What is ego?
It’s that little voice in your head that makes you think and feel that everything is about you, whether good or bad. It’s what that keeps us away from the present moment. Ego can be good, when it hits you on that spot which ultimately gives you the adrenaline rush that drives you to do something you never thought you would do willingly. But it can also inspire self judgement and fear.
Let’s think about it.
When we get anxious or worried, most of our thoughts take the shape of ‘what if…’ statements. That is when we tend to project into the future, which doesn’t exist anywhere, but in our head.
So what if you don’t get that high paying job? or that passing grade?
You’ll still live, like every other day in your life, dealing with it. And if it matters so much, I do what my dad told me once – ask yourself if you can do something about it. If you can’t, then there’s no point of worrying. And if you can do something about it, then get busy on it already!
Ego doesn’t limit us to projecting in the future, it makes us revisit the past as well. It’s called obsessing over the past. What has happened can’t be changed. It can just not be repeated (hopefully, if you have learnt from it.)
But sometimes, even though we know it’s our ego acting out, we get so stuck projecting back and forth, that we tend to lose track of the current moment, which is actually in our hands. That is what ego thrives on.
It is easy to tell others what to do. It’s hard to practice what we preach. I have my fair share of anxieties and worries, if not more. Ask the handpicked friends I talk to who have the patience and courage to survive my rants. But being consciously aware about it definitely helps, at least to identify and look at the situation from a different perspective. So when in doubt, go for these nuske:
- Stop taking things personally.
Being offended is exactly where the ego comes to play. Sometimes it isn’t about you. Sometimes, the person who said it didn’t even mean it that way, but it’s the ego that is comprehending it as a shot on us. Be a bit easy on yourself. You’re still human for God’s sake, so act like one! Let go of that need to win and to be right. It’s okay to be wrong as long as you realize your mistake. Your reputation is only in your head, because believe it or not, half the people don’t even give a shit about it. And even if they do, it is their opinion that they’re entitled to, and really, what others think of you is none of your business.
- Give it a chance.
I know it’s almost as hard as stepping on fire, but it’s just the fear in our head that’s making it look like that.
But just take that chance, take that first step. You’ll be glad you did because fear keeps us in nowhere till we do or try something and that is when we get to see where we are and where we can go from there. Remind yourself that these are just unreal projections in your head.
- Stop complaining.
Complaining doesn’t really help us in any way. It just keeps generating negativity and tons of self pity which may stroke the ego for a bit, but is self destructive anyway. The ego always wants to improve on the current moment, but that is exactly where we need to recognize it and let it go rather than complaining about it.
- Be grateful.
When all else fails, try being grateful. Be grateful for anything, like for the coffee your mum made for you in the morning, or grateful for the old car that is still running, or even for being alive (that’s my kicker). No matter how small or big the reason is, be really grateful about it. It helps to kick out that negative imagery in the head.
The whole procedure of letting go of fear and ego is like a detox. Your head will do anything to fight it, and even introduce new thoughts in your mind like these steps won’t work, your efforts aren’t paying off etc. But be patient, because that is the ego talking. Sure, it will be hard implementing these steps at first, like an addict’s body telling that he can’t live without the substance but getting past it will open up new possibilities, and probably, a more optimistic and happier you.
Just try not to be so hard on yourself. even if you’re not able to implement those tips in the first few attempts, it’s okay – not the end of the world (I’d applaud if you succeeded though). Don’t try too hard or pressurize yourself – that would be ego on the roll again. Instead of fighting so hard, the key is to take it easy and letting it go rather than fighting it. Because sadly, it is the paradox of life – the more your fight something, the more it reinforces itself, especially ego. It’s like a football player letting his body go when he gets hit by another player, because he knows that opposing and resisting movement will only inflict more damage.
Anyway, enough of the ego talk. It’s late, I got college tomorrow and I’m sleepy. Really, I should be getting paid for this shit.