Ego is not your enemy. In fact, YOUR ego should be one of your greatest friends–and here is why.
Ego is, at its most fundamental, a survival mechanism. In the old world of hunter/gatherer lifestyles, ego is the fight or flight mechanism which sees trouble and makes you outwardly express your macho vibes through inwardly triggered hormone responses, so you can defeat or run from an enemy which threatens your physical body. Ego is the subconscious, or autopilot, triggered into reaction when you sense danger.
In the Modern world, our greatest daily dangers are very different. Danger is based on anything which threatens your survival. Nowadays, surviving in our world doesn’t mean you have to go defeat a wild beast for food or outrun large prey as it once did. Most of us are simply working to put money in the bank so we can use that money for our basic needs–food and shelter (and the growing mandatory of insurance and taxes). To make money in our world, one must have a certain attitude, sometimes style or identity to fit into. In our world, danger to our income and survival means being judged, unloved, and thereby unsuccessful in the world where survival is based on success and acceptance. The ego has a very similar role for us now as it ever did, but it is in hyper vigilant mode. It seeks to build us up so we can withstand criticism and get what we need to survive–money to buy basic needs–which we can’t make without some kind of “fitting in” and finding acceptance.
I want you to only consider your own ego for a moment, and not how egos interact with one another. Your ego is that voice in your head which might say something like, “I’m rubber, you’re glue,” or ” A healthy ego, at its core, should be able to see another person for their truth and stand alone in validating your truth, internally, so that the other person does not get harmed by your self soothing turning into projection. A healthy ego is one which primarily remains in the mind until it is able to back down because the emotional self no longer feels unsafe, threatened or attacked. It should also still be able to trigger you into fight or flight if your physical body is being realistically threatened. It should also be able to trigger you into fear and self realization if you are about to die of something self afflicted so you can save yourself. Most importantly, a healthy ego is one which will submit to it’s owner, your higher/eternal/divine self, and which can be checked without being triggered into an outward response. The ego is a friend, and helper, but should never be given full reign of the mind.
However, unfortunately, not many of us have healthy egos, because a healthy ego must be healthily trained as it is developing and that happens in childhood and adolescence. No humans are perfect, and certainly young parents are not perfect and so by the nature of our imperfections, our parents are bound to do a thing or two which hurts our egos in a negative way, and some of us are bound to misunderstand that and internalize it without resolve so it becomes a subconscious/automatic reaction to similar aggressions in the future. This is called hyper-vigilance in the PTSD world, btw. It comes from the idea that everything in the world is out to get us which is conditioned into all of our thinking from a young age, some more than others depending on your experiences.
That said, there is means to healing a hurt and broken ego, and it’s not what has been taught. Often when we discuss ego, we are thinking of other people’s and not our own, and so we look at the ego with a lot more criticism than it deserves. We internalize this criticism, unknowingly, to our own egos and create a resistance in our own mind between ego and acknowledged Self. As I said, ego is a helper, and a friend. It’s only trying to keep you alive.
If you’ve ever been told that you need to be kind to yourself, I recommend beginning with your ego. That is, your emotional, reactive self. The critical voice in your head which tries to keep you within the bounds of “societally acceptable” so you can fit in and get the love, and money you need to live in today’s world. That is– the defeated/critical voice in your head that says, “I’m/You’re just nothing and deserve Nothing. I’m/You’re cruel and so deserve cruelty.” We think the goal, initially, is to change that voice. Have you ever tried? Perhaps you’ve been successful… and if so you’re a step ahead, but if not–keep reading.
That voice is not something you can change or rewrite when you are seeing it as an other and treating it as an enemy. You cannot control your enemy through further criticism, it just creates further resistance. You also cannot control Others, so as long as you see, or hear, or experience your ego as an Other in your life, you will not be controlling it. Also, since this thought of ego as an “other” is actually an illusion, the truth (that the ego is as much You as your higher self is You) is that you cannot kill/destroy/lose it unless you kill/destroy/lose yourself too.
You’ll notice something with ego… as you try to fight it, it will fight back. As you try to trick it, it will learn the trick and trick you back. As you think you’ve overcome it, you’ve actually become it and fully embodied narcissism, even, and most especially, through your spiritual beliefs. There are many real world examples of this which I will not go into now.
This, to me, is philosophical proof that the ego is One with Self. It learns as we learn, grows as we grow, because it is not an other–it is a true and necessary piece of who we are as mortal, temporal, living human beings. Your higher, eternal self may be without ego, but as a living person on this planet, with pain and trauma and threat, your mind WILL be triggered into protection and your ego WILL come out to do its job, as it evolved to do.
This said, the first thing you must do to “defeat” the ego is to become one with it. If you have trouble empathizing with your Self, being gentle to your Self, try instead to identify your ego, through your thoughts and actions, and stop resisting it. Embrace it and work on empathizing with it first. It is your most emotional self, your most primal, and your most ancient self. It is not eternal, as the soul, but it is ANCIENT. Respect it. Know it has a purpose and it is there to help you. It will also blossom into your most awakened inclinations when it sits right hand to your higher self, because it is the ego-made-vulnerable which experiences connection and love.When the ego stops fighting, you are at one with yourself, and only then is true, unconditionally, eternal love known and experienced through healthy connections with human beings in the present moment.
Most of our egos are reacting to things which happened when we were young. This means when you were young something happened, you internalized a reaction which eventually got you the result you needed in the moment, and so your subconscious mind stored it away as “What to do when __________ happens to Me.” Until you recognize the pattern and consciously change it, it will repeat. This repetition is the definition of insanity, as it cannot possibly yeild any different results unless we find new filters through which to see it, and we find those filters in other people to project onto–which is not kind always.
This means that when you have an ego reaction, instead of hating it, or yourself for it, empathize with it. Find some space to be alone and literally ask yourself some questions. Why did I react that way? What about that reaction was legit for this moment and what about it may be coming from another moment I lived previously? When was the first time I felt this way and reacted this way?
You’ll usually find you were young, and being abused, and couldn’t have done any different in the moment–but can now.
You’ll need to empathize with the ego to even get there though, because the ego will not reveal the first moment to you until it surrenders, or becomes vulnerable, and the ego can only become vulnerable through 1)self submission or 2)empathy. THE EGO MUST FEEL SAFE TO SUBMIT. Empathy provides us with an emotional safe space, and so if you empathize with your ego entirely, without criticizing it, it WILL submit to vulnerability and you will find the real thing which triggers you into those reactions that you do not like.
Ego should not be shunned or shamed, it should be integrated. When we develop a relationship with ego, and then the emotional self/inner child, we feel more One with ourselves, forgiveness is easier, and the ego eventually melts away because we do not fear. This leads us to the eternal self, the one which does not fear death or pain or take things personally because it does not identify with time or personhood. This eternal self loves learning and growth and yet knows already. This is the eternal self which accepts death, and outside of DMT triggers through drugs or actual death, it can only be experienced through relationship with and submission of the ego–which can only be had through providing one’s ego with a safe space to be vulnerable of it’s true pains, concerns, worries and fears.
Only through truly accepting yourself can you become who you are.
This is an incredibly difficult concept to write about clearly, as the contexts and things can change so drastically, so if anything does not make sense, please ask me for clarity even if you do not agree so I can be challenged to better explain myself and the concept I’m developing/discovering.