I am in the midst of a curious pursuit of understanding our cultural fixation on the EGO. While I have heard now from several people that it’s not a big deal, it’s just semantics, I have seen and experienced that what starts with semantics can often spiral into something much more restricting and unhealthy.
What starts as simple language to describe the impulse for things we “know” are not what we truly want for ourselves, becomes an image of this little gremlin sitting on our shoulders that we need to retrain, or kill off, or learn how to live with. It can become a scapegoat for emotions and actions that make us uncomfortable. And it has become a way of demonizing and criticizing others, as we quickly label “too much confidence” as someone with an ego-problem.
Above and beyond the impulse, we have also labeled certain self-talk patterns as stemming from the ego. So, not only does this “ego” try to seduce us towards instant-gratification - albeit as a self-preserving quality and intention - it can also be a narrator in our mind that pumps our own tires or deflates them.
I don’t necessarily see anything wrong with this caricature that serves to defend and prevent self harm, but eventually we have to stop and ask, “where did this ego-vernacular come from?” AND “Is there a better or more expansive way of understanding how the mind and body works?”
These are the questions I have been deeply invested in for the past few months. And these are the questions I am going to leave you with to ponder. I am not here to tell you what to think or what is “right” and what is “wrong.” I am here to teach you how to pause and check-in and question what you may have always believed or what you have learned to believe.
For me, being in deep inquiry about the ego was something that lit me up for years. I have loved the self-inquiry and insights I have received from trying to understand the ego and see it in action. I wrote extensively about it in my book Be The Change. What I would love for us all to do now is recognize that what served you to get to this point is not necessarily what will serve you to get to the next level. And I have experienced that relying on the “ego” to understand my ever-expanding connection to my mind and body, began to restrict my expansion and the puzzle pieces were not fitting together.
I would love to hear your thoughts and questions as I continue this path and develop my next post that can serve as an exploration away from “ego” and towards a much more expansive and helpful model.