Do you have an inflated ego?
Ironically we cringe at this question so much that it instantly makes us go into denial mode. “NO … I have quite a normal ego thank you,” we are prone to think. Then, we might proceed to hunt for a person in our lives that we can feel angry and self-righteous towards and start ruminating on how much we detest their inflated ego.
Strange don’t you think?
The ego denies the existence of the ego, and the ego likes to find someone else to blame, which is precisely why we continue ending up in the same depressing emotional ruts over and over again. When we refuse to acknowledge the extent to which our ego runs our lives, we fail to ever authentically grow or find deep inner peace in life.
But to acknowledge that you have a humongous ego is very hard. Oh yes!
It takes humility, openness and radical honesty to get to a point where you can say, “YES, I have a MASSIVE EGO, and it sucks.” It takes a lot of courage to admit that you are wrong and that you’re not as great or as righteous as you once thought. Why? Because for many people this spells D.E.A.T.H., an ego death; death of stability, death of certainty, death of confidence, death of self-esteem.
But hear me now … you don’t need to hate yourself in order to admit that you have an inflated ego! On the contrary, admitting this to yourself is one of the greatest acts of self-love possible, and it is a direct gift from the Soul to be able to admit your egotism, and yet still respect who you are on a soulful level.
5 Tactics of the Inflated Ego That Keep You Asleep
When you are “asleep” you have not awoken to the truth of life – of your reality. When we speak of “waking up” or refer to a “spiritual awakening” we are referring to a person who has tasted authenticity of being – not the lies and half-truths of man-made existence.
So have you woken up, or are you mostly asleep? Perhaps you are in the middle, and exist in a limbo between truth and lie, reality and unreality. Find out below:
1. I need anger and fear in order to enact change.
I have heard this so many times – even from myself – that it is mind-boggling. Activists, in particular, suffer from this type of ego trick, believing that the only way to create real change is to approach people from a place of anger. I’ve seen and heard a lot of vegans, religious missionaries and animal right’s activists in particular use guilt, shame and fear to try and convert people to a “better way of life.” However, this often just results in ego-fueled arguments, resentment, and worst of all, denial.
The reality is that anger breeds anger. War breeds war. But love breeds love. Peace breeds peace. And love, true love in my experience, is not an inactive state of sitting in your own drool; it is active, and comes from a place of understanding.
Who would you most likely take seriously? A person who calls you a “sinner” or a “selfish murderer” who is “unconscious, unethical, and the scum of the earth,” or someone who teaches you empathy, true understanding, and compassion for not only yourself, but for all of life?
2. I need to be “more spiritual” in order to be happier.
When you think of a spiritual person, what do you picture? Perhaps you think of a yogi, or an energy healer, or a psychic. Images of crystals, chakra cleansing or meditation might arise. And while all of these things are very useful and extremely beneficial, it is not actually necessary for us to “be a spiritual person” in order to find deep, abiding joy.
Why is this the case? Because the act of pursuing an image of spirituality takes away from the act purely experiencing Being. When we are constantly desiring and attempting to be something other than what we innately are, we create an immense dissatisfaction and rift in our lives. We constantly feel as though we are “almost there”; almost the epitome of spirituality, when all along we are chasing our tails in circles. In reality, what we have desired all along is already here beneath all the layers of our thoughts, beliefs, desires, conditionings and goals.
How can you know this for sure? Take a moment to stop what you are doing right now. Stop your searching, stop your running, stop your resistance to whatever is happening in your life in this very moment. Allow everything to be as it is. This doesn’t mean being a pushover or doormat; it means being smart and not fighting with reality. Stopping everything is the best way to experience the innate joy that has already existed beneath everything all along.
3. I need to suffer in order to find fulfillment.
This mindset is similar to the Martyr complex way of seeing life. While it is undeniable that suffering helps us to grow and learn, to think that suffering is a prerequisite to experiencing fulfillment is like thinking that you must chop off your finger in order to have a really great day.
The reality is that you don’t need to suffer to find fulfillment, although finding fulfillment is often a result of suffering. Sound like a bunch of Dr. Seuss lingo?
Often we get extremely attached to our stories of righteous suffering. Why? Because they make us feel special and entitled. However, what we neglect to realize is that the ego is running the show here: you don’t need to be a martyr to experience the Soul. You don’t need anything but the cultivation of conscious presence, now.
4. That thing/that person is responsible for my suffering.
We are conditioned since birth to name, blame and shame. Essentially, pointing the finger at other people and situations for our misfortune and unhappiness is our heritage, and one we carry with immense burden.
Yes, your son might not be talking to you; yes, your partner might not be accepting your goals and dreams; yes, you might have been diagnosed with a terrible illness, but in and of themselves these people and events in your life are not responsible for your suffering. Your resistance to them is. Your desire for them to be anything other than what they are is.
Of course, this doesn’t mean giving up and letting people and situations walk all over you. It doesn’t mean not doing the best for yourself and making the very most of your life. But it does mean taking responsibility for your reactions, thoughts and feelings. It does mean accepting that your happiness is a direct reflection of your decisions.
5. I need THAT to give me THIS.
Here are some common examples:
I need lots of money to give me security. I need your love and acceptance in order to make me feel whole and complete. I need to lose this much weight in order to make me confident and sexy. I need to rebel against what they do in order to make me a better person. I need to be successful in order to feel fulfilled in life. I need to be likable in order to be acceptable.
Is this all true?
The reality is that nothing outside of yourself can genuinely give you what you can’t give yourself from the inside. This is because whatever is out of your control is subject to being destroyed or taken away from you within seconds.
Your Turn …
What ways has the ego enslaved or dominated you throughout life? Perhaps you have lost touch with your Soul as a result of listening to the voice of your ego too frequently. Finally, can you provide any more examples of how the inflated ego overtakes our lives?
Great read. I must admit I have a big ego too,as I usually see the causes of people’s afflictions from a mile away,and more often then not I am proven correct. It is very difficult getting a hold of this ego,even as I practice much self awareness.
I almost get the sneaky feeling that there’s a big universal joke going on that once you succeed in dealing with a particular desire, you get granted it! This could be seen as a reward …but also perhaps a fortifying test…?
I could add, our ego always need to be right…right?….;-)
That was one of your best articles yet and i plan on sharing it. Thank you so much for what you give to help others.
My ego problem is that I am a mature soul and my husband is an old soul. I have one young soul in my life (my son) and the rest are baby or infant souls. There are too many times I feel superior to the baby or infant souls in my life, and I am really working hard on getting over that. I understand why they are the way they are and that should be enough. I should be there to help them, but my ego gets in the way. #3 also resonates with me. I am a compulsive worrier and if I don’t worry about something I find something to worry about. I see an awesome hypno-therapist who has helped me with self esteem issues, and next visit she is going to hypnotize me for the worry thing. BTW, hypnosis works well for me, as long as it is something I really want to change.
I can now confidently affirm that nothing is more deathly to my growth n awareness than my own EGO. I live in Africa- Gambia to be specific. i have suffered all my life from my own self. i never had a clue of what and why was suffering so much. until one day when i stumbled on this site. Brother mateo and sister Aletheia- or should bring the A before the M. I owe you my greatest and humblest gratitude. i wish i had the means to look into faces, shook your hands and said THANK YOU. since the day i discovered this sight my life has never been the same. from that day each day i hav keep on moving n growing form the inside. this has been the most wonderful think in my life so far. its not posible for me tell how my entire sense of live or being has been transformed thanks to you for my freedom. i finds difficult to perfectly express my thoughts at this moment but one thing i can a certain is my EGO was the leading cause of all my problem: fear, sadness, discouragement, anxiety n the list can go on… Read more »
What a beautiful description of surrendering to what is. Although I don’t believe in a soul, I have been able to realize the pure awareness that we really are below our thoughts, emotions, preferences, et al. even when the ego tries to creep back in & my daily practice (after running) is to contemplate the qualities of awareness so when I need to recall them in a moment of forgetfulness. Those qualities are clarity, peace, non-judgement (important one), trust, creativity, nourishment, kindness & space.
Number 2 resonated with me. When I first began my journey into self-discovery, I looked towards alternative religions and belief systems to find a sense of fulfillment and to feel as if I were discovering my true self. I realized this method wasn’t working and have since done my best to not give in to the illusion of what I should be, and rather let myself simply be. It can be difficult at times, especially as I am prone to creating ideal versions of myself that I must aspire to be. However, I’m hoping to reach a point where I no longer need to indulge in these illusions. Number 4 also resonated. Since I began learning about myself, I have realized many of the problems I face today are a result of the way I was raised. It has been so easy to blame my suffering on my parents and circumstances within my family. I allow myself to give in to my martyr complex. This is what I tend to struggle with the most. Number 5 is another struggle. I tend to think such things as, “If I had more money, I’d be able to live a more natural lifestyle,”… Read more »
Cutting through spiritual materialism by Chogyam Trumpa disused similar isdues. Highly recommended.
I’m going to go a bit backwards. Number 4- this resonated with me. When I was younger I used to always say, this or that person drives me crazy, makes me mad or upsets me. As an adolescent I struggled with so much because of how I was treated or mistreated so to speak. Until my boyfriend told me one day, “You can’t feel any way you don’t allow yourself to feel”. I know. Mind blowing. But it made sense and to this day Ive tried to remember that. Some times it harder than others to remember this but it’s always in the back of my head 15 years later. Number 3- When going through dark places it’s so hard to know there can be a radical leap forward spiritually if you can just get through the muck and mire. Often times having wallowed because the darkness can become familiar and comfortable. But oh, after the break through… And it isn’t always the “ripping of the veil” or the hallelujah chorus. Sometimes it’s gradual but those things that once haunted you are replaced by an equally powerful and undoubtedly more fulfilling peace or a sense or normalcy you didn’t think… Read more »