I used to wonder what people meant when they said they were trying to “find themselves” and I recently went down that path. First looking outside of myself, seeing where I fit in this world. I thought how others viewed me, would define who I was. The life lesson came from understanding the difference between the ego and my true self.
I struggle with social anxiety and have to remind myself that I don’t need to be afraid of other people, I’ll be okay no matter what they think of me. I don’t have to talk or act the same way as the last time I came in contact with them or over-analyze what they might think of me. I’m learning to be aware of my fears and talk myself out of them, shifting my focus to love instead of fear. The ego is entirely based on fear. It traps people in the story of their past.
The ego is a fairly new concept for me. Of course I had heard the word, I just didn’t understand it. The ego is a person’s sense of self-importance, your social mask, your titles and roles. The ego is an illusion of the mind. I’ve been learning how to recognize it. I think that it’s something very important to have a basic knowledge of.
The ego tells us that we need to make others think we are important. It is something we all have to live with but we don’t have to believe what it has to say, because it’s not who we are. Deep down below all the labels, roles, social masks and expectations, we can find our true selves. Our very existence in this world makes us beautiful, valuable and amazing.
Even though a different part of my personality comes out, depending on the person I’m spending time with, I’m still being true to myself. All of the roles I play are true because I am limitless. My true self cannot be defined and it trumps the ego. I can reinvent myself every day if I want.
Never confuse self-love with the ego. The two are entirely different. The ego requires a person to think they are better than others and will put others down in order to keep that perception. Self-love means you are your own best friend and that you are able to give that gift to others indirectly, by inspiring them to do the same for themselves.
People seem to need to feed the ego by identifying and bragging about where they fit in life, with a certain group, as if where they are from makes them more important. I feel that every human being on the planet has equal worth and that the world belongs to all of humanity.
“There’s no race, no religion, no class system, no color, nothing, no sexual orientation, that makes us better than anyone else. We are all deserving of love.” ~ Sandra Bullock
All suffering is ego-created and caused by resistance. The ego will always be there, but it doesn’t have to rule our lives. The key is to carefully be aware of the thoughts circling your mind instead of getting lost in the thoughts themselves. Happiness is slowing down and listening to the conversations in your head without believing them.
When you hear the ego start to cut yourself or others down, or trick you with scare tactics, address it immediately “I know you’re trying to protect me from a future pain that you think is coming. I appreciate your desire to protect me but I will not dwell in fear” If you can remember to do this, your true self will prevail over the ego. Yes you can allow feelings to wash over you like a wave, as long as you recognize that it’s temporary, accepting instead of fighting it, knowing that life can be tough, but so are you. You are resilient.
There is a counter force to the ego. It allows you to overcome all of the ego’s fear and anxiety. It is your true self. Maybe you have caught glimpses of it? It is different for all people, but they are the same, in that for a brief moment, we catch a glimpse of our true selves and the ego disappears completely. In that moment there is no fear or worry, there is only you: infinite, kind, beautiful you. Perhaps it is while riding a bike or driving down the road with your favorite music, maybe you were on the treadmill or taking a walk outside and you felt: This is it. This is my peace, my happiness. Centered and grounded.
In addition to recognizing and overcoming the ego, we must embrace our true selves. Seek out those moments where you feel alive, create more of those moments. When you feel that sense of calm infinite peace in your soul, capture that feeling and dwell on it often. Stop living in the painful shadows of your past and allow your true self to begin guiding your life.
When the ego is in charge we will be caught thinking about the same things over and over, consumed by negative emotions, focused on anxieties, fears and doubts. When the ego is in charge our worth is dependent on external things, a partner, friends, career, family, outward appearance, home etc. When the ego is in charge, validation from others will be a desperate need and we’ll be easily bruised when people let us down and life doesn’t go our way.
Believing the ego means you get your identity from others, it means a second-hand life. The moment you realize you don’t need to depend on others and that you have your own intelligence, you can look within. When someone says something about you, don’t internalize those words, to be hurt implies you believe what they said. When you stop believing negative self-talk from the ego, you’ll also stop believing hurtful things that others say about you. You won’t need their acceptance or understanding if you truly accept and love yourself.
When our true self is in charge, we accept ourselves, others and circumstances completely, our preferences and desires bubble up from within us, not from external influences like society and the expectations of others. When our true self is in charge we feel in the flow and lose ourselves in our hobbies, connect with nature, a sunrise, a starry night, or quotes that resonate. Life feels effortless, and we feel free and empowered to live a beautiful life, our purpose in life is to follow our heart’s song and share our unique gifts with others.
Forgetting our true self comes from seeing through the eyes of the ego. This is why there is so much unhappiness. But those negative feelings are sometimes the reason for the awakening of the desire to return home to who we really are.
To be fair, it is incredibly challenging to dismiss the allure of the ego and be led by your true self, but even if you manage to connect with this deeper part of yourself a few minutes a day, your life will improve in a beautiful way. The smaller you make the ego, the easier it is to escape your prison cell and find freedom. When the ego is lost, limit is lost. You become infinite, kind and beautiful. Even a teaspoon worth of love, wisdom or courage coming from your true self is a thousand times more powerful than negative messages coming from the ego. Try to remember this, beautiful soul.
Source: Mindful Regeneration