Ego & “the N word”
When we take time to really notice the effect our words have on the people around us, sometimes we will need to feel bad about things we have said or done that may not have been in our own, or someone else’s best interest. Bad as this may feel, acknowledging these negative feelings can produce both connection and long lasting change and improvement in our life.”
Narcissism and ego are at the very heart of human unhappiness
Ego is an addictive drug. Seductive, because it makes us feel good; while alienating the people in our life who really care about us. Once addicted and without seeing it, we then begin to destroy what’s truly valuable, because the ‘feel good’ has become all we crave.
Narcissism and ego hurt us in ways we avoid looking at and, if we are not careful, can end up costing us everything we treasure and hold dear in our life.
Because there are people who will actively encourage our narcissism, this process sneaks up on us so slowly that often we won’t see the damage until we are well into middle age. We don’t want to see the truth; our ego really is our enemy making us hard to love and unpleasant to be around.
Are you thinking you are not guilty of this?
Narcissism is easy to see in others but much harder to see in ourselves!
Despite the fact we have been warned about ego by nearly every wise man in history, addiction to ego is now rampant and actively encouraged in our schools, with ego (as predator) entering our lives each time we feel superior to those we better in class.
From the time we start watching cartoons, we have the power of positive thinking drummed into our head. We are told we are amazing, that we can do anything, and that we are so much cooler and smarter than all those other morons out there . . . like our teachers and parents . . . and the kids who are not our friends.
The hard truth is that humility is really what makes people attractive . . . the trouble is humility doesn’t feel good and is not so easy to sell.
No one likes an over competitive person or know-it-all, except perhaps other ego addicts, such as proud parents, teachers or anyone else who can cash in on the shared ego glory of ‘their’ winner’s most recent success.
I am not saying accomplishment is a bad thing. The problem is simply that the people who feed our ego usually do this without our real needs or happiness in mind. Sometimes this person might be looking for an ‘ego hit’ in return when they succeed in getting us to smile and preen. Other times they may be “grooming” us in order to sell us something, like advertising that talks about the power of youth to sell fashion to teenagers, without ever explaining what ‘the power of youth’ really is or can do.
An addiction to ego will lead us to feed the egos of the people around us. ‘Pumping other people up’ makes us feel clever and powerful – and that we are a good person – without seeing the real chaos and unhappiness this actually causes in people’s lives.”
Teachers and parents are often guilty of this, as well as social workers, counsellors, bosses and our friends.
If you believe it is good to feed a person’s ego, I wonder if you know the real result of your actions once you have gone home?
Pumping a person’s ego does not build trust and a long term sense of security and worthiness in the people you want close. Instead, it will be more likely to fuel arrogance, despair and lead you to feel hurt, disappointed and let down by the very people whose egos you worked hardest to feed.
Because feeding a person’s ego is not the same as building self-esteem.
Good self-esteem comes from a person facing challenges that will stretch them personally and help them grow more confident in themselves rather than in comparison to anyone else.
True self-esteem is built from setting small but doable challenges for ourselves. This requires regularly facing things we think we can improve on (or don’t like about ourselves) without undue drama, false pride or pretence. In this way, building self-esteem is actually a process of ego deconstruction.
If we are honest with ourselves, the most urgent work will usually be areas never touched on at school and that are non competitive in nature; such as learning to be a pleasant and trustworthy companion, a better mother, father, son, daughter, friend, neighbour or citizen.
Right now, the world needs people who can, without ego, hold stable communities together, more than it needs just about anything else. Beware the champions and heroes, what the world really needs is caring and solid women and men.
How to Deconstruct Your Ego and Help the People Around You do the Same
When I hear talk about emotion these days, I often hear anger, jealousy, guilt and shame described as primitive emotions that are ‘bad’ and that we need to overcome. Yet, all of these apparently negative emotions are vitally important signals and powerful character building tools.
Do you know what your anger is telling you? Do you know how to express shame? (and in doing so open a door to more love in your life than you probably ever thought possible?)
When we take time to really notice the effect our words have on the people around us, sometimes we will need to feel bad about things we have said or done that may not have been in our own, or someone else’s best interest. Bad as this may feel, acknowledging these negative feelings can produce both connection and long lasting change and improvement in our life.
Beginning to notice what other people are feeling (especially when it has nothing to do with us), and taking the time to notice and care about situations not directly related to our life, is also a good place to start.
Remember the last time you got it really wrong with someone? I wonder if you can recall the expression on their face before the problem even started? Was that person clearly showing you that they were feeling something you may have entirely missed?
Unlike ego, this exercise certainly won’t feel great, but finding the courage to face your own guilt and shame on a regular basis, is undoubtably the path to allowing more love to enter your life.
This is something you must practice with sincerity within yourself if you ever hope to help anyone else face their own narcissism.
Because criticising and blaming others to avoid feeling our own guilt and shame, is even worse than using flattery to temporarily make ourselves and that other ‘someone’ feel good.
What effect do you have on the people around you? Do you help them feel centred and calm and able to face the genuine responsibilities in their life that need attending to? Or are you prone to nagging, criticism or flattery to prop up your own (not so realistic) image of yourself?
I challenge you to stand down from your pride today and admit that if your love life isn’t all you once hoped for, that maybe there are some bad habits around ego you need to take a look at in yourself.
As unpleasant as ego deconstruction is, you will be amazed just how easily people forgive you and how all the love (that is already all around you) will begin flowing back in.
Are you up for the challenge?