5 Ways to Keep Your Ego in Check
We need our ego for our basic human survival but it's important to recognise your ego's voice and also its intention.
5 Ways to Keep Your Ego in Check
We need our ego for our basic human survival, to provide a sense of identity, to know our boundaries. But it's important to recognise your ego's voice and also its intention. To ensure that it is serving your highest interests rather than enslaving you with fear and the need to control, which more often than not, can prevent you from becoming your best, most empowered self.
There are countless times where I’ve been crippled by fear. Fear keeps us small. It tells us that our dreams are out of reach, that our purpose is pointless, that we are not worthy or deserving of love. It prevents us from trusting our own inner guidance system which I believe is more powerful and all knowing than we can ever truly comprehend.
It’s not that that your ego’s just the bad guy. I like to imagine this part of myself as the most paranoid version of myself! The worst case scenario guy. The Debbie Downer. But the idea of the worst case scenario - and enough of those have manifested in my life for me to say this with some semblance of authority! - is usually far worse than how it is experienced in reality.
Iyanla Vanzant talks about taking away your ego’s power, these are five practices that I employ all the time to do just that.
TALK TO IT.
Yep. When the other night my ego sucked me in to drafting a text to an ex because what your ego loves more than anything in the world is attention, here’s what I said to it: “Listen up ego, thanks for all that you do but someone even better who’s going to flatter you more than ever before is why we’re letting this one go. Although of course you won’t have a chance to indulge that flattery because I’m going to make sure that you’re kept in balance and that we keep having this conversation for as long as it takes, can we at least try to work together on this one?”. Let it have it’s say but know that it’s a two way conversation.
It doesn’t need to be your best friend but the more you fight against it, the deeper it’s going to dig its heels in. Own it. Use it. You have so much to learn from your ego. This is the space where your shadow resides. There is GOLD in there. Your deepest wounds that need healing can be accessed in this space. So next time you’re feeling fearful and all consumed by the ego… shine your light into the darkness and you’ll undoubtedly uncover lost treasure.
LEARN WHAT ITS VOICE SOUNDS LIKE.
Knowing the difference between your ego and your inner guidance system is a truly empowering thing! So spend some time getting to know what this part of yourself sounds like. How do you identify it? Your ego will question you at every step. It is fearful, nervous, doubting, unsure. If you ever go to do something instinctively and a little voice chimes in with a question, it’s your ego. It’s the part of yourself that tells you to eat the doughnut and then damns you for it. It tells you that you are alone and separate from all living things.
Your inner guidance system however, is the DREAM! It is certain. It is all knowing. It supports you. It tells you everything’s going to be ok even when your entire world is crumbling around you. It gives you space to breathe when you’re panicking. It leads only ever from your heart. It is trust. It is surrender. It is love.
Get to know both of these parts of yourself and not only will you start to feel the true fullness of who you really are, but you’ll begin to meet your fear with love.
CATCH YOURSELF IN THE ACT.
Recognising how regularly your self-talk is descending into dangerous levels of self-hatred and judgement is the first step. Catching yourself in the act and then choosing to speak to yourself differently is the second. This part is vital to maintaining a healthy relationship with your ego. You have to call it out before it gets a hold on you. I used to stand in front of the mirror and spiral down the slipperiest slope of vitriol, judging my appearance, my body, my silhouette, my f***ing everything!! When you find yourself in one of those awful moments whether you are choosing to judge yourself or another person, take-a-breath. And change the record. Turn that sentence around so that it is loving. Choose differently. Choose kindness. Choose compassion. Choose love.
LAUGH AT IT.
Your ego has high comedy value. Trust me. The judgment. The disgust. The overreactions it comes out with are astonishing. And hilarious. When you catch it in the act? Really listen to what it’s saying. What you’re allowing yourself to say to yourself. Or to say about another person. And prepare to howl. I can almost guarantee its levels of ridiculousness. Because your ego doesn’t tend to deal in gentleness, but extremes. Do you know how many times I uploaded my first video because I couldn’t bear the thumbnail that was popping up even though I could do nothing about it? That’s what I’m talking about. Entertain your ego and then let it entertain you.
Just like with our meditation practice as we begin to develop a new relationship with our thoughts as part of the process rather than something we’re trying to shut off, the more you meet your ego and level with it, the easier it becomes to observe and recognise when what it has to say is of value or not. To know that you are able to choose whether to listen to it or not.
I believe we are profoundly well equipped to deal with crises as human beings, as much as we are with joy. So whilst it’s useful to have a little trepidation firing in our systems, it doesn’t need to override your entire system. Your ego is a part of you it is not the whole of you. Let it become a part of you that you begin to use to your advantage, to serve the world more love.