Dear Integral Meditators,
When we tell ourselves to ‘get over our own ego’ what exactly do we mean by that? Its an area that it is very easy to get mixed up and confused around! The article below explores the difference between egotism and a strong ego. We really need one, we really need to drop the other.
In the spirit of inner strength,
‘There’s a tremendous difference between a strong ego and an egocentric ego; the latter is always weak. Individuation, that is the attainment of ones potential, can’t take place without the strong ego’ – John A Sandford
The Ego is
…the unifying centre of our awareness, it is the sense of self that ties together the disparate collection of physical, emotional and mental habits and characteristics that together makes us a unique human being. A strong ego is vital for success and happiness in our life; it has characteristics such as confidence, self-esteem, ethical awareness, competency and capacity for enjoyment.
To be egotistical is
…to believe and act as if we were more important than others, as if we were the central fulcrum of the functioning universe, and/or without adequate concern or empathy for the happiness or wellbeing of others
Ironically a lot of egotistical behaviour is stimulated by having a weak ego. If I feel inadequate, incompetent or inferior it can be very tempting to try and compensate for that feeling by asserting myself unskilfully, selfishly and or inconsiderately. Conversely if I have a strong ego I can have people behaving selfishly, unskilfully and/or inconsiderately around me, but because I have a strong sense of ego, of who I AM it can be relatively easy to remain in my own integrity and not be influenced by my company.
Experientially knowing the difference between a strong ego and being egotistical is a great mindful journey in itself, and it is an area that many people are deeply confused about.
Take a moment
To imagine yourself with a truly strong ego; confident, trusting in yourself, liking whom you are, able to forgive yourself for your flaws whilst at the same time holding yourself accountable for them, centred and balanced in your sense of whom you are. Strong enough to be vulnerable and take chances, socially aware, aware you are no more important than anyone else, but also and crucially that you are no less important than anyone else. That’s a strong ego.
If you stay with this sense of having a strong ego you’ll find it is quite a lot easier and more natural to behave with benevolence & consideration for others as well as to be playful and creative in your life, even when under pressure. Sound like fun? It is!
Does that last paragraph sound like the opposite of an egotistical selfish person? Yup, pretty much.
To transcend your egotism, first begin by mindfully building your strong, functional and creative ego.
Related articles: Balancing the development of your ego and spirit
© Toby Ouvry 2015, you are welcome to use or share this article, but please cite Toby as the source and include reference to his website www.tobyouvry.com