The Ego, however, is not who you really are. The ego is your self-image; it is your social mask; it is the role you are playing. Your social mask thrives on approval. It wants control, and it is sustained by power, because it lives in fear. – Deepak Chopra
We’re all swayed by our ego. It’s what is easily offended by passing remarks. It’s what causes us to fight for our beliefs and our mistakes. It’s what challenges authority and the actions of others. It’s what keeps us up at night, wondering why we said or didn’t say that thing.
Those who work on their mindfulness understand that the ego has no place in the self. The ego must be let go in order to be at peace. The ego must not be fed.
The first step to removing the ego from the self is the acknowledgment of it. Are you living through it? Only once you can acknowledge its presence you can work on removing it.
1. Arguments – Regularly involving ourselves in altercations
When we live through the ego we see others as separate to ourselves which makes it easier for us to attack, insult and harm them. To reduce the amount of drama in our lives we must acknowledge that separation is the illusion and see others as reflections of ourselves.
2. Materialism – Looking for external things to define us
The pursuit of material things such as money, clothes & cars indicates a lack of knowledge of self. When we don’t know who we are we seek external things to define us and this leads to a never-ending chase that leads to one place – disappointment.
3. Offense -Taking things personally
We will come across others who choose to externalize the conflict they are experiencing within – when we live through the ego we are more likely to interpret these as personal attacks.
4. Projection – Allowing our insecurities to rule us
All of us have insecurities, but when we’re living through the ego we allow these insecurities to govern the way we interact with the outside world. Forms of projection can include downplaying the success of others & hating on them for expressing themselves.
5. Distractions – Anything to stop us spending time with ourselves
A clear sign we’re living through the ego is being uncomfortable with spending time “alone” and this results in seeking distractions. These distractions come in many forms – TV, video games, drugs like alcohol & sex – they prevent us from looking within and assessing who we are & what we’ve done which allows the ego to thrive.
6. Ignorance – Being close-minded
Closing ourselves off from potentially life-changing information comes from being absorbed in the ego. It prevents us from accepting that we haven’t got it all figured out and this acts as a barrier to knowledge & growth.
7. Validation – Seeking the praise of others
The ego loves to be stroked & reassured – what better way to receive these strokes than from the praise and admiration of others? The only problem is that the search for these external sources of validation never ends because we are not creating our own fulfillment.