The Ego: How It Runs Your Life
Your ego has a major influence on you.
It can dictate your perceptions.
It guides, shapes, and rules you.
Most of us aren’t aware of this. But we should be.
“Acting like a giant control panel,” explains Jonathan Wells, “our ego can direct how we interpret everything that goes on in our daily experience.”
The interpretative powers of ego can also become a huge obstacle to personal wellbeing and overall health.
Yes, Your Ego Is Big
When people talk about ego, it’s usually in terms of size – “wow he/she has a big ego” – describing someone who is conceited, domineering or arrogant.
“[Ego] is sometimes exclusively portrayed as the negative, self-absorbed aspect of the personality, “say writers from mindunleashed.org
But that’s not the full story.
Ego is basically everything good and bad about who we are.
So whether you are bombastic and arrogant, or a quiet wallflower, your ego is an enormous player in the workings and perceptions of your life.
Why Is The Ego So Big?
Encompassing our value system, beliefs and ideals – all wrapped up into one (seemingly unconscious) level of consciousness, the ego is an authoritative, complicated operation.
It’s also this:
“The ego is the part of us that is always self-conscious and wants to be in control. It comes from a place within that is totally absorbed with our safety, reputation, personal interest, and survival.”
Powerful, isn’t it?
Amazing that most of us don’t know more about it.
How The Ego Affects Your Perceptions
Let’s take a relationship as an example.
I’ll offer a quick, personal ego tale.
I’ve long related in a specific way to a certain individual.
This person (inadvertently) exposes my insecurities, rattles my values, and upsets my notions of perfection and order.
This person shakes up my (overly strict, rigid) notions of what’s right and wrong.
When a stressful situation arises with this person, my ego instructs me to stand up, fight back, and not compromise on my guiding life principles.
This person is not asking for confrontation. This person isn’t intentionally provoking me.
This person is merely revealing – having different values and ideas than I do – who I really am.
In the past, when confronted with this person’s way of relating, I would prime myself for a big argument.
But once I understood the role of ‘ego’ in the relationship, my perception of the relationship changed.
I came to realize that the arousal of my emotions, through this person, originates inside of me. It’s part of my baggage.
I have my values, this person has a different set of values, and in a normal life, the two shall clash.
The only baggage I can change in the relationship is mine.
Having realized this, I am no longer on the defensive with this person. My ego still pushes hard to protect me, and it likely will continue to raise my hackles in this relationship, because I am entitled to my values, opinions (and even my personal baggage.)
But I don’t always have to respond to my ego’s dictates.
I can choose to stay calm, instead.
The other person in the relationship no longer anticipates my routine defensiveness. I’m more serene, too, no longer allowing my ego to control my reaction.
The fact about the ego is that we all have preconceived notions and inflexible ideals that lurk in us, that guide us (often wrongly) as ‘truth,’ that severely limit us.
This is the ego at work.
If you have people in your life that you find difficult, or whose value system conflicts with yours, don’t discount your own role in the cantankerous situation.
If you’re dealing with a life event that’s annoying and impossible, the same applies.
Ask yourself these questions:
- Does this person’s behaviour (or does this situation) intimidate me? How?
- Does this person make me unusually angry? Why?
- Is there something in my value system or beliefs system that determines how I handle (and view) this person or thing?
- Do I want to improve this situation?
Not all relationships or situations can be salvaged with an ego assessment. Some relationships are impossible. Some situations need to go away to improve.
The idea here is not to ‘fix’ other people, because as I’ve discussed before, here – trying to fix others is folly.
But finding out how your ego influences relationships, situations and life events is enlightening.
It’s this simple: when you understand Your Ego, you better understand yourself.
The opportunity for improved relationships and new open-minded perceptions will follow.
For More Information:
“Personal Development – Is Your Ego Getting In the Way?” http://advancedlifeskills.com/blog/personal-development-%E2%80%93-is-your-ego-getting-in-the-way/
“What is the Ego and Why Does it Make Us Suffer?” http://themindunleashed.org/2015/04/what-is-the-ego-and-why-does-it-make-us-suffer.html
“Your Ego is Running The Show and What To Do About It” http://shakeoffthegrind.com/spirituality/is-your-ego-running-the-show-5-warning-signs-and-what-to-do-about-it