When My Ego Doesn’t Serve
Self importance, bossy, pushy, arrogant, cocky, puffing up chest, boasting, self righteous, know it all, has to be #1, rub it in your face, poor winner, my kid is better than your kid, my dad can beat up your dad, being aggressive or unkind are all signs of the dark side of Ego. Most of us are guilty of this behavior at some point in our lives, if not acting this way then certainly of thinking these thoughts. I’m not immune and I now know I was operating from low self esteem or fear. I had to build myself up at the expense of others in order to feel good.
When I was bossy, pushy, over confident that my way was THE right way, often there was an anxiety within, a fear of not being heard. Making things happen alleviates this anxiety somewhat. I admit I’m a recovering control freak. In order to feel safe and ward off painful experiences I felt I had to control everything. This behavior created a negative spiral. However when I eventually took a moment to really feel the truth, I found the anxiety was still there, and in fact it was worse. The way to overcome this is to surrender.
How does a control freak surrender? Don’t’ take charge, let life happen, let others take charge and go for the ride, even if I think I know better, keep quiet and let the other figure things out, unless they are in danger and I really do know what to do. Don’t boast or plan, remain quiet, let life happen. I found the anxiety initially increased, and then over time it decreased. Patience and faith are important here because changing life long habits takes time. When I realized the world didn’t fall apart, and I wasn’t hurt, the anxiety decreased bit by bit. As surrender is practiced, the anxiety fades over time.
Another place I notice Ego in myself is when I have had negative dialogue in my head. After a day of beating up on myself, usually unnoticed, I end up feeling angry, annoyed, irritable, alone, frustrated, depressed, stressed, disconnected, disappointed, anxious or scattered and sometimes many of these symptoms at once. This is when I have allowed the Ego mind to take over in a harsh and judgmental way. What this behavior creates is a downward spiral of energy, becoming more negative over time until I feel very beaten up. It used to be I didn’t notice I was doing this to myself until I blew up, usually at a loved one. Eventually I noticed the pattern and actively searched for ways to change.
One way to effectively soothe my Ego mind into being kind and gentle is to BE more kind and gentle with myself. This is what I call extreme self-care. One of the best ways to quiet my mind is to ask ‘what do I feel like doing right now?’ and really do it, then ask again, and keep asking until I feel satisfied. The rules of course are don’t break the law, or harm anyone or anything. I can do anything as benign as sleeping in, or as unusual as walking backward all day. What ever makes me happy at the moment, and when that need is satisfied I move on to the next request. This method has been used to discover many hidden things about myself, like what foods I really do like opposed to have to like or eat because I was told to? What colors do I really like, or what kind of people do I really like and why? Extreme self-care has opened the door to many parts of me I didn’t know existed.
Another way I tame the harsh side of my Ego is to have a gentle schedule. I can go way overboard pushing myself to get 5 different jobs done in a day without a break. This is when I become the angry taskmaster over myself. What helps me undo this with myself is to have a gentle routine without the impossible time limits I place on myself – over and over again. To bring myself back into balance I plan breaks throughout the day that hold something heartwarming, relaxing, or refreshing, or all three. Because I have the pleasure of my granddaughter living with me at the present time, I plan my breaks to have a cup of tea and playtime with my granddaughter. This gives me something to look forward to that is enjoyable and keeps me from driving myself too hard in the day.
As I practice these methods, the Ego mind relaxes because it is able to see the Self is in charge so the Ego mind doesn’t have to be. It is in this way many issues heal, easily and with flow, gaining more and more joy.
Feel good, have joy in your heart anyway.