The Definition of Ego
For years I have thought that the ‘Ego’ was the enemy. That devil on your shoulder that keeps you ‘safe’. Safe from real or imagined threats. That voice in your head that is constantly nagging at you whether you realise it or not. Whether you hear it or not.
I have read many books that say that the ego is the negative self speak that undermines our higher purpose. Doreen Virtue calls it “the lower self or false guidance.” For example:
Everything is going to work out great.
What if it doesn’t?Doreen Virtue – Divine Guidance
When you look at the psychoanalytical definition of ego (not the guy kissing muscles definition) as follows:
“The part of the mind that mediates between the conscious and the unconscious and is responsible for reality testing and a sense of personal identity.”
This definition of the ego is almost the direct opposite of the ‘false guidance’ that Doreen Virtue talks about. I am not a philosopher by any stretch of the imagination but until recently, I leant more to the view that the ego is primarily our negative self speak. That voice in our heads that stops us doing what is in our best interest or tell us that we are not enough.
Divine Guidance to the Rescue
I firmly believe that there is a difference between divine guidance and false guidance. Doreen Virtue notes that there are characteristics of divine guidance. According to Doreen Virtue, true guidance is:
- Mature – Supportive and motivational
- Consistent – Similar messages supporting you on a particular path
- About helping others
- Doesn’t procrastinate – Nudging us to pursue our true purpose
- Strong and powerful
- Sounds familiar
- Comes suddenly and completely
- Never puts us above or below others
So, in that thinking the ego is the opposite of all of the above. And, this is partially the reason why I have always seen the ego as something to be stomped! Wiped out. Turned around. Ignored. But….
Anita Moorjani’s book (Dying to be Me) started me thinking a bit differently about the ego and how we perceive it. The way I understand it is that Anita is saying that we shouldn’t try to park our ego speak entirely because it is there for a reason. But, if the ego is working for us in the negative, we should acknowledge it and then try to work from a position of love.
“If you deny the ego, it will push back against you harder. The more you reject something, the more it fights back for it’s own survival. But when you can completely live your ego unconditionally and accept it as part of how you express in this life, you’ll no longer have a problem with it. It won’t impede your growth – on the contrary, it will be an asset.”Anita Moorjani – Dying to be me
The Good News – We Can Change!
For a long time, I had a paralysing fear of public speaking. So, I have been using a number of mental tools to wipe this out. But, it has helped me to realise that our fears or ego speak are an opportunity to overcome that which we are afraid of. If we truly turn our ego’s to our advantage as Anita writes, we would view the world in an entirely different way and behave totally differently as well.
Think how much more we would do if we used our fears (or ego speak) as fuel to do all of the things that we are afraid of? Because, chances are those fears are our higher self’s way of telling us that we are not living our highest self’s true purpose.
I am reading John Assaraf’s new book at the moment. In the book, John talks about AiA.
A: ActionJohn Assaraf –
“Innercise – The New Science To Unlock Your Brain’s Hidden Power”
John takes a bit more of a scientific view of the ego based language we hear on a daily basis but he does support the view that we can use those fears as a means to grow providing we are Aware of the fear, have an Intention to change it AND take Action.
According to John, “from an evolutionary perspective, being sceptical, unsure, and negative is a valuable trait. It helps stop you from impulsively indulging in risky behaviour, like gambling or overeating.” But, he also cautions that we don’t use our ‘stories’ to stay stuck.
So, to an exciting conclusion.