest good. Realizing that success for all is also success for me.
This shift into authenticity has been incredible. No more hiding, no more chameleon.
You see, Joseph’s story has a happy ending. He owns his personal power and becomes a high ruler of Egypt, saving thousands of people from famine. Most importantly, he reunites with his family and offers forgiveness for their actions based on the strong emotion of jealousy.
He realized that we all make mistakes sometimes in our attempt to reconcile our sensitive egos.
Are you ready to look others in the eye with confidence? To identify and own your gifts? To be unapologetically you?
Three Thresholds to Authenticity is a small group coaching experience for highly sensitive people. We meet weekly online for three months, tackling important topics such as releasing the need to be perfect and many others.
I am enrolling now for the group that begins in January. If you are interested in diving deeper, I invite you to reach out at email@example.com.
To your highest good,