Part one of a four-part series on Understanding and working with the Ego.
Is your ego holding you back from everything you’ve ever wanted?
“The ego is not master in its own house.” ~ Sigmund Freud
So what is “ego” anyway? The famous psychoanalyst, Sigmund Freud, first defined the ego. He said “the ego is your conscious sense of self that is based on experience and social acceptance.”
The ego is a natural part of our humanity and mind that is basically like a computer program based on our past experiences.
Isn’t it strange that we can say, “part of me” wants this, but another part of me wants that.”
We all “dance” or grapple with the ego while participating in our daily lives. Many psychologists call this type of grappling, defense mechanisms.
That said, what your ego (that small sometimes nagging internal voice) tells you isn’t necessarily the truth – in fact, most of the time, what is true is just the opposite.
When you establish a healthy relationship with your ego, it works with the whole self to connect, communicate, trust, and become aware of those friendly facts that can inform and guide us through our lives.
Did you know that you are not your ego?
Becoming aware of what your ego is telling you is the first step to realizing your deeper potential in all aspects in life, including livelihood, love, relationships and friendships.
Here is a short exercise to become more aware of – and release – the ego’s limiting beliefs, or defense mechanisms, and to get to know the real you, the whole you.
Sit by yourself, close your eyes, and soften the skin on your forehead, soften the eyelids and temples, release your jaw and inner ear, and feel little ripples of release across the sides, top and back of your head. Release tension in the back of your neck and shoulders. Take some deep, soft breaths.
Then listen and breathe. You may hear something like:
I can’t find another job – I’ll just be in the same predicament. I’m just wasting my time with this creative project. She/he is way better than me. Why try? Too many bills. Not enough time. I’ll never…. I’ll always….
And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom. ~Anais Nin
Try this exercise a few times a day. Listen to the ego voice. If it is saying “I’m always…” or “I’ll never…” or comparing you to another in any way, odds are it’s the ego in a fear pattern. But it’s no reason to worry! At it’s deepest level it is only trying to protect you and keep you “safe.”
As you practice this exercise, you will feel the tension release from your body and the ego voice will also release its constriction as mind and body more directly connect. You’ll walk through your day feeling more open and aware of what is truly possible.
“Self and ego are not the same. The ego is the center of conscious mind only; it encompasses your awareness of yourself and your world.” ~ Joseph Campbell
In part two we talk about the all too familiar over-inflated or “big ego”. Chances are you know someone like that…. right?
Stay tuned for part 2: The Big Bad Ego!