Our egos are powerful. They can make us believe that everything is about us. They can make us feel defensive when others offer up criticism. They can allow us to believe that people are slighting us when it's actually our own insecurities. They get wounded when relationships struggle or end painfully. Our ego will make us feel separate and superior to others and it will work to preserve its sense of self-importance at any cost.
Spiritually, ego means considering oneself to be distinct, or separate from others and from God. It's the opposite of identifying with the Soul or God within us and living our daily life with this consciousness, the concept of...we are all one. The ego fools us into becoming overly identified with our bodies, our thoughts and emotions. I've often heard the acronym for ego to be Edge God Out. I really like this description of ego.
The ego identifies itself as just a physical body that is born and dies, instead of seeing ourselves as spiritual beings having a human experience.
Deepak Chopra describes the ego this way, "The ego is our self-image, not our true self. It is characterized by labels, masks, images, and judgments. The true self is the field of possibilities, creativity, intentions, and power. We can go beyond the ego through self awareness - awareness of our thoughts, feelings, behaviors, and speech. Thus we begin to slowly move beyond the ego to the true self." Deepak describes the coats, the hats. the masks that we wear to in essence "hide" our true self.
I believe that awareness is a huge step toward making shifts. Paying attention, being mindful of how we feel, what we are thinking, what we are saying and how we are behaving. Just having awareness, just paying attention causes a big shift in our response.
Self-inquiry is an important tool when being mindful. Working to understand, to be curious about what we are feeling and thinking and why and then accepting it. Once we understand and accept it then it no long has a hold over us.
It helps me to remember to not let my ego make decisions for me. Instead, I work to let my higher self make the decisions. My higher self makes decisions based on love, empathy, compassion, forgiveness, gratitude, peace and joy.
It helps me to remember to follow these guidelines:
Don't be quick to judge...be quick to listen, to empathize, to be compassionate, to apologize, to forgive, to love.
Don't be quick to be right...be quick to understand, to hear another perspective, to be open to a different way, a different thought, a new direction, to love.
Don't be quick to bully, to manipulate, to control, to compete...be quick to collaborate, to compromise, to respect, to partner, to love.
You don't need to be those things, you are okay, you are safe, you are enough. Take the time to pause, to connect to your higher wisdom. Don't Edge God Out.