“The Ego, however, is not who you really are. The ego is your self-image; it is your social mask; it is the role you are playing. Your social mask thrives on approval. It wants control, and it is sustained by power, because it lives in fear.”
― Deepak Chopra
Walking down the street about a year ago I saw a man wearing a t-shirt that stated, “Your ego is not your amigo”. It got me thinking, hey that is right, I thought of all the times when I allowed my ego to run the show and how always got me into trouble. After attending a conference about self-compassion this past weekend, I was reminded of the importance of not living in ego, the importance of being our genuine selves and letting go of control. This week we will be exploring how to let go of ego in 7 tips so that we can live more freely and peacefully:
1) Let go of being perfect and expecting others to be.
Several weeks ago I devoted and entire article to the subject of perfectionism. Perfectionism kills your soul and makes one never able to be to be good enough or any of the people around them to be good enough. I am not trying to encourage you to have no ambition or drive in your life, I am just suggesting that you let go of the need for perfection. Perfectionism creates expectations, fear and disappointment. Why would anyone want to sign up for that? Let yourself and others be, we are all doing our best for today, remember and embrace that. If we can practice acceptance of the present moment or situation we will find peace, joy and magic in every moment.
2) Be who you are, instead of being who others want you to be.
Many people including myself have chosen to play the role of let me be whomever you want me to be at some point in their lives. The problem with this is role in life is that you build resentment towards others and you have no idea who you actually are.
Our ego’s tell us that we need to save face, to get everyone to like us, and to make them think that we are fabulous. This is a lie. You are already are an amazing being and no external validation will change that. There is strength in living your truth and being who you actually are. Being genuine is courageous, strong and sexy. Don’t listen to your ego about having to fit in. This just keeps you small and does not allow you to pursue and explore what your dreams are. Try practicing living and stating your truth even if it is a small one today. Notice how different it makes you feel.
3) Be willing to face your fears.
Fear lies, it keeps you away from your genuine self and it keeps you stuck in a rut. When we listen to our fears we do not allow ourselves to grow and change. I have stayed in situations, relationships and jobs that were no longer healthy for me because of fear. The thing about fear is when you don’t give it power and you look at your situation from a different angle, you see that the fear for what it actually is. When you no longer see fear as a scary enormous thing then you can take small steps towards dismantling the fear.
The universe will continue to give us the same situation over and over again if we do not face it. ” What you resist will persist.” Will you be willing to look at what your fears are today and begin to face them?
4) When someone steps on your toes, try responding instead of reacting. The ego rears it’s ugly head when it feels threatened, this especially happens when people bruise our ego. Just for today try taking 5 deep breaths when someone triggers you and hurts your ego. In those five breaths ask yourself what your upset about and how you are feeling slighted. In that time decide if it is worth saying something. And if you decide it is try using “I statements” instead of “you statements”, so that you will be heard and own your own feelings.
5) See that you are a part of a whole instead of just an individual being. Ego likes to tell us that we are all alone and very important. The problem with this thinking is that it keeps us very isolated and does not connect us with all of humanity. One of my favorite Buddhist principles is that of equanimity. Equanimity evens the playing field and helps us to see that we are human having a human experience and that thousands or millions of people are having the same experience at the same time. When you breathe and knowledge that you are part of a greater whole you will feel less isolated and more connected to the world. Today try recognizing, your pain and then reminding yourself that you are not the only one that is experiencing this as well, and that this is part of the human experience. Let me know how this makes you feel.
6) Be willing to admit your mistakes and take responsibility for self.
This one is hard when it comes to ego. Ego wants you to always be right, and never be questioned. Fortunately, we are not our egos so it is possible for us to take responsibility for our actions, choices and mistakes. Admitting our faults makes us more approachable to others and models good behavior. Admitting when we make a mistake allows us to practice humility and being right sized. Taking responsibility for ourselves allows us to live more freely by letting go of excess baggage. It also helps us to let go of the need for control.
7) Learn to let go of things you can not control.
I know that this is one of the most difficult things for most people to do. That is why next weeks blog post will be about control. When we can learn to let go we allow ourselves the space to be in the present moment and allow ourselves to be with the felt sense of our experience. The practice of letting go can put a kabosh on allowing ego and fear to rule our lives. The only thing that we truly have control over in our lives is how we respond to situations and how we making meaning of our lives. Will you be willing to think about trying this today?
“Your ego is your soul’s worst enemy.”~Rusty Eric
Please let me know your thoughts about this post below. Let me know what your experince is with ego how it has helped and how it has hindered you. As always please contact me if you have any questions.