That which comes and goes, rises and sets, is born and dies is the ego. That which always abides, never changes, and is devoid of qualities is the Self. ~Ramana Maharshi
The ego is a tricky thing. It really isn’t “bad;” just misguided. Unfortunately, most people let their ego drive their life, emotions, and actions.
The ego drives us to do impressive things but makes us miserable in the process. Many of the most successful people have the biggest egos, and most of them are also unhappy. This is because the ego is never satisfied.
The ego is the part of us that gets afraid of new things, jealous of others, possessive with things and people, judgmental, angry when things don’t go its way, and self-conscious. It really only wants to protect (how noble!) but it does more damage in doing so because it tries to protect us in unhealthy, and sometimes very painful, ways.
It always requires more to feel comfortable. Each success or accomplishment must be bigger than the last. There’s no peace. So we must find a way to move beyond our egos to find true peace and happiness while accomplishing our goals.
Transcending the Ego
I’ll give you the bad news first. It will take time, patience with yourself, and discipline to learn to fully transcend the ego. It’s a lifelong effort.
This is because after we’re born, we identify ourselves within the world from the context of others. This is how we learn “comparinitis” and “control” issues. We see ourselves by how we see others and, in doing so, the ego likes to tag ideas of who we are and the things we do with either “good” or “bad” labels.
The good news? There are things you can do to start the process of transcending the ego. You CAN learn to identify less with the ego and more with your true Self. Here are some tips!
- Try not to take everything personally. Other people have bad days too. You sometimes misinterpret the intention of others. Other times, people are out to intentionally hurt you but it’s because they are hurt. Even if someone insults you directly, their words are nothing more than sound. The sound of a tree falling wouldn’t offend you. An insult is no different. Only your ego makes it so.
- Stop comparing yourself to others. The comparison game is a losing one. Are you better than someone else if you own a bigger home or wear nicer clothes? Is someone better than you if they get the job you desire? Know that your value is immeasurable. Comparisons prove nothing.
- Recognize your real Self from your thoughts and emotions. You are not your thoughts or your emotions. You are the consciousness that witnesses these things. When you are able to see your separation from your thoughts, you can also see the separateness you have from the things that happen around you.
- Stop reacting. Respond instead. The ego attempts to influence you to act quickly and without contemplation. The longer you wait to respond to your negative feelings, the less likely you are to wake the ego.
- Give up your need to be right. Ask yourself why you need to be right all the time. In the end, it’s only to make yourself feel and look better. Even if you believe you’re trying to be helpful, you’re still trying to feel good about yourself. If you’re ego-free, you’ll lose the desire to be right.
- Question your motivations. Are you thinking about what your friends and family will think about your choices? You’ll often find your ego is a driving force. If you can really get to the “why,” you’ll quickly determine if you’re acting from ego or from your true Self.
Over to you…
The ego is not a bad thing and it was created to help us identify who we are in the world and our sense of self-esteem or self-importance. It is only by being aware that we often operate from an egocentric view that we can start to analyze how it shows up and eventually transcend it. When you do that, you start to find your real Self!
How can you start to transcend your ego? Share your thoughts and ideas. Let’s help each other operate from a place of love and our higher selves!