A lot of the work I do with people is the deconstruction of and realization of our ego clinging and ego protection strategies. No, I’m not talking about the ego in regards to the western version of ego that involves superficial things like beauty and competitiveness (although that’s part of it). What I’m talking about is the ego that we all have – the part of us that holds firm to some sort of storyline in order to protect, defend, or prove something – aka our mask(s). Usually, our ego is strengthened or created by wounding or life events that have occurred in our past.
Here are some concrete examples of when the ego takes over in our life:
- I come home from work to find that my neighbor has parked in front of my house in my spot. Instead of simply viewing the situation as it is – which is simply a large piece of machinery that has changed its habitual location – I use a lot of language that includes the me, the mine, and the I. My ego tells me a storyline that breeds entitlement – a storyline that includes me being entitled to put my car in the place I want. The ego says, “I deserve something.”
- My partner comes home and tells me that he/she has had a bad day and isn’t in the mood to talk about it. Instead of honoring where my partner is and allowing him/her space, I respond by saying, “Well, the fact that you won’t talk to me makes me feel insecure about our relationship.” I have then made it about me, I have been selfish, insecure, and fearful. That causes disconnection and not connection.
- Someone new is hired at work. He/she isn’t completing tasks on time and without asking if he/she would like help, I say, “Hey, I know of a better way to do ________. You should do it my way.” I have assumed that my way is the best and I have offered unsolicited advice.
Are you understanding this now? The ego says, “It’s about me! I’m important! I’m not safe! I’m scared! I have to protect! I’m going to lose! I deserve this! I’m not good enough!” etc. etc. etc. When we are engaging with others from the place of our ego, we are usually chaotic, scattered, anxious, selfish, angry, or scared.
When I’m working with couples, groups, or individuals, it can be very helpful to learn to identify our ego voice vs our soul/true voice. When we begin to live from a place of truth vs. ego, our self acceptance grows and that has an affect on the capability of the depth of our relationships.
Here is a lovely diagram to depict ego love vs. soul love. Taken from http://www.kristikremers.com/uncategorized/ego-love-vs-soul-love/