What You Need to Know
Everyone has an ego or a sense of self-worth. It influences everything, from how you view the world and your place in it to how you relate to others. Understanding your ego and remembering these eight essentials will help you live a happier and healthier life.
1. Accept uncertainty.
Because of ego, people rely on habits and routines. It makes them feel comfortable and in control, but it is an illusion. For a long time, I was waking up every day and doing the same thing over and over again. I felt like a hamster in a wheel.
Sticking to the same routines may make you feel like you are safe and in control, but no matter how hard you try, life has a way of catching up. You can’t avoid loss or negative experiences, so let go. Accept that you can’t control everything. Life is full of uncertainties. You’ll find that what’s meant to happen will, and you may be better for it.
2. You are responsible for your happiness.
Ego makes you think that happiness lies outside of yourself. Have you ever felt that you need someone or some material object to make you happy? That is ego. It makes you think that you and other people should behave a certain way.
True freedom lies in understanding that you are responsible for your own feelings and happiness. When you finally start to incorporate that into your life, the universe and how it reacts to you will transform.
3. Don’t fight your ego─accept and transcend it.
Fighting against anything generally doesn’t work. When you battle with your ego, you increase its power and end up feeling like a failure. Instead, accept it for what it is, a necessary part of being human, and then look beyond it.
Carl Jung said ‘who looks outside dreams, who looks inside awakes.” When you explore your true nature, you become open, vulnerable and willing to take responsibility for your own life.
4. Be aware of your ego.
Instead of fighting your ego, become more aware of it. Take note of the different roles that it takes in you. Are you playing the role of victim, blaming everyone else for your problems? Are you judging others based on your own insecurities?
To get perspective, dedicate an hour each day to observe without making judgments. Pay attention to your moods and how you react when someone says or does something that you don’t like. If you find yourself frequently judging others, redirect your thoughts so that you view the situation from a different perspective. In other words, put yourself in another person’s shoes.
5. What do you really want and where do you want to be?
When you’re faced with a decision and you feel those tired, old emotions of fear and anxiety, take a few moments to breath deeply, and check in with yourself. Ask: Is this something that my heart wants or my ego? Is this where my soul wants to be? Don’t let your ego drag you down a path that isn’t right for you.
6. Call out your fear.
Doing new and unfamiliar things can be scary, but also help you grow as a person. When you call out your fear, you call out your ego. You can carry on doing what you’ve always done, but you won’t discover anything new about yourself or the world. Take the effort to change. Fear cannot rule you if you don’t follow where it leads.
7. You are enough.
I have learned that there is no need to “try” to be on a spiritual path. Being spiritual is not about striving to get rid of bad thoughts or working hard to conquer ego. First, I had to recognize that I am enough as I am right now, but I have the ability to choose what parts of myself I focus on. Instead of focusing on insecurities, I’m focusing on self-love.
I have found that meditation is the best way to distinguish between my true soul self and my ego self. The quiet and breathing of meditation allows you to introspect on who you truly are, or your spirit, and gives a sense of self-awareness.
Letting go is scary, but it becomes easier over time. When you learn to trust in yourself and the universe, uncertainty or lack of control isn’t as intimidating. Accept that there are some things outside of your control, but with the right mindset, you can have control over your own happiness.