When most people think of the ego, they think of something that’s a law unto itself. We reason it must be stamped out of existence – or at the very least tamed. But to think in this way is not helpful to your personal development. The truth about it is, it’s not your enemy and never has been. In fact, you’re probably more of a threat to your ego than you are to it!
The ego-self has been characterised as a rampant part of your psyche that is constantly trying to outmanoeuvre you. But that’s not the case;
We rely on it to make choices that will fulfil our daily needs. Having a sense of ego doesn’t make you self-centred. There has to be a certain amount of selfishness within our make-up to function in society. Unfortunately, we don’t yet live in a utopian society where our collective needs are no longer constitute a daily struggle. As things currently stand, it gives us the capacity to make choices that intrinsically linked to our survival.
The problem with ego is that many defer to it as their default programming. Because of the competitive structure of society, we’re forced to be on the front foot. We never give ground, always reaching for the next goal that will provide us with our next ego boost. And we’re sometimes guilty of seeking to elevate ourselves at the expense of taking a more outward view. The question of what we can do for others gets lost in the malaise of ego satisfaction and instant gratification.
But does this make people bad? No. Far from it. We’re all subject to the same influences, and we all occasionally give in to our desires. There does need to be a singular to approach to life, sometimes. Creativity is the ego being allowed free reign to express itself in any way it chooses. Imagine, a world where we’re seeking nothing more than rid ourselves of the spectre of ego? Is that a world you’d willingly choose to live in? A world without art, culture and the free exchange of your own personal ideals? It sounds like an egalitarian nightmare.
It is not a burden. It is a wonderful gift we’re bestowed with upon birth to express ourselves in our own unique way. It’s what separates us from the hive minds of animals that live with a sole collective purpose. Does this elevate our stature or make us more important? Of course not. But it does frame our existence as one of searching for meaning. And that doesn’t come through the destruction of our ego.
You can choose to take the transcendental path of ‘killing’ the ego. But do you want to let go of everything that makes you unique? Do you really want to dissociate from your family and friends? It doesn’t have to be that way. You can have a functioning relationship with that part of yourself by integrating the objective part of your psyche. So you can still enjoy the freedom of choice without falling into the trap of ego satisfaction. The enemy isn’t your ego. The enemy is your poor choice.
About the author:
Dr Becky Spelman PhD is a leading UK Psychologist who’s had great success helping her clients manage and overcome a multitude of mental illnesses.
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