Your ego is in control when your main considerations are how you feel about yourself. This is usually accompanied by a strong desire to feel better about yourself. To feel superior to others, a sense that you are right, that you know better, that your value is confirmed.
Think of it as you would think of an immature child that needs reassuring every step of the way. This makes the child completely dependent of where the adult in charge, that validates him or her, encourages him or her to do, which could be anything. The main problem here is that when this is in charge our focus completely shifts to external validation. We will act based on the motivation of validating our value. Not based on the motivation of what promotes our goals or what is the right thing to do in the situation that we are dealing with.
Ego Problems – Why They Mislead & Confuse Us
It will mislead us, confuse us, and take us down slippery slopes. It blinds us from accepting responsibility to our mistakes. It makes us inept to realizing what we need to correct. Where we need to grow, and what we really need to do in order to step up our game. If you constantly look to justify yourself and your actions and glorify yourself in comparison to others, where do you learn and grow? Are you honest with yourself as far as your shortcomings? Would you be able to take brave decisions that will not depend on stroking your ego and sense of self-worth?
Here are five questions to ask yourself in order to realize if your ego is in control:
- Do I dislike it when other people succeed?
- Do I constantly compare myself to others?
- Do I tend to reject advice?
- Do I tend to be defensive?
- Do I only see others as the problem?
Many would think of people who are led by their ego as people with a very strong sense of self- worth. The subconscious reality of an ego on charge is completely different. A hungry ego that needs to be constantly fed is typically the sign of a sense of feeling weak or insecure. It usually leads to decisions that are irrelevant to the situation, and oftentimes, damaging to the situation. This is because the main consideration becomes feeding the ego, not doing what is right in that situation.
Being human, we are all controlled by our ego to one degree or another. We all want to be validated. We all swallow our pride when criticized or when life, or people show us our shortcomings that we would, quite frankly, rather not see. There is no definite line on where the ego takes over. But the overall rule is that the weaker our self-confidence is, the stronger our ego becomes. This would be most evident in our decision making process.
How to Leave Your Ego at the Door
The basis for keeping it under control is being real, and working on our self confidence on the one hand, while remaining humble on the other. Sounds challenging? Here are some things that you can do:
Realize that self-confidence and ego are completely different
Confidence is earned through hard work and tangible and objective accomplishments. The ego, however, is based on the subjective notion that you are better than others and know better than others. For that reason, the ego is a delusion regarding our place in the world, and we should treat it as such.
A bloated ego stands in the way of learning
This leads to a sense entitlement, self-absorption, overconfidence, pride and greed. The best way to counteract this is to remain a lifelong student. Keep reminding yourself that you came to this earth to learn, grow and become better. Being in a position of a forever learning student will guard you from an over inflated sense of knowledge. Which is the worst manifestation of a bloated ego.
Beware of ego inflating social media narratives
Part of our obsession with social media has to do with creating narratives that our detached from our day to day reality and create narratives about our lives that feed our hungry egos. This is artificial, and not helpful to our learning and growth as people in any way, shape or form. Worst of all, we are telling stories that are not our actual experiences and by that create an even wider gap between reality based learning, and ego based narratives.
Drop jealousy, embrace learning
Seeing someone successful? Great! Drop the jealousy, drop diminishing some else’s accomplishments, drop the comparison and feeling sorry for yourself that you are not as lucky. Seeing someone succeed as a great life lesson to embrace. After all, we learn by imitation. See what they did. Learn from what they did. Figure out what you can do differently to do better.
When the ego is kept under control, when your are a humble student of the universe, amazing things happen. Remember: “When ego is lost, limit is lost. You become infinite, kind and beautiful” as Yogi Bhajan said. Leave it behind when you pack for success, and see how powerful and successful you become.