We all have different types of ego, in fact many of us may struggle with two types of ego at the same time telling us different things that could easily drive us crazy.
The more meditation I do the more aware I get of what is going on in my head in the form of internal chatter. One of the things that I have noticed is the presence of the ego, or as we know it too, the subconscious. Yes it is that little voice that if we follow blindly will drive us nuts. We all have different types of ego and their voices change or the volume of their voices turns up or down as we learn to ignore and refute some of the things that are whispered in our ears.
What is the ego made of?
The ego is made of everything that we have heard or was told to us when we were children. It is also made of our experiences in life and it changes as we grow. Either from our parents, our teachers, our society and so on. It is what in the Four Agreements book by Miguel Ruiz would be called the result of ‘the process of domestication’. As children we do not question the information that comes our way or the rules that we are supposed to follow. It is only when we grow up that we learn to discern our own opinions from the opinion and rules of others, including the cultural rules of the society we live in. Sometimes our ego will whisper in the background some great things to us but some other times it may say horrible things. Both can be dangerous if not managed correctly.
Say for example that a child has been told all his life that he is too precious to clean and always had someone who would do that for him. Imagine that the same kid grows into a man that does not have the means to hire help in his home to clean. This man prefers to go to work with dirty clothes and to live in a extremely dirty apartment as he feels that to clean is beneath him. Of course this is an extreme example but he will feel different to the person that only think about cleaning in a more pragmatic way because he has been raised in a family where cleaning is just one of the things you do on a daily basis. What we live and experience in our lives does affect who we are today and only if we listen carefully we will listen to what is being said.
It is important to be able to distinguish who you are, who you feel you are and who you feel you would want to be. To most of us, the ability to discern these versions of ourselves will come with the ability to truly become our best friend. Many psychologist recommend journaling as a way or re framing your thoughts about yourself (the famous DBT, (Dialectical Behaviour Therapy)and as a way to offer yourself a form of compassion and empathy. We often offer that to others and not so often offer the same to ourselves. It is a very healing process to go though and one I would recommend everybody.
Try this exercise:
This is an exercise that I find very helpful. Write down all the nagging thoughts you hear from your ego. And just as you write the complaint, reply with an answer re framing the situation These are some of the most common ones that we all share at some point in our life.
Aim for perfection or not try at all because if you fail you are a failure.
This is for all of you that, like me, have a perfectionist inside.
What you should say to yourself: It has taken me a bit too long to realise that I will not listen to everything you say. This car is not yours to drive. I have been too long seated in the passenger seat.
First of all, I am not a failure if everything I do is not 100% perfect. It is perfectly ok to try, to fail, to progress and to keep going because you enjoy the process. Yes, the process. I know you do not care about that as you only care about the results. But I don’t accept that view anymore, and I won’t accept the endless comparisons with more successful people. Yes, I know you think I am too good for many things and you try to make me feel guilty for not dedicating my life to just one passion that I do perfectly. But you have to get over yourself and let me live this life, that after all, is only mine.
There is no shame in playing with creativity, to try new things and not be be great at them all. Since I do that, I have discovered new sides of me, new hobbies and I don’t mind the applause and social acceptance of things anymore. I feel free and wear a big smile almost every day.
Compare yourself to successful people and feel bad. You will never be successful.
This one is another typical one that takes different forms, but it takes us all to the same place : shame> guilt> jealousy.
What you should say to yourself: You have to understand that I am going to feel happy for other people’s successes, and that I will not let your crazy fears take the best part of me. We are all different and we all have different journeys and challenges. Yes, I had shortcomings, yes I had losses, very difficult losses that broke my heart in different times in my life. But these losses will not be used as material to stop me from trying to live a fulfilled life in peace. I am a different person, I am a person that will feel happy for others and will aspire to the same happiness and love even when in pain. And you will accept that, because that is the kind of person that I want to be.
Do not try anymore. Things never turn well.
This one is called FEAR and accompany us all in many situations in life. The important thing is not to give it too much power.
What you should say to yourself:I will not dwell in my shortcomings as a person . Whatever I do, I do it for passion and not for applaud. I will remind myself of that every single time you try to make me self-doubt about my art, my body, my goals… and son on. I am a work in progress in so many ways that I know it has been hard for you to keep track of them all. But you have to let go. Failure was not bad as you said many times, it has actually opened many doors to me. It has showed me the way into places I would have never visited if I have never dared to try. And the biggest lesson for me is that I loved to feel the magic while it lasted until it had to leave me to go to a better place. Good things will happen to me, bad things will happen too, but I will enjoy the good as much as I will cry the losses. But listen now, I will not ruminate into the losses. I will remember the process and how I enjoyed the process.
Do you use any other techniques to manage these kind of negative thoughts? Share below in the comment section. I would love to hear your thoughts!