To be told you have an ego may feel insulting like someone has just pointed at your head and shouted ‘HA, that’s massive’. Yes, you physically may have a larger than average head (nothing wrong with that – think of it as having a larger surface area to spread your wonderful smile across) but being told you have an ego should not be an insult.
Why? Well, because we all have one.
The problem only comes when our egos become too big to be contained, a bit like when you try to squeeze into that pair of jeans that fit you before Christmas – not always the prettiest of sights.
In this blog, we’ll talk through what an ego is, the power it holds, why egos have a bad rap, and what happens when they go into overdrive.
What actually is an ego?
For the psychologists amongst you, the ego may be known as a rational mediator that stops us acting impulsively. However, that’s not the one we’re on about. We’re on about the inner cheerleader or voice that says: yep, you’ve got this.
We’re on about the ego that determines your self-esteem – or, lack of it! Such feelings of self-importance and self-appreciation are important for us to truly know what we are capable of, so that we can reach our full potential.
And whilst we should all have confidence in ourselves, there is a line to be drawn to avoid being put onto a shelf with the ego-driven Donald Trumps of the world.
Ego – friend or foe?
It’s generally accepted that ‘having an ego’ is a negative thing, but it is a necessary part of all of us. It can tell you a lot about yourself, it makes you your unique and authentic self, and it allows you to put your plans into action.
Yes, it does have its cocky moments, but when ego is well balanced it can build us up (buttercup baby), to higher heights than we could imagine. Not only can our ego bring us confidence in tricky situations, but it allows us to knock through the brick walls in front of us that we once thought impenetrable – not with your fist though, that would hurt.
We also have our ego to thank for helping us to stay resilient in the face of adversity. Not only this, but it fuels our willpower – our ego essentially helps to feed our self-control rather than our bellies when we are trying to fit back into our favourite jeans.
Despite these pretty fetching character traits that the ego has, it can be our biggest enemy too. So, I’d recommend keeping it on the side, ensuring it stays well balanced and works in harmony with the rest of your mind and body.
When we fail to regulate our egos, unsavoury thoughts can creep in like a thick mist on a cold winter morning.
We may dislike the success of others, search out attention, inexplicably hold ourselves in higher regard than our peers, discuss other people’s imperfections or destructively compare ourselves to those around us. These displays of envy, superiority, arrogance, and general rudeness are clearly detrimental not only to others but to ourselves as well.
When we can feel these thoughts and emotions creeping up on us, it is important to notice them, digest them, and realise that this voice in our head is not us, but just a part of us.
When does the ego takeover?
A classic example of your ego taking over is during arguments. You’re arguing a point against someone, passionate as anything, and half way through you realise that you are in fact, wrong.
What we should do in this situation is take a step back, realise that we are not in the right, and accept it. But rather, we often tend to keep up our argument and refuse to back down until we have ‘won’, even though we know we’re wrong. We’ve all been there…
Our ego can also go into overdrive when we set ourselves unattainable targets. We often appoint ourselves unrealistic, or even impossible goals, and then beat ourselves up when we don’t reach them. Whilst setting ourselves targets that challenge us can be a good thing, it is important to be reasonable to avoid feeling disappointed in ourselves.
Ego takeover isn’t all bad though!
The self-esteem that our ego brings can be integral when it comes to pushing ourselves out of our comfort zones. When we do things that we may be scared of, it is our ego that let us go and allows us to face a fear.
Perhaps you quit your job to move to a new industry. It was probably terrifying, but the payoff is likely to have been worth it when you found the job of your dreams. Or maybe you moved to a new country completely alone. Yes, you may have left your friends and family and those things that bring you security at home, but the experiences that you had when you allowed your ego to take over your fear were beyond what you may have imagined.
Finding the ego balance
It’s clear our egos can get us in some right pickles, but when regulated properly, they can help us achieve some amazing things.
My ego allowed me to create Big Knows! It brought me the courage to take control and do what I really wanted to do, despite how scary it seemed. It was the best decision I’ve made – thanks ego!
If you’d like to know how to balance your ego, or if you’d like to embark on your journey to positive thinking, Big Knows can help. Just drop me a line, I don’t bite!