If you’re cringing at the thought of letting go of your ego, you especially need this article.
Don’t take it personally — we all have one! Sometimes, it just takes a little nudge to understand why the coping mechanisms we cling to aren’t always the answer to our problems. Let go of your ego (or at least loosen your grip), and you’ll besomuch better off. Here’s why.
What Actually is The Ego?
What is the ego? Is it the guy who cuts you off on the highway because he thinks he’s more important than you? Yeah, well, kind of. Here’s the problem — the ego is commonly understood as a personality trait. Although that’s not entirely false, it’s so much more than that.
The ego is our own construction of our identity and reality.
Basically, when we look towards or lead with our ego, we create a separation between ourselves and the world. Our reactions, opinions, and sense of self are all created by the ego to make us feel safe and worthy. Our ego searches for ways to assign value to ourselves, or justify the value that we already innately possess.
By definition, the ego doesn’t seemsobad — and you’re right, it isn’t. There’s a reason why it’s part of our toolbox. It’s the overdependence or unnecessary use of the ego that ultimately puts us in a bad spot.
DANGER: How Our Avoidance of Ego Causes Us Harm
On a basic level, the ego comes in handy because it instills an (arguably) healthy dose of fear in us. It checks the Id, the part of our brain that basically does whatever the heck it wants. The Id is driven by impulses, and is constantly seeking pleasure. So, without the ego, we’d all be operating on a pretty primitive level.
In this sense, the ego also keeps us alive. It allows us to think before we act, value the opinions of others, and form our own beliefs. It allows us to recognize danger, and carefully plan the decisions we make moving forward.
With the ego, we can play out how our behavior affects us and the world we live in, at least to a certain degree. Our ego allows us to be civilized human beings, and keeps us from acting like total monsters. We can’t argue the value in that.
With that being said, our ego takes a turn when we start to believe we’re in total control. So, although it helps us make smart moves, it ultimately won’t help us to predict the future, determine what others think of us, or ever keep us truly as safe as we think it will.
Check Yourself Before You Wreck Yourself
Hey, there’s no shame in leaning on your ego. We understand its appeal! Albeit temporary, our ego serves as a protective shield. It lets us hide away from the average human being’s two least favorite things; true vulnerability and a lack of control. But eventually, everyone has to face these two facts of life. If you choose not to, you’ll be stuck alone with your ego, and that’s no fun.
If you’re ready to let go of your ego, we applaud you. 👏 It’s not an easy process; in fact, it’s ongoing. However, just the act of noticing your ego can help you make strides in improving your approach to life. It’s all about finding a happy balance!
Tips and Tricks to Not Be So Egotistical
Just like any other process, self-awareness takes practice. Here are a few helpful tips that will allow you to let your ego take a backseat, or at least become more comfortable with the idea of doing so.
There’s a reason why mindfulness is at the top of this list. To sum it up, the ego only exists in the past or the future. It’s constantly analyzing and evaluating gathered information, and accessing how it will be used going forward. Essentially, the ego likes to be one step ahead of the curb, and is constantly figuring out ways to get there. Woof — exhausting, right?
In order to get a break from this back-and-forth, you’ll need to visit the present. It sounds hokey, but simply experiencing the present moment without expectations will keep your ego under wraps.
Mindfulness can be achieved in many different ways, so choose the one you’re most comfortable with! For starters, we recommend working meditation into your schedule — just a couple minutes a day can make a big difference.
2️⃣ Look Outside of Yourself
The ego is all about you. So, if you want to get away from it, try taking care of someone other than yourself! Giving back to your friends, family, or community is a great way to check in with what really matters. One of the nicest things you can do for someone is put their needs before your need to uphold a certain identity.
3️⃣ Surrender Control
Yeah, we know this one isn’t easy, or maybe even 100-percent doable. The ego is rooted in the fear of a lack of control. But TRY to let go of control, at least a little, if you can. By doing so, you’ll be able to see how the rest of the world shows up for you when you’re not micromanaging your entire identity and life. Plus, we’ll let you in on a little secret — at the end of the day, us humans don’t get to make all of the decisions, especially the big ones. There’s something kind of freeing about that fact, am I right?
4️⃣ Kill Your Comparison Game
Comparison is the thief of joy. If we’re constantly trying to be better than others, we’re playing a pointless game. The world doesn’t work that way! Also, focusing on differences vs. similarities will keep you far away from real human connection. More judgment equals less joy. Isn’t that the whole point of lightening your ego grip anyways? When we keep our ego out of the equation, we get to experience the best stuff that makes up this crazy life we get to live.
Your Soul Knows Best
Our best tip? When in doubt, your soul knows best. Polymaths go with their gut, and aren’t afraid to take the risks. Action over image, all day everyday.