What is it? And why should I care?
I’ve been hearing this term over and over. But never ever I heard a clear explanation on what it actually is. Even when I asked it seemed that people had very blurry ideas about what it actually means to have an ego. And I would probably never knew what I know now if some things in my life didn’t happen the way they did.
In 2009 I found a closed society on the internet which I became a part of shortly afterward.
These people were really eager to find out how to really own their lives. They were really motivated to find answers they were looking for and to get where they wanted to be. They weren’t motivated by money. They had higher goals. They wanted to know how to make the most out of every single moment in their lives and how to live to the fullest.
On their journey, the years of effort made on many fronts got them to the biggest conclusion of all. To achieve their dreams there is one unavoidable step to be made.
Loss of ego.
And they were ready to sacrifice anything to achieve it. They are one of the most truly courageous people I have ever met. I have learned so much from them, throughout the years that to say they influenced my life would be an understatement. They shaped my thinking and help me grow on many different levels. And I have good friends amongst them till this very day.
These people understand what ego is better than anybody else in the whole world.
And thanks to them I know everything I know about ego. But not because they told me, even though they did, but that was not enough for a person to understand it in depth. Luckily for me, that’s not how this society works. They work on action. Not on mere words. Anything said needs to be tested and experienced for a person to truly grow. That is what society is all about. Action. They emphasize the importance of the action in life on every possible occasion.
Together. We fought like true warriors to become and to understand. We were ready to obliterate our egos. And thanks to the bravery and courage I have seen all around me I knew I can do it. And I did.
I faced my biggest fears. I marched into my deepest nightmares face upwards. They didn’t force me, they merely explained to me politely that this is the only way to know yourself and to be who you really want to be. Bravery is not the absence of fear its a courage to feel fear and still control yourself and do decision which you want to make. Fear never disappears. That was one of the first lessons they taught me. You can be shown where the door is but you have to step into apparent darkness yourself.
The second lesson was that we are all free and we can do absolutely anything. You have all the keys for your own cages. Nobody controls you, nobody can force you it is always your decision. This underlying knowledge was critical for a person to move from this point onward.
Now. With a little bit of background, let’s get back to the question.
Who is me? And what is my ego? Where do I draw the line?
Somewhere inside of you is a natural personality of yours. That personality comes from you being a human being a living organism. It is in your nature to eat, sleep, engage, relax, to be happy, to breathe, to move, to laugh, to cry etc.
When a kid is born, there is no ego present. The kid is pure and himself. Living, loving and enjoying the moment. I like the word “pure” because in my opinion it best describes that no ego is present.
What happens next, we all know very well, because we all have been there.
The kid experiences first real emotional pain. He’s hurt.
This pain is always followed by a decision to never ever feel this way again. And the first layer, the first wall of our Ego is born.
Ego is resistance. Resistance to natural emotions, we have been designed to feel as human beings. I will never be sad, I will never cry, I will…. never … fall… in love again.
The kid doesn’t feel loved and say: “They don’t love me that’s fine I will not love anybody else as well, I will only care about myself”. A wall is built.
Then when the kid comes to school, he likes the girls sitting next to him. So he stands up, he’s naturally brave and says “Hey girl I really like you”. He’s laughed at by his classmates and shamed by his teachers. So he never asks a girl out again, he never wants to feel this way again ever. Another wall is built.
The kid still has a lot of his natural boldness and courage so when times comes he stands up in front of the class and speak up to his teacher. This is what I think about what you said Mr. Teacher. The teacher responds: “how dare you to speak your opinion out loud like that. You do not respect my authority you are in trouble young man.” Yet another wall is built.
Then a kid hurts somebody else. Not because he’s bad, but just because he didn’t know better. He’s in here for the very short time yet. He’s gotta learn. But it is completely natural for him to care and go to apologize for what he has done. He is in pain for hurting someone same way as a person hurt. So he tries and says apology out loud: “I am really sorry I didn’t mean to hurt you I hope you understand.” The response he gets is manipulation. The hurt person realizes that making him feel guilty is a good way to get another end of the power in a relationship and acts like it will never be fine just to keep his position. The frustrated kid never apologizes again. Another wall is built.
By the time kid reaches 15 years old, he’s barely a man, yet he has countless experiences like this and protective Ego huge as a mountain. Wall upon a wall upon a wall.
When you speak up you get hurt, when show interest in opposite gender you will get hurt, when you apologize you get hurt.
Things which are absolutely natural for us to do and feel as human beings become repressed by fear. Fear of getting hurt. And we carry these within us for years and years. Until finally we are shown by someone else it is fine to feel love, it is fine to feel anger, it is fine to be sexually attracted, it is fine to speak up your mind, it is fine to cry in front of others. I could go on and on.
The kid is 25 now.
He stands in front of biggest opportunity in his life his dream job but he never applies because of his fear of being shamed and rejected holds him down.
Later that day comes to a bar with his friends. He stands there with a drink in his hand and out of nowhere she comes. The girl of his dreams. She looks at him giving him signs she likes him. He feels it in every cell of his body that he should approach her. But he never does he is completely paralyzed by his fear of rejection and possible shame.
It is called Ego protection. The reason is the Ego will do anything in his power to protect you from possible mental hurt. That is how we design it.
Ego is a protective mental model, which is far from (or just different) from our natural mental model. Its foundation is based on our fears rather than love and freedom.
We naturally want to deal with our relationship problems, we naturally want to apologize when we make a mistake or when we are angry with someone, we want to make new relationships, we want to speak freely without fear or judgment, we want to live free and be free, we want to approach people we are sexually attracted to and say hi, we want to ask for that promotion, we want to build that company, we want to fulfill those dreams that everybody laughs about, we want to do things everybody shame us for, and we want to be true us – ridiculous, silly, crying, strong, emotional, brave, bold – the people we are not approved to be by others.
Every time something bad happens we build a wall.