The ego has a bad rep these days. But before you attach a negative idea to your ego, you need to dig deeper into the nature of ego and ask if it really works against you.
The truth is, you wouldn’t have an ego if it was bad for you. Every single thing you have was developed for a reason that’s serving your evolution and growth. So is your ego.
Sigmund Freud explained that the ego is your connection to the outside world. It helps you distinguish yourself from the rest of the world.
It is like a mold that determines your identity, separating you from everything you do not identify yourself with. Your ego is needed so you can operate in this world and grow.
Without the ego, you are everything, and you cannot grow without interacting with something else than you. Hence, it’s necessary that you have an ego to grow.
There’s only one trait of the ego that you need to watch out more closely. And this trait is exactly why the ego has such a bad rep. It’s its ability to convince you that it’s all you are.
Over identifying with the ego prevents you from expansion and change needed for your growth. It sabotages the sole purpose of its existence, to help you grow.
Your ego is defined, and any change means its destruction. It doesn’t like you to go out of your comfort zone. So it will do everything under its power to prevent you from change.
The question then is, can you tame your ego and use it as a tool to empower yourself? The answer is yes and the following suggestions can help you.
How To Use Your Ego:
1. Figure out how your ego works.
Instinctively, your ego is sneaky, coercive, and slick. However, don’t fight it nor judge it. Those skills are your ego’s defensive mechanism, mirroring your own.
If your ego didn’t have those skills it wouldn’t have strong boundaries, and exactly those boundaries are what helps you grow better.
They need to be strong enough to fool you into believing you are separate from everything else so you can grow.
If your ego had weak defensive mechanism a simple thing would shatter its boundaries and you would forget your role and identity, all the lessons you needed to learn will fade.
See your ego not from a place of judgment but from a place of love. This shifts the energy of seeing your ego under a more positive light.
See it as not something that’s against you, but a faithful servant who plays into the world with one purpose, your growth.
Realize that you, the real you creates your ego. It’s not a sickness that’s within you, it’s an extension of you, like a hand. It’s like a character you design to play in the world with.
This character is your vehicle and identity. But you don’t have to stick with one character. You can tweak it, or change it completely if that’s what you need for further growth.
Let it fool you enough so you can grow, but always watch out for its patterns. See what’s triggering it, what are its reoccurring patterns, what movie character it identifies with.
Just observe how it works. Figure out how it maneuvers and be aware enough to be able to detach from it whenever it becomes self sabotaging.
2. Look at the recurring patterns.
As stated earlier, the ego doesn’t want change. And it is best seen in the recurring patterns in your life.
For example, you’re in a bad relationship that you could have ended years ago but did not because you think your partner will eventually change, in which case they don’t.
It’s your ego that plays the role of the righteous victim in the relationship. It keeps telling you to stick with this person, no matter how abusive and dysfunctional the relationship is.
It’s because you identify with the righteous victim in the relationship who will eventually be rewarded for their sacrifice and persistence that you stick with it.
And a part of you loves the abuse and dysfunction because it gives you the opportunity to play the role. The ego feeds from such scenario and it will do everything in its power to convince you to stay in such relationship or recreate it.
If you find yourself in a relationship that works and it’s loving, you will stop being attracted. it doesn’t feed your ego’s identity. Your ego will highlight all the small little details that might be wrong about your partner and magnify them until you leave.
Maybe you needed to play this role at some point in your life to learn something. But if it keeps you stuck and it’s self sabotaging, than the role is not serving you any longer.
You need to be aware enough of these reoccurring patterns in your life because they are signs of your ego’s roles. Find what patterns are keeping you from growing and detach from that role of your ego. It’s your responsibility to always tweak and tune your ego to serve your growth. That’s how you use your ego.
Not taking responsibility for your ego is the main reason why the ego becomes corrupted. It’s not the ego that’s bad, it’s the way we manage it.
If a role is self sabotaging and you don’t do something about it, it becomes a pattern that will make you stuck for the rest of your life.
3. Be mindful of its triggers.
Your ego is mostly at play when you’re in a reactive mode. That’s why it’s crucially important to practice mindfulness and expand your awareness.
We are all reactive to a certain degree. However, by being more aware you can always course correct your reactions to prevent unwanted consequences.
When you allow the external world to affect you there is a certain reaction that happens. But what’s most important it’s what triggers the reaction.
These triggers are clues of what upsets your ego.
When you know what upsets your ego you can work on these core problems within yourself. In fact, that’s how you grow.
Let’s say, someone provoked you into lashing out to them.
You did that because your ego has convinced you that it’s for your best interest when it actually is not. It’s for your ego’s best interest.
Your ego is defending its identity. In reality you cannot be affected by any criticism, your identity however, can.
Your ego is always defending the identity even if it means hurting the people who love you and mean you good.
That’s why it’s crucial to be mindful of your ego’s triggers. Your ego’s reactivity is not for your own good, and unaware you might regret doing something out of your ego’s interest.
4. Master the skill of living proactively.
Learning to conquer your ego takes time. And on this journey, you may be shifting between the reactive mode and the proactive mode.
Strive to be proactive because that’s how you consciously and rationally make choices for your best interest. Use your ego to learn and grow, but be proactive in your decisions.
But be gentle with yourself. It can’t be done without failing at some point. As long as you stay consistent in observing your ego, you will be more aware to stay in a proactive mode.
5. Use your ego as a compass.
Your ego is a compass that points you to the areas within yourself that need healing and integration.
Use it to highlight your inner problems by looking out for triggers, patterns and identities you mostly resonate with.
However, the best way to use your ego is to find out who its opposite is.
Who do you hate the most, what movie character you would never want to identify yourself with?
Find out what identities your ego is resisting and find for what reason. What are the specific traits that are so repulsive to your ego? These traits are something your ego resists, and most often, these traits are what you lack to live a better life.
6. Allow your Higher Self to guide your ego.
Your Higher Self can see the bigger picture and it wants only the best for you. Listening to its guidance is wise when you need to tweak or change your ego.
Allow your Higher Self to guide your ego because it is leading it to become healthier and more serving to you.
Your ego might resist, but following your intuition about when you need to change your ego is how you prevent it from becoming self sabotaging.
Even if it doesn’t want, your ego needs to change and evolve so you can grow. That’s a healthy ego.
Having a healthy ego makes you more genuine and free from the compulsion of comparing yourself to others because you know you are a work in progress.