The word “ego” has such a negative connotation. We refer to people with a detrimental amount of narcism as having big egos. And often, we find our ego is the biggest force between what we think we can do, and what we can actually do.
The ego is an energetic form or structure within our individual experiences that separates us from our higher self. It is, in a sense, a false sense of self. The ego hides behind the “I” and “me” in such statements as:
I am ugly.
I am perfect.
I could never do that.
No one can ever do that as good as me.
No one loves me.
Having such thoughts, and agreeing with even the faintest conviction that they define us, creates and supports the ego.
However, it is easy to be unaware when this is happening to you, and so we find ourselves stuck trying to discern the difference between what is really us, and what is simply the ego. After all, we have spent years living our true selves, as well as building our ego self-images. But the two do not have to coincide. In fact, it is completely possible to extract the genuine self out of the grip of falsities that merely create daily obstacles in our lives.
Here are four examples of opportunities to reduce ego in daily lives:
Give credit to others
Many of the successes that come to define us are merely meant to feed the ego. In the words of Eckhart Tolle, “On a deeper level you are already complete. When you realize that, there is a playful, joyous energy behind what you do.” Your achievements do not make you a better person, but they do make your ego feel this way. When you feel inclined to share a success of yours, try practicing giving credit to someone else, such as a mentor who helped you.
Accept and appreciate embarrassment
Humility is one of those words that makes many of us cringe. People fear being embarrassed; being humiliated. But there is nothing noble about escaping such a fate. Embracing humility robs the ego of its comfort zone. And in moments when you open your arms to such a thing, you will find you aren’t thinking less of yourself, but thinking of yourself less.
Embrace the discomfort of social interactions
It’s easy to get caught up in the what-ifs of life. What if you don’t fit in? What if people don’t like you? Once again, this is merely your ego hindering you from living your life to its fullest. Don’t get attached to such questions or concerns, and instead embrace the discomfort as a transition from what you don’t yet know to what you soon will.
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Let go of the need for self-importance
Though your thoughts, feelings, and words are important, it’s easy to put them on such a pedestal that you stop listening to others, even cutting them off to insert your viewpoints. Allowing others to truly hold the floor allows you to develop better listening skills as well. There is a reason people use objects in groups to symbolize whose turn it is to speak, while others must listen until they have passed the object onward. Humans can be impatient, yes, but it’s really more about the desire to speak your mind. This is merely the ego, however.
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