Updated: Sep 15, 2020
Ahh yes, there it is, that little 3 lettered word, Ego! It even sounds so innocent, so simplistic and in most peoples lives it generally goes completely unnoticed for the majority of, if not, all of our lives. Just hidden and sneakily tucked away scheming and planting destruction in the back of our minds.
Up until a few years ago, I didn't really care much for this term. I rarely used it and only associated the phrase Ego when I saw, thought or judged those in society or on social media as big headed, cocky, arrogant, full of it or what have you! When they failed or slipped up, or perhaps mistakenly did something that embarrassed them i'd say to myself "oh I bet that hurt their Ego" or "he/she'll be fine only their Ego was damaged".
But, little did I know that this term would have such a huge and profound impact on my life and the way I think and go about each step of my day. Drum roll.....the truth is guys, every single one of us has an ego and the amount of control it has over our lives is astounding.....literally knock you off your seat jaw drop astounding.
Let me ask you a few Qs and I'd like you to think about and answer each with an open mind:
When you look in the mirror or even catch your reflection walking by a window do you hear that voice within you judging how you look today...either positively or negatively?
When you are out in the street, in a bar or restaurant, a gym class, sitting on a bus or train, do you find yourself, even for a second, judging the people your eyes make contact with or that you interact with? This could be projecting thoughts on the way they dress, how they speak, what they say.
Do you look at others whether at work, in a yoga class, in the restroom of a nightclub, or on social media and find yourself comparing or judging, whether positively or negatively? Perhaps thinking; 'oh I wish I could do that yoga pose in class or look that good', hearing that voice giving out and even putting you down. Or maybe, you can do that difficult pose but notice the lady next to you is unable to quite take it to the same level....do you, "even for a second" take pride and relish in the fact that "hmmm I'm better at yoga than she is"?
When you really want to do something; perhaps start a new venture, sign up to a personal development course or a new hobby, leave your job that you feel unsatisfied in, or achieve a personal goal.... maybe even pluck up the courage to go talk to that hottie that you have mentally played out a conversation with for the 100th time, but still haven't had the courage to go through with it?
Tell me, what is it that is happening in every single one of these scenarios? What is mentally happening here each time? For example in the last Q I asked you, what is it that is holding you back? I mean what is really holding you back? It's that same voice. Over and over and over again. That fear based voice trying to keep us from moving out of the comfort zone and filling us with doubt or judgement. That my friends is our dear little three lettered friend; welcome to our Ego.
The Ego or as we describe it, the voice inside that is telling us I am not good enough, or, I am better than them. The voice that edges us on day in and day out speaking out of fear, or judgment, comparison, of anger or hatred. The voice that limits our ability to lead with and follow our hearts, easing our way through life and doing what we truly want peacefully and with happiness.
You see the Ego does not appreciate nor does it tolerate love, happiness, selflessness or harmony. It cannot grow and control under these conditions. It will go out of it's way to intervene and jeopardise this feeling of love, positivity and balance. It's incredible just how sneaky the Ego is and the lengths it will go to put us back in a state of resistance and fear bringing us to self sabotage. In order for the Ego to feed and manifest - love cannot exist.
The good news though, is that we can in fact control and take away the power of the Ego. Yes, I agree, at first, this can indeed be tricky and even when we believe we are on track and living our bestest lives, out of nowhere appears the voice of our sneaky little Ego again trying to lure us off our true path.
The key to weakening the Ego is being truly present in each moment and being aware. When you are going about your day, just simply notice and observe any negative thoughts as they come up. You may be alone or with friends, family, co-workers and so on but just simply notice. If something or someone triggers you, acknowledge the thought, feeling or emotion as it arises in you and be curious as you see the Ego come into play. Then forgive the thought, and reach for a better one, knowing that the negative thought does not come from a place of love, therefore it is not real.
The one thing I do want reiterate, is that each and every one of us has an Ego and face our own sequence of Ego related thoughts, judgements and fears daily. We are only human after all and since a very young age have been conditioned to think and feel the way we do by society, our families, religious beliefs and so on. However, the more we recognise these thoughts creeping in, the sooner we can stop them manifesting and spiralling out of control.
Just try it, take the rest of today or begin tomorrow. As you start and go about your day, simply drop in when you find yourself being lead down an Ego based thought, feeling or emotion. Recognition is the first step to freedom from the Ego. Acknowledge the thought, forgive it, and chose a better and kinder one.
Here is where it can tend to get complicated so I do want to explain. To counteract and weaken our Ego we must know and recognise that what arises from the Ego is completely false. The thoughts, judgements, fears they are all false and do not exist. They are completely projected by the Ego to protect us from love and light. The Ego cannot exist in love or light so the more we can acknowledge the thought or emotion as it enters and call it out, the weaker it gets. The key is not to judge or be angry with the Ego though, as again, this would be doing a 360 and leading back into the fear based thoughts that the Ego thrives on.
"Recognition is the first step to freedom from the Ego. Acknowledge the thought, forgive it, and chose a better and kinder one."
Ok so what else can we do here to weaken this nagging little voice in our heads. What I have been practising are very simple exercises and the more you repeat them over time they come naturally. One of these is recognising when you judge or think negatively about yourself or another. Say to yourself "this thought did not come from a place of love, therefore it is not true" this is super powerful and once you get into a habit of using this I promise you will be surprised with the shift that occurs. You may also be surprised at just how often you stop and repeat this sentence during the day. When I first started this practice I was like holy moley. I lost count at how many times I was having to say this affirmation. But, in saying that, each day they got less and less. It also felt so good turning a negative thought into a positive one and it made me so much more present and compassionate to not only myself but to everyone around me.
This went even further and when having conversations with friends, family or colleagues I could recognise the Ego showing up in them and this would lead me to steer conversations into a more positive manner. I no longer felt myself wanting to get involved in idle gossip and avoided certain people or walked politely walked away from negative conversations. I would also be much calmer if any triggers were raised. My life has become much calmer and peaceful and although it is a "constant" work in progress I am so much more present and careful about who and what I surround myself with and how I feed my mind.
So if this resonates with you, give it a try. Test it out even for the rest of the day and start to become more aware of the thoughts that come your way. The more you mindfully practice the easier it will be to stop and weaken that sinister little but very powerful voice in your head. Remember these thoughts are false, they are not real so when they do appear, instead, chose a loving thought, forgive the Ego and smile :)