Updated: Jul 19
Ego death? Not anymore! There was a brief period in the community of consciousness alteration through psychedelics that people believed our enlightenment came as a result of the destruction or dissolution of the ego.
Ah yes- to rid your being of emotional attachment, desire, and self-identification. WRONG!
Well... I'm not one to tell you how to live your life BUT I have found why it could be beneficial to reconsider this conclusion. Let's break it down.
What is an ego and where do you find it?
That sneaky little thing disguises itself as your thoughts, emotions, and sometimes, beliefs and values. Our ego, according to Carl Jung, is a representation of our conscious mind. Jung theorized the paradigm in which your mind is constructed by three parts: the ego (conscious mind), the personal unconscious, and the collective unconscious. Now, we won't get into the details of Jung's theories but what we will discuss is the thought of ego as the conscious mind. Your conscious mind revolves itself around your thoughts, emotions, and beliefs.
For example, when you feel sadness or anger when you didn't get the promotion you wanted because you worked so hard. The trick to finding your ego is looking deep into yourself and question why you feel this way? The natural response is due to disappointment, right? You are disappointed with yourself. Now, here are three ways in which this situation could go:
You feel it is unfair that someone else got it and you don't think they deserved it over you
You feel that you just weren't good enough and the other person must be a much better employee than you
You allow yourself to feel frustrated in that moment but use conscious self-reflection to determine that other factors lead to this decision besides your skills and abilities.
If you chose 1 or 2, you let ego guide you. If you chose 3, you used conscious self-regulation.
What's the difference?
In scenarios 1 and 2, the initial emotions lead to these thoughts and therefore beliefs. In the third scenario, logic and compassion lead to the conclusion.
What does it matter? Well, a lot actually. In one scenario, you used rationale to regulate the impulsive emotions while in the others you failed to dig deeper as to why you were feeling this way and if it were really true.
Our perception is painted by our thoughts and actions. If I run every day, I am a runner. But if I run once in a blue moon, I cannot call myself a runner. But what if I tell people that I am a runner even though I do nor have I ever ran consistently?
This is where cognitive dissonance comes into play. When my words, actions, and thoughts do not align, I create internal conflict. My reality cannot be founded on integrity but rather is now founded on conflict. Why does this matter? If you do not do what you speak and what you think, you are being dishonest with yourself. *read that again*
The power of our perspective is the power of our ego. Our ego can be our friend and our ego can be our enemy. You have the power to chose what you think and what you believe.
So how do we befriend our ego?
Be honest about your WHY- why am I feeling this way? why am I thinking that? why am I doing this?
Understand that your flaws are not something to hide or feel shame for. They are opportunities to transform and grow.
Hold yourself accountable- when you do something you don't think is right, apologize, learn, fix it...do what you can to turn the situation into a positive.