Updated: Oct 10
So often I have clients and students that are having problems in their lives which relates to their ego. The ego is such a powerful part of our consciousness. It can build greatness and at the same time ruin our happiness. On the one hand our ego helps us to become better versions of ourselves, but on the other hand, it destroys relationships, separates us, causes ill feeling towards each other, brings about jealousy, resentment and defiles our own minds.
There are a number of ways to reduce the ego that I would like to share with you:
Do not be offended
Many wear their hearts on their sleeves. They are easily upset about what somebody says or does or doesn't say or doesn't do. We have value system build into our minds. This value system has a certain criteria and everything which is going on in our world is evaluated based on this criteria. If someone says or does something that violates our values then many times, we take offence to this. We think something like: They should not have said that, and become offended about what has happened.
We need to build our self-esteem and self-worth so that whatever happens does not offend us. The opinion of others is not important, it is what you think of yourself that counts. When you are strong in self-confidence then being offended is not an option.
Let go of the MUST to win
Many folks evaluate their self-worth on whether they win or lose. Of course, winning is a great feeling especially in sports but the problem lies in if we become immobilised when we don't. Individuals may become aggressive, angry and even physically violent when confronted by a loss. I know because I was one of them in my younger years. Winning builds confidence and gives you the motivation to improve. But winning also inflates the ego and cockiness can develop. Losing makes you think about what went wrong and how to improve so that better results occur. I tend to think about this whole winning/losing thing like this. Every time we do something, we produce results. Some good, some not so good but they are still just results. If we want to improve then we need to become better at what we are doing.
Winning and reaching goals are wonderful and we should strive to excel in life but winning at all cost is something we should steer clear of. Be determined to obtain great results from your endeavours and win but do not make it a MUST. A MUST brings about psychological decline when you do not win.
Let go of your need to be right
One of the problems with being wrong is that our value system takes a blow. Being wrong or being proven wrong is like saying you are dumb, stupid or not intelligent. So to protect ourselves from feeling dumb or stupid we battle to be right. We will argue over trivial things just to save face and the more we argue with someone to prove they are wrong and we are right, the more determined both sides become to prove the point. Tempers may become frayed and relationships damaged because of this need to be right. If we have done or said something wrong then admit it, acknowledge that we are wrong and move on without any ill feeling towards anybody.
If somebody else has said something that I know is without a doubt wrong, then many times I'll just say: You are right about that. This saves the face of the other and causes no ill feeling. It will also stop an argument immediately. We MUST not be right if we are strong in self-worth. Proving somebody else wrong to build our ego is no longer an option.
If you are involved in a business decision or a decision of significance then you can't just say that the other person is right. Instead the wrong/right dilemma needs a bit more tact. I use the following tactic: I may be wrong and I often am but can we exam the facts? Nobody will object to someone saying that. we may actually learn something and change our opinion too using this technique. But in any case we will soften our companions stance on a matter.
Let go of your need to be superior
Being superior in rank or knowledge means that we are placing ourselves on a pedestal and others beneath us. This builds our ego and diminishes the value of others. A person strong in self-worth and self-confidence does not need to prove their superiority. They treat all as equal and are also open to the input of others. Remain humble always.
Give up your need to have more
This has become an addiction in our society. The need for more is responsible for a vast amount of crimes in society. It is an idea that one cannot be happy unless they accumulate more. This may be in prestige and possessions. This may also be in knowledge in order to be superior to others. Having more pumps up the ego, giving folks a false sense of happiness and importance.
Once again, do not misunderstand me. We should strive to improve, to gain more knowledge, to provide for our loved ones and society but it becomes a problem when we MUST have it. I am not saying here that we should give up all what we have and go and live in the forest for the rest of our lives. Money has to be in the picture. It rates pretty close to oxygen. We need oxygen and we need money to survive. But the love of money and possessions is what brings us undone.
I think that we need enough money and possessions to enjoy a comfortable life and to provide for our loved ones. We also need some left over for retirement. But the accumulation of more and more and more serves only to pump up the ego.
Do not identify yourself with your achievements
Here we go again. Achieving something is wonderful. We work hard to succeed in something. Whether it be a qualification, or a job position, or a position in society. These are great and allows us to feel good about what we have obtained. Many times though the achievement brings about a sense of superiority which inflates the ego. Remain humble about what you have achieved. Once again, a person with a healthy self-worth does not identify themselves with the achievement. They are happy and content with or without it.
Do not identify yourself with your reputation
If you know a thousand people then you have a thousand reputations. Our reputation is what somebody else thinks of us, not what we think of ourselves. Many people concern themselves so much about what others think. If somebody thinks poorly of them then their self-worth or ego suffers a blow. A person with a strong self-worth is not concerned about what others think or what their reputation looks like. Let's take me and what I am writing here right now. Now some will read it and say wonderful and others will say what a load of rubbish. So, I will form different reputations in the process. But what people think about me and the article does not matter because my self-confidence and self-worth is intact. I am not my reputation.
You should do, say, wear and be what you want without thinking about what others think of you. As long as it isn't breaking the law, socially unacceptable, or offensive to others then go right ahead and live the way you want. You should identify yourself with your self-worth and not your reputation.
You want to move away from egotistical ways of living. Be strong in confidence, accept what people say or do and remain equanimous leaving feelings of offence behind you. Compete and strive to become better than you use to be, but do not make winning a MUST. We learn nothing from winning only from losing. Losing also build character not ego. Most times whether we are right or wrong doesn't matter. Right or wrong is a difference in perspective anyway. If you are superior then that makes somebody else inferior. Maintain an equal playing field. One can spend their whole life searching for happiness in more. Happiness, contentment and abundance is a mindset, internally driven. Nothing external can give us this. You are not your achievements. You are worthy people regardless of what you have achieved in life. You are not your reputation.
Build the life you want regardless of what others think.
The more you steer away from the ego the more life has for you.
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