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THOUGHT OF THE DAY   |   MARCH 24, 2017

Big Ego
(or Big Pain)

First time I became aware about the concept of ‘big ego’ was in early 2010, when I started on a spiritual path (which to me today is nothing but meditation, and a deeper connection with oneself).

‘Ego is bad’. ‘Ego will stop you from growing spiritually’. ‘Ego is a root of all evil’. 

For years, I remember, I was beating myself up trying to ‘get rid’ of ego. And feeling bad every time it would come up on a surface.

‘Don’t do this! Don’t do that! The Ego will hurt you!”, I kept on hearing. Yet, no matter how hard I’d want to let go of my ego, to ignore it, to forget it, to remove it… I’d always fail, in the end. Often, miserably.

The Pattern

If you ever walked the same path (meditation, spiritual, no-ego based) you may recognise the pattern.

You begin by blocking yourself, as much as possible, from all the negativity there’s out there. And for some time you feel like the ‘enlightened being’. The grass is green, and the sun is shining.

But then there comes a day where you are challenged. And get pushed around a little (or a lot) by personal issues, other people, or by life itself.

At first, you try to just ignore (negative feelings, me? Oh no no… I cannot have this! It’s my ego, it’s no good! Get rid, get rid!).

So you suppress the negative emotions, your anger. You make an attempt to generate a feeling of love and compassion towards the one who hurt you. Just so that you can remain in a state of ‘bliss’. And (God forbid) not to let the evil of ego, triggered inside of yourself…

How was this journey for you, I wonder?  

No Denial (the missing link)

Now, I’m not here to deny that a big ego can, and it will, make your life difficult. As well as lives of people around you. Especially your loved ones. The beast is real, and it certainly can bite, whenever it shows up strong. 

Yet, what I was missing throughout these years, was that no one seems to ever tell us what this beast we call ‘ego’ really is. Where did it come from? And how should it be dealt with in real life of a unique individual (not as per guides given to groups, or masses). 

Just let go, ignore, walk through your days as nothing ever happened, and pray for forgiveness whenever ego comes up? Hmm… 

Research

While writing down these lines, I became curious what others have to say about the ego. So I ‘contacted’ my friend Google, and asked him a straight question, “What is ego?”

Several articles came up. Reading through few of them, I started to recognise the same old pattern of thought, and explanations. 

Ego is the identity of ‘I’, ‘me’, ‘myself’.’ It’s our personality, our abilities and talents. It’s a positive or negative self-image. ‘I am smart.’ ‘I am better than you.’ ‘I am not good at math.’ ‘Nobody likes me.’ ‘I, me, myself.’

Nothing new.

But what was interesting to learn, is that, from human psychology point of view, the ego also associates (a lot) with feelings of:

  • arrogance,
  • anger, insecurity,
  • jealousy,
  • negative self-talk, and
  • low self-esteem.

Which nicely leads back into my original thought, and why I started writing this article. 

The Experience. And Realization

Few days ago I was speaking to a healer (ended up seeing her by a chance, rather than by a choice. But glad I did). We’ve been discussing my personal matters, dating back years ago. In particular, we looked deep into those cases where I ended up getting hurt the most. Especially during my early childhood. 

I have to admit, I felt a lot of resistance when conversation touched on some sensitive points. Or when my beliefs were challenged. I could feel anger rising inside my chest. Often, it would come up through some form of fear. And come out through a raised tone of my voice.

Not surprisingly, a healer mentioned it, several times, that I have a big ego. This didn’t feel good at all, at first. In fact, bearing in mind that for over 7 years I was practicing meditation based on concepts of surrender and no-ego, it felt like a slap on a face.

But when it was all over and I left a place, I begun to contemplate on what was happening inside of me during that session.

I realized, my big ego, in a form of denial and resistance, was coming through many mixed up feelings. Feelings such as anger, fear, confusion, insecurity. Or simply because I did not want to get hurt again (this time, by the truth).

And so it dawned one, soon after. 

“Maybe ego is nothing but a strong self-protection mechanism of a deeply hurt person?”

I’m thinking…

  • Greatly mistreated child by a parent, as a grown up (vulnerable) adult himself can easily become distant or even arrogant towards all humanity. Is this a big ego, or just a way of self-protection from getting the same painful experiences, ever again?
  • Deeply hurt person by a love partner could become jealous, cold or even aggressive towards all men or women (depending on whether a partner was a man or a woman). Is this a big ego, or just a way of self-protection from getting the same painful experiences, ever again?
  • Someone who lived through a lot of pain because of money related issues, could lose all trust in all people, or even end up hurting others about the same. Is this a big ego, or just a way of self-protection from getting the same painful experiences, ever again?
  • The one who was told (and believed) he’s worthless in life, he’s no good, might develop a habit of putting himself first, and above everyone else. Especially after achieving success. ‘I’m better than you. Do not touch me.’ Is this a big ego, or just a way of self-protection from getting the same painful experiences, ever again?

Anger, violence, abuse, broken hearts, poverty, mistreatments and cheats – how much of it did most of us had to go through, in our life? How much pain did it create, and left scars inside of us? How much pain did we cause to others, as a result?

So If…

  • anger is just differently expressed form of personal hurt
  • a feeling of low-self esteem, insecurity, distrust or arrogance is just another form of fear (most likely, related to some very painful experiences of our past)
  • and ego is just a result of all the injustice we had to go through in our journey

…then should we not be compassionate towards our ego, instead of trying to beat ourselves up (or the other) for having it?

Big Ego or Big Pain?

I could be wrong, of course (not here to prove any right), but from my experience, Big Ego could simply mean Big Pain. The more hurt you were, the stronger self-protection mechanism you had developed.

To keep yourself away from the experience of pain, and getting hurt again.

And big pain will never go away by ignoring it. You deal with pain just like with weeds in your own garden.

We’re first to recognise the weeds are there. Next, we learn what type of breed we dealing with. We then get right equipments for a job, and go out to do the gardening. To make the weeds disappear, instead of sitting in a house hoping for the best.

Perhaps…

…it’s same with all my (your, our) pains. If wounds are deep, and many, it might come out in a form of a Big Ego. 

But if we can get clear on what triggers the ‘big pain’, and what makes those weeds to show up on a surface, we can at least review our given situation from a different perspective.

By seeing a ‘big ego’ as a ‘hurt ego’, we might begin to experience a life in a new light. The one which comes from a place of a deeper self-awareness, instead of meaningless self-sabotage or a blind-denial. 

I agree, deep wounds and big pains will take time to heal. I get it. Yet, if taken care of each, one-by-one, they’ll heal. Through the use of right tools, a little bit dedication, and by having a lot of faith, they will.

Then, with a Big Pain to go away,
The Big Ego too, shall step aside.
From our ‘peaceful way’.

 

PS: I’m aware that there are also other forms of ego. Such as high-intellect based ‘I’M ALWAYS RIGHT’ and another one who’s leading mantra is ‘MORE’. These could be different type of animals altogether, and a discussion topic for some other time.

What’s your take on ‘big ego’? Share your story, your insights or thoughts below!

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EXTRA KEYWORDS:
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First time I became aware about the concept of 'big ego' was in early 2010, when I started on a spiritual path (which to me today is nothing but meditation, and a deeper connection with oneself).

'Ego is bad'. 'Ego will stop you from growing spiritually'. 'Ego is a root of all evil'.

For years, I remember, I was beating myself up trying to 'get rid' of ego. And feeling bad every time it would come up on a surface.

'Don't do this! Don't do that! The Ego will hurt you!", I kept on hearing. Yet, no matter how hard I'd want to let go of my ego, to ignore it, to forget it, to remove it... I'd always fail, in the end. Often, miserably.

The Pattern

If you ever walked the same path (meditation, spiritual, no-ego based) you may recognise the pattern.

You begin by blocking yourself, as much as possible, from all the negativity there's out there. And for some time you feel like the 'enlightened being'. The grass is green, and the sun is shining.

But then there comes a day where you are challenged. And get pushed around a little (or a lot) by other people, or by life itself.

At first, you try to just ignore (negative feelings, me? Oh no no... I cannot have this! It's my ego, it's no good! Get rid, get rid!).

So you suppress the negative emotions, your anger. You make an attempt to generate a feeling of love and compassion towards the one who hurt you. Just so that you can remain in a state of 'bliss'. And (God forbid) not to let the evil of ego, triggered inside of yourself...

How was this journey for you, I wonder?

No Denial (the missing link)

Now, I'm not here to deny that a big ego can, and it will, make your life difficult. As well as lives of people around you. Especially your loved ones. The beast is real, and it certainly can bite, whenever it shows up strong.

Yet, what I was missing throughout these years, was that no one seems to ever tell us what this beast we call 'ego' really is. Where did it come from? And how should it be dealt with in real life of a unique individual (not as given to groups, or masses).

Just let go, ignore, walk through your days as nothing ever happened, and pray for forgiveness whenever ego comes up? Hmm...

Research

While writing down these lines, I became curious what others have to say about the ego. So I 'contacted' my friend Google, and asked him a straight question, "What is ego?"

Several articles came up. Reading through few of them, I started to recognise the same old pattern of thought, and explanations.

Ego is the identity of 'I', 'me', 'myself'.' It's our personality, our abilities and talents. It's a positive or negative self-image. 'I am smart.' 'I am better than you.' 'I am not good at math.' 'Nobody likes me.' 'I, me, myself.'

Nothing new.

But what was interesting to learn, is that, from human psychology point of view, the ego also associates (a lot) with feelings of:

arrogance,
anger, insecurity,
jealousy,
negative self-talk, and
low self-esteem.
Which nicely leads back into my original thought, and why I started writing this article.

The Experience. And Realization

Few days ago I was speaking to a healer (ended up seeing her by a chance, rather than by a choice. But glad I did). We were discussing my personal matters, dating back years ago. In particular, we looked deep into those cases where I ended up getting hurt the most. Especially during my early childhood.

I have to admit, I felt a lot of resistance when conversation touched on some sensitive points. Or when my beliefs were challenged. I could feel anger rising inside my chest. Often, it would be coming up through some form of fear. And coming out through a raised tone of my voice.

Surprisingly, a healer mentioned it several times, that I have a big ego. This didn't feel good at all, at first. In fact, bearing in mind that for over 7 years I was practicing meditation based on concepts of surrender and no-ego, it felt like a slap on a face.

But when it was all over and I was out, I begun to contemplate on what was happening inside of me during that session.

I realized, my big ego, in a form of denial and resistance, was coming through many mixed up feelings. Such as anger, fear, confusion, insecurity, or simply because I did not want to get hurt again (this time, by the truth).

And so it dawned one, soon after.

"Maybe ego is nothing but a strong self-protection mechanism of a deeply hurt person?"

I'm thinking...

Greatly mistreated child by a parent, as a grown up (vulnerable) adult himself can easily become distant or even arrogant towards all humanity. Is this a big ego, or just a way of self-protection from getting the same painful experiences, ever again?
Deeply hurt person by a love partner could become jealous, cold or even aggressive towards all men or women (depending on whether a partner was a man or a woman). Is this a big ego, or just a way of self-protection from getting the same painful experiences, ever again?
Someone who lived through a lot of pain because of money related issues, could lose all trust in all people, or even end up hurting others through the same. Is this a big ego, or just a way of self-protection from getting the same painful experiences, ever again?
The one who was told (and believed) he's worthless in life, he's no good, might develop a habit of putting himself first, and above everyone else. Especially after achieving success. 'I'm better than you. Do not touch me.' Is this a big ego, or just a way of self-protection from getting the same painful experiences, ever again?
Anger, violence, abuse, broken hearts, poverty, mistreatments and cheats - how much of it did most of us had to go through, in our life? How much pain did it create, and left scars inside of us? How much pain did we cause to others, as a result?

So If...

anger is just differently expressed form of personal hurt
a feeling of low-self esteem, insecurity, distrust or arrogance is simply another form of fear (most likely, related to some very painful experiences of our past)
and ego is just a result of all the injustice we had to go through in our journey
...then should we not be compassionate towards our ego, instead of trying to beat ourselves up (or the other) for having it?

Big Ego or Big Pain?

I could be wrong, of course (not here to prove any right), but from my experience, Big Ego could simply mean Big Pain. The more hurt you were, the stronger self-protection mechanism you had to develop.

To keep yourself away from the experience of pain, and getting hurt again.

And big pain will never go away by ignoring it. You deal with pain just like with weeds in your own garden.

We're first to recognise the weeds are there. Next, we learn what type of breed we dealing with. We then get right equipments for a job, and go out to do the gardening. To make the weeds disappear, instead of sitting in a house hoping for the best.

Perhaps...

...it's same with all my (your, our) pains. If wounds are deep, and many, it might come out in a form of a Big Ego.

But if we can get clear on what triggers the 'big pain', and what makes the weeds to show up on a surface, we can at least review our given situation from a different perspective.

By seeing a 'big ego' as a 'hurt ego', we might begin to experience a life in a new light. The one which comes from a place of a deeper self-awareness, instead of meaningless self-sabotage or a blind-denial.

I agree, deep wounds and big pains will take time to heal. I get it. Yet, if taken care of each, one-by-one, they'll heal. Through the use of right tools, a little bit dedication, and by having a lot of faith, they will.

Then, with a Big Pain to go away,
The Big Ego too, shall step aside.
From our 'peaceful way'.

PS: I'm totally aware that there is another form of ego, who's leading mantra is 'MORE'. This one could be a different type of animal altogether, and a discussion topic for some other time.

What's your take on 'big ego'? Share your story, your insights or thoughts below!

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Why & About 'Thought of the Day'

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Get the Latest Updates to Your Inbox

The Journey. The Progress. Mistakes & Lessons. Successes & Failures. Let's make it to a lightful top, together. ~We don't have 100 years to live.~
Why & About 'Thought of the Day'

"A thought a day not captured, is a story of 365 chapters per year, left unexpressed. To die in cold. What if there is someone out there, right now, who is in need to hear that story, to be told? Do I have rights, to hold?"  --William V Vysniauskas

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