This article is about how we can recognize our Ego when it comes out to play. Understanding our Ego helps us to better understand ourselves, our relationships, and what we need to heal from to live happier and more peaceful lives.
To put it simply:
Ego = The Unconscious Mind
Before we move on, it’s important to know that we are not our thoughts.
All day, our mind chatters. We are constantly liking, disliking, judging, thinking about the past or worried about the future. We think this voice in the background is a necessary and natural byproduct of biologic intelligence.
Plato’s quote, “I think, therefore I am,” implies that our thoughts make us who we are. But surprise! Plato was straight up wrong, bro.
We are not our thoughts, we are the observer of them.
So, What is Ego?
Ego is a multi-faceted identity that we take on to live out who we are.
When you were little and your mom told you that you were special, she helped to form the first of your Ego. As a child, you begin to understand difference between “you” and others, realizing that you are a separate individual with your own needs and wants.
As you grow older and observe your environment, you take on the words and feelings expressed by the people around you, and you decide if they are a part of you, too. Someone asks you, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” And the more you think about it, the more your Ego grows, becoming further complicated & defined everyday.
This identity is not truly you, but a collection of ideas and constructs fed to you as you were growing up and learning who you should be.
Why Do We Have Ego?
The Ego is a part of every one of us. As long as we live in this world, Ego exists to allow us to live and play the roles that we are meant to. It is not inherently bad as you might believe, as it is necessary for our personalities to thrive.
Our Ego is also basically our survival blueprint; it is programmed to remember all the times we’ve been hurt.
The Ego, by nature, fiercely protects itself from danger- real or not. The MOMENT our subconscious is reminded of an unhealed past trauma, our Ego sends in a red flag and the defenses come up.
Ever wonder why people get so defensive when you trigger them? You must have reminded their Ego of some old, unresolved pain and alerted their subconscious defense mechanism.
Their Ego thinks it is protecting them, but it only hurts them even more by masking the pain of a past experience, only for it to come back up again the next time they are triggered.
This article is not about how to reject our Ego, but rather, to understand it enough to lovingly make it who we want to be. We want to explore the emotional triggers, so we can release the old pain.
This isn’t easy because often, Ego thinks: I am ‘this‘, and I must live as ‘this,’ because ‘this‘ is all I know. When we unconsciously build our Ego for most of our lives, it takes a fair amount of conscious effort to break it down and rebuild it.
You, at your very core, are free of fear, judgement, anxiety, and any other negative thought or emotion. You, as a spirit, are free of Ego. You are awareness of these emotions. You simply watch the emotions play like you watch the sun rise and the sun set. You are a witness to the story.
So… What is My Ego Again? I’m Confused
It’s confusing because the Ego is more of a concept than an actual entity.
Your Ego is your unconscious mind. Your unconscious mind consists of the thoughts that run without your awareness of it.
- sticks to a set of values & doesn’t want to change
- judges yourself & other people
- is thinking about the past, or is worried about the future
- gets triggered & reacts without thinking
Let Your Ego Heal
Breathe. Meditate. Write your thoughts down and become aware of them. To heal your ego, become conscious of your thoughts, triggers, and values.
Who are you, really?
How much of your identity actually came from within? How much of your identity did you let others define for you? How many labels have you attached yourself to?
Ask yourself these questions and write down your answers in a journal. You are more than any label, title, accomplishment, possession, or experience.
Your Ego also has trigger words. There are certain situations, people, or things that might spark a fire of negative emotion within you. Identify your triggers. Be honest about what it is about yourself that you need to heal from.
You are light. You are love. You are watching yourself play this game of life, and know that nothing can actually hurt you.
Ego Enjoys Suffering
It’s hard to understand, but realize that your Ego actually enjoys being depressed. It enjoys victimizing itself. It enjoys taking on the pain and darkness of the world because this makes it feel important. There’s a certain sweetness to the suffering.
For example, I had a conversation with a woman during a trip. She told me how horrible & awful it was that there were children starving in the world. “My sister doesn’t let me go on Facebook because I’ll cry for hours every time I see those videos,” she said to me. Oh, I thought at first, she’s must be really compassionate.
She left and the heavy energy around me lifted. I began to realize… what a waste of time! Why be overwhelmed by events completely out of your control! It didn’t make sense. She let her Ego make her believe that taking on this unnecessary pain was actually helpful in some way.
You can’t put a fire out with more fire. You can’t help the world be a better place by crying about how much it sucks.
Ego uses suffering like a drug that you can lose yourself in, one that frees you of any responsibility in deeply evaluating your personal psyche, childhood trauma, and negative thought patterns. It’s easy to ignore the truth when it doesn’t align with the stories you learned to believe about who you are. It’s your one-way flight to continued suffering.
The Opposite of Ego is Love
Love is the answer to every question. When you choose to love, Ego dissipates. When you speak loving, kind, and forgiving words to yourself and others, Ego cannot exist. When you embrace gratitude, patience, and forgiveness, Love beats Ego.
Remember how important it is to be aware of your thoughts? This way, you can redirect any ideas that do not align with your highest truth: that you and all other life is sacred, you are loved fully and unconditionally, and nothing can threaten your safety.
Learn to tell the difference between the thoughts that bring you comfort and peace, and the thoughts that are fear-based or triggering. If the thoughts are loving, they are yours. If not, they belong to Ego.
Ego does not exist when your mind is quiet. Meditation. Is. Important. It is during meditation that you are most connected to your Higher Self and are able to receive your truth.
It’s not that we have to destroy our ego, because that isn’t possible. Ego teaches us by revealing what we need to heal from. With awareness and presence, understanding our triggers opens up avenues for healing.
Separating from Ego
The way to separate your Self from Ego is by being totally and completely present, in the Now.
When you are present, you acknowledge the God within you. In the Now, the past and future do not exist. There is no illusion to create thoughts, perceptions or judgments from. When you are here, fully at peace, completely aware, you are free of thought and free of Ego.
When you are present, you feel the eternal love of the universe surrounding the energy around and within you. Colors are brighter and the world makes just a little bit more sense. You become part of the greater collective and you know you never alone.
Nothing can ever harm you here. Not your own thoughts, not anyone else’s opinions, and not life itself. Here, you feel the collective consciousness. We are all connected and everything happens for the highest good of humanity.
So there it is. The key to your awakening. Meditate. Stay still. Listen to your thoughts without judging them. Observe without judgement. You are never your mind, nor your thoughts, so let them pass like water running down a river. Let it happen, and then come home to yourself, your space of meditation. When you are here, you are home, you are loved, and all is forgiven. Nothing else matters except that you are healing and growing because you are facing your truth.
Reflect the thoughts that come and go. Understand them, embrace them, and appreciate them. This is all part of the journey to become our best selves. Recognize that you are not your Ego. You are the Spirit that walks with Ego on earth to become the best Self you can be.
All you need is to choose love. Love for yourself, love for others, and love for the world we live in. Love always wins.