The idea of ‘having an ego’ has gotten a bad reputation. People have learned to associate it with being ‘self-centered’ and ‘egotistical’. But that’s only one expression of the ego. It’s also in place to create your sense of self and identity, which when harnessed properly can be an incredible and positive driving force in your life.
So rather than completely removing and separating from our ego, let’s find ways to tame it so that we can operate with the virtues and characteristics that represent the best version of ourselves.
The idea of “taming your ego” is more commonly referred to as “swallowing your pride”. As the ego wants to maintain a positive self-image, it often rationalizes things so that you feel self-confident and self-assured. But it’s this manipulation of the facts that often causes our ego to lead us astray when we’re not in control of it it.
That’s why, sometimes we need to accept the fact that we were wrong or that we didn’t do good enough. This is painful for the ego to consider. But when we get through that layer of consciousness and can see the truth of the situation, then we can use that awareness to make positive adjustments in our life.
I have a textbook example to share with you. I used to wake up at 5:59 in the morning every day. Why? Because then I could tell myself I was up before 6, and it caused me to feel like I was striving, achieving, and more committed to my goals. But it was a facade. It was a construct I created to make me feel better about myself.
In understanding the motivation behind it, I started to see what I was sacrificing. I wasn’t getting the amount of rest I needed, causing me to not have my very best to give in moments that mattered to me. With less energy I had less discipline, made worse decisions, and stayed stuck and plateaued at a level that was less than when I would’ve been with more rest.
This was the byproduct of my sense of self trying to maintain that I was a “high-achiever”, which is still important to me, but it came at the expense of me actually being able to live up to it. I had to swallow my pride, admit to myself that I was wrong, and make a change. And now I’m performing at a higher level because I’ve advanced beyond the superficial standard my ego was holding me at.
To tame your ego, use curiosity. Ask yourself why. Why am I getting up that early? Why am I committed to this project? Why do I feel myself judging people who are partying a lot, or eating unhealthy?
There’s a whole lot of understanding on the other side of how your ego has manufactured things to be.