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Do you allow ego to control your progress.

If I were to say you had a big ego or that your ego was out of control how would you take it?

If I told you to picture someone with a big ego, what image would come to mind?

A confident person?

Someone who walked with a confident swagger.

Someone with arrogance?

Someone loud?

I ask because the negative aspects of our ego cause more harm to lots of us than many of us realise, especially when we don’t have it in check.

And how can we fix the issue if our picture or understanding of ego, and what it is, is wrong or misaligned?

People assume a person with a big ego is that guy or girl with that swagger, that confidence, but ultimately, the ego is our sense of self-importance.

We all have it to a degree; even those of us who are most spiritually aligned, have done the deepest of shadow work and have tried to unravel all the negative aspects of ourselves can and will still feel the effects of our egos. It can actually serve us in some aspects of our growth when we utilise it correctly and sparingly and allow ourselves to embrace a growth mindset.

The negative issues stem from when we allow it to over-inflate. When we don’t keep it in check. Frequently its own opinion of itself and ours of us, becomes inflated, leading to adverse outcomes and consequences.

Many times, It’s like the ego is a separate part of us. It’s that sneaky, insidious voice in your ear convincing you of untrue things.

Its main focus and purpose is to keep itself safe and to make every happening about itself and, in so doing, about you.

Lots of us would assume, if we see someone who loves being the centre of attention, that they have an out of control ego.

‘They love having their ego stroked from all the onlookers’ we could think.

And on a surface level that would seemingly make sense.

And if we knew someone who was cripplingly shy, who won’t get up and dance, who won’t speak to others, who belittles themselves with negative or deprecating self talk, who won’t try something new, then it’s likely we would assume the opposite, that they have no negative aspect of their ego.

But we would be massively incorrect.

See, the out of control ego, the negative side, makes it all about us, keeping itself safe and not exposing itself to any thing that may make it seem small or, god forbid, incapable of doing something straight away.

It can’t be shown to be a beginner and to not know things.

“ I ‘should’ be better than this.”

The ego then speaks to us, as we go on to feel embarrassed. Embracing words like should, loving to create a sense of failure and inadequacy.

I use ‘should’ in this context to illustrate its use to imply judgement and criticism, of ourselves and others.

Should invokes feelings of failure.

In BJJ circles and martial arts training, I’ve seen this happen lots.

Those with higher grades or longer training times become incapable of risking ‘losing’ or tapping to a lower grade, (they lose nothing but think it so).

I ‘should’ be better than this.

Instead of constantly learning and pushing their progress and allowing themselves to enjoy doing so, they stagnate on the sides as their ego provides excuses to avoid the threat, validating itself and its actions.

Even in awards, I’ve seen many question why one gets awarded a grade and they don’t. Their ego belittling them by saying you should have that too instead of just being able to enjoy their own process, because, in our development that is all there is. Our process.

But in any of these situations our ego insidiously whispers,

“What will everyone think or say about us?.”

But therein lies the biggest issue with the negative parts of our ego, it makes it all about itself.

Realistically, and being brutally honest, no one is talking or thinking anything about you. I’m sorry to hurt your pride, but you’re likely not that important and, as you’re thinking about yourself, it’s very likely so is everybody else.

It’s not just new experiences, new relationships, exciting moments or helping us to grow and learn more that our ego prevents, but it can and does cause havoc with relationships.

Like Elton John sang,

Sorry seems to be the hardest word.

When our ego is taking charge, there is never any scope to accept responsibility for a negative behaviour. The ego finds ways of pointing the finger at others, removing the opportunity to learn.

Saying sorry becomes an arduous task within itself and having the ability to forgive someone for their misgivings can also cause issue. When our egos values are misaligned it makes it extremely difficult to view happenings from another persons perspective. The ego likes to keep itself safe and seperate from others, only thinking about itself. And many times, eventually, through its negative actions, that is what it gets. But that’s not our wish, that is the negative egos wish. To keep itself safe and in charge. Or so it believes.

The ego constantly needs validation.

From wherever it can get it.

Its fragility on show, attention from everywhere and anywhere oftentimes strokes it, and leads to more searching of any attention it can get. Only to feel like an empty space after the attention is gained. Always feeling like there can never be enough.

It makes us hate others getting attention, for their achievements and asks us ‘what about us?’

It causes us to compare with others lives, achievements and relationships and just like Theodore Roosevelt said

“Comparison is the thief of joy.”

We are always seeing what others have with envy, all the while missing all that we have and in fact, missing all that we inherently are.

It’s not only friends, acquaintances and even strangers that can cause these feelings within us. When ego is in charge, it can even make us feel that same way about our loved ones. Strangely envious of their success. Inciting thoughts and feelings of jealousy for a plethora of reasons. Some making us fearful they’ll realise their true worth and in turn, realise yours and possibly find you wanting.

Fearful of others plying their attention to our loved ones direction.

‘Where will that leave us?’ The ego whispers.

So instead of doing the sensible thing and being proud of our loved ones, showing support and encouragement and being involved in the process of success, we cause controversy, pain and conflict to appease our selfish egos needs.

It has to be about us. In any way the ego can make possible. No matter how detrimental to our lives that may be.

None of us are immune from the adverse effects of the negative egos influence. We need to keep constant check of that inner voice and our actions.

Remove the worry of others opinions.

Find a way that allows you to live true to yourself without concern of judgement.

And employ a growth mindset to allow you to become comfortable with making mistakes and learning constantly.

As the great Stoic Epictetus said

‘If you wish to improve,Be content to appear foolish and stupid.’

“True humility is not thinking less of yourself; it is thinking of yourself less.” – C.S. Lewis



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