Master Your Ego or Forever Be Its Slave
You ego can help you live a better life if you take charge of it
You have an Ego for a reason
Just like you have eyes to see, ears to hear, kidneys to filter out toxins from your body (the list does go on) your Ego exists to serve you some purpose. It may not have a well-defined purpose like your body parts, and many of us may not understand it well enough to know exactly why it exists, but it is a part of us for a reason — it has to be.
Many of us don’t understand our Egos well enough to define it for ourselves, instead it is often expressed through superiority and inferiority, which isn’t an honest expression of it. We try to have more than others, speak louder than them, or do something else to give us a sort of leverage over them, but this is fragile because it won’t be long before someone else can use this to gain leverage over us.
Our Ego can lead us down the wrong path if we don’t take the time to understand it
We ignore criticism pointing us to our weaknesses and try to protect our weaknesses instead of strengthening them. We fight back with arguments to see who’s wrong and who’s right instead of taking a moment to see what’s really going on and finding a reasonable way forward. We try to gain superiority. We rebel when we should be taking a moment to better invest our efforts.
It may be a part of our dark side, but that doesn’t mean it is a bad part of us. It has the potential to be useful, to serve us, to help us rebel against what is wrong, to stand up for what is right, to push us further than we imagined we could go.
And so, our Ego is a beast we need to tame, not with inferiority or superiority, like raising our voice to be macho, trying to have more than others, or doing something unreasonable to gain leverage over others, but we need to tame this beast for ourselves.
Because our Ego is there to help us be unreasonable
I know that seems a bit confusing, but think about what our Ego does to us — it puts us in this unreasonable state where we rebel against anything and everything. We fight back against the things that people say and do, even if we have to be disrespectful, in fact, our disrespect feels justified. But, we need to be in control of this power so we can be unreasonable for the right reasons.
When would that be? Think about when people doubt you or when they say you can’t achieve something, you need some arrogance to stay committed to your goals, you need something inside of you that’s stronger, that will help you believe in yourself long before others do. Why? Because it’s like George Bernard Shaw said, sometimes progress depends on the unreasonable person.
But how would someone tame such a beast?
It is simple but it is far from being something easy — if it wasn’t, everyone would befriend their dark side.
But, if I could share my own experiences, it’s sort of like no longer leaving yourself helpless in that egotistical state, it’s you being conscious of it, being aware of it, and steering it instead of being steered by it. It’s you taking a moment to detach and speak with yourself, with reason and honesty, to see what’s really going on inside and outside yourself — this is often the biggest hurdle.
From here, what you say to yourself is important because this will influence the decisions you make. You need to be honest enough to see whether this moment matters and from there decide how much of you it really needs. You need to figure out the best way forward — you need to ask yourself what you should say and do, and how you should go about it it. Like, what can you do now that will bring you progress and not regret?
Because there will be consequences
Think about if you had to ignore a bully today, you risk getting bullied again tomorrow. For taking on a challenge, you risk losing. If you choose to argue, you risk hurting your relationships. With every decision we make, there will always be consequences we have to face, we just have to figure out which consequences we’re willing to live with.
But for something righteous, the consequences will be necessary. This may seem a bit extreme, but it’s kind of like choosing to give up your life so that people precious to you can live — this by no means makes it easy to give up your life or face a tremendous amount of suffering, but to save the people you love, or people that deserve to live, your Ego will help you stay true to this decision.
So, more than anything else, I believe a big part of having an Ego is to help us do something righteous even if it is difficult
To learn when we fail, to improve when we don’t feel like it, to stay committed to healthy relationships, to stand up for what’s right, to worry about things that actually matter — we need our Ego, we need to keep it for ourselves as a relentless force to help us persevere and fight for our peace every day.
It may not be as easy to master as using our eyes and ears because our Ego is not as apparent as these parts of us. But like many of us who get better with using our eyes and ears every day, so too can we better use our Ego with every conversation and every decision we make — it’s all about practice.
So explore your darkness, learn when to call upon it and how to work with it because it will be much better for you to face life’s battles with a shield and a sword.
“The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. But no price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself.” ― Friedrich Nietzsche
Invest In Your Existence, Kind Reader,