Understanding the Role of the Ego
Your self-definition is the core of your experience in life.
Who Am I?
It's been quite sometime now that I have been trying to grasp the concept of the ego. What is it? What is its goal? Is it bad? Is it this separate person living inside of me? Why do I hate it? And Why does it seem like its always getting in the way and causing problems for me?
Truth is - I have been misunderstanding it this whole time.
I want to start off by saying, we are both on similar journey’s, yet so very different; they are both unique. Although we have both faced different situations in life, seen adversity, struggled, prospered, gained strength then fallen again, been hurt and been praised, each and every one of us have this unique and divine path, no two are exactly the same. All in all, I am no better than you and you're no better than me. I am also learning and trying to understand this life that seems so very complex to me. The more I learn the more I feel like I don’t know at times. I want to share my revelations and findings with you and if you bear with me, alongside my journey, I am going to put them into practice full force - Through leading by example.
I will share ways that I am doing this, my results and progress, my successes and failures, days that are great and days that aren’t, the days my body feels light to the days I struggle to pick myself up. The journey isn’t all sunshine and rainbows but the more I learn, the more I can share and teach and I will promise to stay transparent with you.
So far I truly believe this life to involve devotion to attaining balance within the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual aspects of our being. I also encourage and hope to hear from some of you about your findings and experiences as well. We all have something to teach and learn from one another. I am also finally starting to realize that this final destination I was hoping existed at the end of the tunnel of my unique spiritual practice is really just a process, a journey that has an unlimited amount of avenues and doorways that I have opened, yet to open and yet to discover; like an ever-flowing river. There really is no end, the end is essentially an illusion.
On a whole other note, Who AM I? And if there is no final destination how can I make my time here on earth more enjoyable?
Well the real question is “How can I stop getting in the way of myself enjoying this beautiful experience called life.”
Well, for starters understanding ourselves is essential. The more you try to understand where you came from and how you're a key element in this interconnected universe the greater chance you have of reclaiming your power back.
Part of who we are, without choice is our genetic identities which have been passed down generation from generation going back thousands of years. Our ancestors hardship and skill to both of our parent’s emotional anguish and drive is just a small part of what created ME, what created US. You really aren’t just you, we aren’t all who we think we are to be. So let’s take a deep breath and cut ourselves some slack for having taken on all the genetic identity and energy from others and their past experiences. This is called Epigenetic's; the study of how genes produce their effect on the makeup of the organism.
How you have experienced your world thus far has had a profound effect on your “original nature” and on how you process and react to information in the present. These adaptations and new learned behaviours are what you perceive to be necessary for survival and shape and alter your DNA. It is these new changes that get passed on to the offspring of the next generation. These changes erupt and imbed themselves within our DNA usually from a young age but can develop at any time in our lives. To sum things up, your entire personality derives from your hereditary nature and the inherited tendencies of your previous generations, combined with the nurturing you have received from others and yourself thus far in life. I am going to share an example; both of your parents yell at each other a lot as a way to deal with stress and disagreement, frequently getting into arguments. Their offspring (you) will have a high probability of displaying this same behavioural trait of coping with stress and disagreement by arguing and raising your voice. However, if your parents decide to nurture you differently, the trait may not surface. If you're taught to monitor your voice when upset and stressed and learn different coping mechanisms then this trait will most likely stay latent. Another example would be a child whose parents are both professional athletes and specialize with great stamina skills. It is very likely that their offspring will have the same athletic traits, however, if the child isn't nurtured in a way that can determine if this athletic trait of great stamina exists, this trait remains in high potentiality without existing in reality. Therefore, an individual's personality, qualities, behaviours, characteristics, habits, skills, and situation at any given moment are a revelation of their nature and nurturing combined.
Some of the new changes our nature develops can stem from the first time we experience hurt or pain from a young age. When we are young we are often naive and open to believing anything we hear, the moment we are lied to or have our hearts broken, or experience loss we throw a wall up, we become more guarded and discerning about what we are told. You also quickly learn that what is true for someone else may not be true for you and your intent to survive and experience happiness. For example, your friends are all going out for drinks but you're not much of a drinker and don't want to be around a large sum of intoxicated people. You'd much rather stay in and watch movies. Your friend’s idea of fun may be true in their eyes, but in your eyes the truth of fun has a whole different definition. This is also called individuality and a great example of this would be our religious views. Individuality is essentially all around us, opinions, behaviours, styles, haircuts, languages, hobbies, passions, skills etc.
“The quality or character of a particular person or thing that distinguishes them from others of the same kind, especially when strongly marked.”
This is where identities start to take form. These identities allow us to feel a sense of purpose so we can then feel like we matter in this world. Examples of these identities; I AM a Buddhist, I AM a vegetarian, I AM a superwoman, I AM a pro-choicer etc. “Beyond the general statement that defines you and your values and interests, the need to belong to something larger than yourself or to be accepted within a group, cause or organization can be very strong. This need can sometimes allow you to give up your powerful gift of pure, free, independent thought to the degree that it feels necessary to do so in order to be accepted.” (I AM - The Power of Discovering Who You Really Are by Howard Falco)
Can I relate to this? Of course! On a daily basis, with my own family, with strangers, and even friends. I have burned and dumbed down my own potential individuality because of the scarce idea that I wouldn't be accepted. Bullying in elementary school is a great example. I was always a follower, what my friends liked, I liked, what they did, I did. I didn’t want to experience being unaccepted or disapproved in order for my ego to feel safe (to survive), I did what everyone else did. This was a trait I just started to grow out of near the end of high school and into my college years. Even with college, I felt the need to go because everyone else was. I was scared that if I didn’t go my family would be disappointed and I would look bad. With going, and following the societal herd of normality, my ego is safe — more so camouflaged and content. It felt good making my family happy.
What I soon realized is that lasting contentment and peace of mind cannot be found by conforming out of fear and need.
I did the things I did to gain acceptance by the people around me but I still wasn’t happy. I wasn’t happy playing games that I didn't enjoy playing and as I got older I sure as hell was not happy going to college twice for two different programs to later drop out of both because I wasn't fulfilled either. I thought it was what I had to do, and a part of me started to believe I wanted to do it too.
Who Am I?
Each experience in your early years created a defining I AM statement that became one of the building blocks of your later life. These defining statements operate on a subconscious level in every thought or act in your life. Some examples of these are;
- You are a bad person …… I AM a bad person.
- You’re not pretty……. I AM not beautiful.
- You’re not worthy…. I AM worthless.
- You’re behind everyone in the class…… I AM stupid.
- Father/mother walks out on us…… I AM not enough and unwanted.
- Kids exclude you/you’re made fun of….. I AM flawed and unwanted.
- You’re better than them…. I AM above them.
- Do not cry/stop crying…. I AM weak.
So on and so fourth, everyone’s experiences will be different, however, these are the examples of resulting (I AM) statements we can hold onto as a result of perceptions and comments from our outer life experiences. We carry these things with us at times, at least a lot of us do, I definitely do. I am 20 years old and I still haven’t been able to successfully let go of the I AM statements I have picked up from my childhood, that is why I am writing this and sharing my journey with you. What we are going to work on together is challenging these limited beliefs. You're here in this exact moment. Out of all the moments we have in life, you're here reading this blog not because of coincidence but because you’re ready to understand the ego and stop allowing it to get in the way of enjoying the diverse beauty life has to offer you. We are going to understand the ego, befriend it and observe it so we can harmoniously and synergistically evolve together as one. The separation of the ego is only an illusion so we might as well befriend it or better yet create an alliance with it. You're a team, don't forget that.
I have been working on this for quite sometime now, but I think I have figured out my stagnant downfall; I have set unrealistic I AM statements for myself which I will dive into very soon. I don’t feel beautiful because as a child my stepdad would always call me funny looking, my hair was frizzy, my nose was too big, and I had buck teeth. I would look around and compare myself to others, wanting to be more like them, wanting to feel a sense of normality. I will never forget the day I went to elementary school, I vividly remember the beautiful green dress I was wearing, black shiny shoes, white cover up, hair in two braids, my mom did me to the nines, and I still remember the girl who came up to me and told me how hairy my legs were. I remember it hurting me and making me feel so self-conscious on top of the media displaying woman as these perfect, well-groomed, soft skinned delicacies that I just didn't fit in with. I went home crying that night, but I was way too embarrassed to tell my mom why I was really crying and probably said something like “I’m not feeling well.” Several works are in play here, not only am I repressing the truth about my vulnerability but I am also holding in some deep self-esteem issues, building them up for my adult self to now want and yearn to heal from. It took me over ten years to gain comfort in my natural beauty, accepting myself for who I am and I will share that journey in another blog post coming soon!
If you would like to overcome restrictive and limiting fears, you will need to recognize these false fear-based generalizations and beliefs and align with new possibilities for the future. Possibilities that are open to new experiences, free from the limiting projections derived from past experiences and social pressure.
Each moment, person, and situation in life is unique, just because my father left when I was young does not mean every man will walk out of my life like he did. It took me up until this moment to conceptualize this. This goes for everyone and everything, you’re allowing your fear to win and limit your own experiences because of something you have experienced in your past. Remember these are simply just things that have happened to you, they DO NOT define you.
But how do we change these limiting beliefs or challenge them? HA. That's exactly what I was thinking…
I think it starts with understanding the ego and the ego’s goal. The ego is our friend essentially, think of the ego as our internal/external lawyer that will fight any case for us. When you have a belief about yourself whether it be positive or negative your ego’s job is to prove this to be true through our external experiences. Just like a lawyers job would be to prove his clients innocence.
This is where my revelations came into consciousness today. Let me explain… If my ego wants to prove my beliefs about myself to be true and I continue to say to myself I AM beautiful and I AM worthy, why is it that my external experiences fail to bring this to light? - People are still giving me dirty looks and being rude and disrespectful. That is because; reality. Not every single person in this world is going to like us, think we are beautiful or even believe we are worthy. That is normal because I have to admit, I can't say with confidence that I like absolutely every person I have met in my lifetime.
The ego wants to confirm these I AM beliefs to you through your external experiences and if these beliefs are challenged or fail to align with what is actually happening in reality, your ego goes into overdrive and it panics.
An example would be; I AM beautiful, someone walks up to you and says you're ugly, have you ever considered getting a nose job? — Your ego instantly goes into overdrive because its core belief of I AM beautiful is being challenged and is in a compromised position, in other words your ego is in survival mode. In moments like this your ego will do everything it can to create this experience as more of an illusion than a reality. When the ego finally exhausts every illusion, manipulation, rationalization, and denial it is forced to make the ultimate submission to the truth that the moment offers. Although you’re beautiful, you cannot expect everyone to think that. Because reality was challenging your ego, your ego panicked and wanted to protect your belief. The moment you accepted the reality of what was said as not your truth, but reality as “their truth” your ego settled down, its work was over because you surrendered and accepted this. This is hard to do but well worth the practice. It is such a liberating feeling. This acceptance immediately ends the conflict and dissolves the pain and a new version of you is born. A new version of you is born because you've held onto your truth but haven't let the truth of someone else affect you. You're open minded and accepting of both opinions.
Imagine what could be possible for us if we allowed all of our life decisions to be based on our truth, regardless of “their truth.”
The work your ego does diminishes when your (I AM’s) finally harmonize with your current experience of reality. Your ego only takes action when you need to confirm a certain belief about yourself that is not currently happening or is being challenged in some manner.
What I AM going to try….
To give my ego a little break here, and to bring some peace of mind to myself because we all need to realize we are ONLY in control of ourselves.. We cannot control what he or she says to me whether it be rude or kind. People are all on their path and are only acting from the level of consciousness of which they are currently vibrating at in this given moment. It helps to remember we all have our stories and struggles so to be mindful that people are usually acting out of fear and not authenticity so to not take it personally and to wish them the best as you walk away with your truth, accepting theirs as “theirs.”
How are WE going to do this….
I think my I AM’s were too unrealistic when I take the above statements into consideration. They were too, to the point and I think I need to expand on them more so my ego isn’t always left fighting for my protection when I am faced with the sometimes harsh realities of life.
“I AM worthy,” is great to start off, but what if I add into that statement “why” it is that I am worthy and why other people don't have to be worthy of me as long as I AM worthy of myself.
Watch… All I have done is add a little more depth into my I AM statements in hopes this will create more harmony with my outer experiences.
I AM worthy……. I AM worthy of love, happiness, respect, success, laughter and so much more because these things bring me much joy. I know I AM worthy regardless of what other people think.
I AM beautiful…… I AM beautiful because my beauty shines outward from within, no matter what anyone else thinks or has to say about me.
I really like these statements because they aren’t limited to just one side of the experience, these statements make me feel like I can take on anything!
I really like that with these altered statements we still focus on the goal of the I AM “truths” but also prepare ourselves for reality, therefore whatever comes our way we can accept while still prioritizing our truth first.
This will create a solid foundation for us so that in the future our I AM statements can shorten if we would like, and we can focus on staying unaffected by “their” truths because our truth is so evident and engraved in our being and DNA that it will take force to change. Power versus force in play here - The universe truly wants you to recognize your divinity and reclaim your power, it's us forcing it to be otherwise.
I have also been working on not needing other people's validation to feel worthy and beautiful and I love that these I AM statements that go more in depth prepare for the worst but also allow us to find that stillness within ourselves where if we are insulted we know our truth, and if we are complimented we are ALREADY WHOLE, and the compliment allows our cup to spill with fullness. We are acting from a place of already being full, not lack. We aren’t acting from a place where we need these confirmations or validations to feel like we matter because we already know we matter either way.
Consistency is key.
Think about befriending the ego and understand that it's really just trying to protect us. Befriend it because it is fragile and sensitive and just wants to satisfy us and impress us. Regard it as your personal lawyer. It is strong and actually plays such a crucial role in our life and experiences internally and externally. Let's cut our ego some slack and give it a pat on the back for always trying to have our back whether it is successful or not and together let’s alter our I AM statements to make them more realistic to what reality is actually like so ourselves, and our ego’s, can live in peace. Let's also take a vow to be mindful of our self-talk and our I AM’s because your ego acts accordingly. From experience, the less I feel that I need, the more that comes my way. In other words, when I am walking in fullness, the more opportunities come my way because I am not looking for them to fill me. This concept plays a crucial role along with understanding the role of the ego because when I am whole and full, it is much harder for my ego to go into overdrive, I am full of myself and this isn’t a bad thing. (Which a lot of us were taught to think it is.) This can be a good thing because being so sure of myself and my truth means that not one thing that anyone says or does can corrupt or disturb that knowingness. When I am not whole or full, it's much easier for people's words and actions (external experiences) to affect me negatively because my internal body is lacking, therefore my external experience will also lack.
This is so crucial to evaluate!
Ask yourself these two questions so you can understand your internal body a little better and in turn attract what you want to experience externally. (THIS 99.9 percent works) but that other 0.01 percent is having to cope with assholes as a test from the universe. We can regard these people/tests as spiritual teachers in disguise. How will you allow them/it to affect you? Have you identified with this experience and taken it on as your truth or have you observed it happening and accepted it as “their truth” keeping your happiness intact?
1. What does it feel like when I’m connected to the presence of my power?
I feel confident, I feel whole, like no external experience can impede on this wholeness, I am outgoing, I want to help others, I can easily express myself with confidence, I observe. People seem to magnetize towards me, I love, I see the love in myself and every human being and within all existence around me. I am full.
2. What does it feel like when I’m disconnected from my power?
I get agitated and angry very easily, I want to seclude myself and I become very distant and quiet. It's harder for me to see the beauty within myself and the people and universe around me. I blame others. I am sarcastic, I am vibrating at a lower energy that people want to stay away from. It is harder for me to smile. My words are sharp and hurtful, my actions are limited to what I think people deserve and what they don’t and I act very entitled. It is hard for me to apologize or admit that I am in the wrong. I am quick to think the worst about my external experiences and think everyone's out to get me or criticising me. My internal becomes my external.
Keep your internal clean, positive, and full so your external experiences mirror this right back to you.
“The universe mirrors back the exact experience of who you believe yourself to be.”-Kaley Holmes
I want to shout-out my scorpio sista' Ashley Chunn for inspiring me with this post. She has been studying astrology for over ten years now and after speaking with her yesterday about what I'm feeling right now and my imbalances, she mentioned that is so normal to be feeling this way at this time with another full moon coming in Thursday, March 1st, 2018. This is our time to breakthrough and focus on the changes we want, as ungrounded as we may feel we need to stay true to ourselves and be strong if we want this change to really occur. She has me so excited because these are the changes (on top of many more) I am currently working on and struggling with the most but I AM going to try the more in-depth statements and I am going to stay consistent with this practice to yield the best results! You can’t learn anything without trying! Check her out here.
You can also check me out here.
About the author
My goal is to add value to your lives & to empower you with knowledge, things that I have learnt & discovered and most of it will probably be Holistic & natural.
I am a small business owner & life enthusiast.