The Human Ego

Photo by Anthony DeRosa from Pexels

The human ego can cause a lot of suffering. Often without us knowing that it’s happening. If you want more information about the ego after this article, you should read the ‘The Power of Now‘ or ‘A New Earth‘ by Eckhart Tolle.

The ego likes to identify

This goes for material things and non-material things. We all know that little voice in our heads, right? Well, chances are big that you think that voice is ‘you’. If so, then your ego has already tricked you! The ego identifies with the voice in the head. And it makes you think that’s you! Sounds complicated, no? Let’s put it another way. The ego is a part of you. But it’s only a little part. And that little part likes to act as if it’s the complete package.

The problem with identifying with things is that we become attached to them. Attachment, in this case, is a negative thing. We attach a part of our identity to it. Let’s take material things as an example. We worry about it. We’re sad or angry when it breaks or gets lost. We want it because it will make us look ‘hip’. We do this with almost all our stuff. Most of us are blessed and possess heaps of stuff. But this also means a lot of attachment, preoccupying our minds, day in and day out.

That’s why minimalism is such a positive lifestyle for a lot of people. If you don’t own stuff, you can’t get attached to it! You can read more about minimalism here.

Of course, this does not mean that you shouldn’t care for your possessions. It’s a good thing to value everything you have! As long as we don’t attach a part of ourselves to it, there is no problem.

The voice in our heads

Something we all have. We have a constant chatter inside our minds. You should try to listen sometimes, it’s fun. This voice, that’s supposed to be you, does both sides of the conversation! It constantly asks questions, and then answers them itself! Does not make sense at all, right? Nevertheless, a lot of us habitually listen to this inner chatter. We let our mood and thoughts get disturbed by whatever our little voice brings up.

And that is exactly what our ‘ego part’ wants. By letting yourself get distracted, you give more power towards the ego.

The ego likes to feel superior

The ego does this by constantly comparing your life with that of your peers. Especially now, with the use of social media. Everybody posts their best pictures, acting as if their lives are perfect. For the heavy social media user, this can only lead to frustration and disappointment. Eventually, we care more about what others think of us, then what we think of ourselves. With your friends from college, you put on your ‘college mask’. With your friends from work, your ‘work mask’ pops up. For every group, our ego puts on a different show.

We are rarely truly ourselves!

Another way to feel superior is by being right. However, the ego does not make a distinction between being actually right or making the other wrong. As long as you come out on top! In most cases, we’re not defending the truth, but our ego. It takes time to notice it. But the more you pay attention, the easier it will get.

Everybody has an ego

Bad news, you won’t be able to get rid of the little voice. However, we can change the way we interact with it.

  1. Recognize that this little voice has no importance. Just say: “Thank you for your interference, but I don’t need you.”
  2. Think about the things you own. Do you notice attachment to some of them? If so, just realize that the things you own do not define who you are! Let go of any attachment.
  3. When talking to somebody, pay close attention. Are you defending the truth, our your ego? Do you want to feel superior?
  4. Be aware that the other person is probably also acting from his ego. His or hers ‘ego’ also likes to feel superior or right. Knowing this, you don’t have to feel offended. Just recommend them this article…

Thank you very much for reading. As always, if you have questions or remarks: leave a comment or contact me!

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