Each and every person on this planet possesses an ego. From it, we perceive our sense of power, longing, loss, place in the universe, and thousands of other emotions. Ego gives us importance. It provides a sense of self. It frames how we see everything occurring around us. With it, we either create empathy or while standing in its shadow we cast down judgment on those we believe to be in a lesser place. Our collective egos coupled with our ability/inability to silence its power are responsible for every single good or bad thing that happens on this planet. For this reason, it is high time we name names and place blame where it belongs. With these thoughts in mind, let’s tackle ego.
By assuming I have the ability to write about such a subject, I realize takes some ego. Who am I to write about such things? Is it, because this is my chosen hobby? Does my pursuit of a never-ending mastery of the written word make me qualified? Am I assuming that I am somehow an expert, therefore I am someone that demands attention? Does the fact that I have $20 in my pocket to pay for this website every month make it alright to talk about ego? The answer to all of these questions is maybe, but all of them our driven by ego. By writing, I am feeding my ego. As sick as that makes me to my stomach, it is up to me to decide what to do with this power. My options are simple; good or bad, contribution or counterproductive. With this in mind, I will move us forward.
Ego often forces us to look forward or behind. We either picture better days or long for how things used to be. We fail to realize that both of these moments in time are yet to be had or are gone completely. All we have is right now. This moment in time is where our purpose should take its stand. It can’t do anything about the past nor can it do something for the future. We are to make the most of this moment. At this moment, I am choosing to write about ego (my ego, the egos of those around me, and the egos of those I observe through the media we consume). This right now is my purpose. Nothing else should matter. I shouldn’t allow my ego to feed itself by focusing on past accomplishments nor should I allow it to whisper statements to me about how my dreams will be realized one day in the distant future. Our minds should be present within this moment; giving it the proper pause and respect it deserves. Believe me, the next moment is coming and it will make demands. You’ll get there eventually, but please don’t let your past or future be where you place your better days.
We often over inflate our egos. When we do, the consequences are usually dire and come at the cost of others. On one end of the spectrum, our egos enforce delusions of granger or press depression and self-pity into our minds. On the other end of the spectrum, our egos force us to try and remake the world in our own image. Think of every evil act you can fathom: The Holocaust, Rwandan genocide, the mass shooting in Orlando, 9/11, Oklahoma City Bombing… the list could go on and on, but each of these acts were perpetuated by people with inflated egos. They believed they knew best and the only way to get the world to change was to inflict death. This is what can happen when egos go unchecked. We can either bring unneeded and undue violence upon ourselves or to our neighbors. The choice is ours.
It is my sincerest hope that for every evil person who looks upon the world with destruction in their heart, there are 10 people who view the world and think to themselves, “It doesn’t have to be this way.” I hope their egos are just as powerful, but I also hope they are possessed by some humility. Anything concerning the human condition and its impact on the world, is both arduous and worthwhile endeavor. It is not for the faint of heart and comes with more disappointment than most can stand. Still, it is needed. Anyone can destroy and allow chaos to run free. Unclenching your fist to do good work in this world takes real power, resolve, and determination. For me to continue holding onto hope in my fellow human beings, I must believe with egos in check and love on their side they will win the day.
Now what? What to do with this information? How do we best put these things into practice? First, we all must work to make ourselves of our egos. For me, this has taken the shape of an out of body experience. I try to spend more time with my thoughts and do a better job of analyzing my actions, as well as my intentions. This has meant a lot more apologizing on my part, but it has also meant a sense of pride for the things I do believe. I feel myself becoming more aware of how I treat people and how people make me feel. I am also working really hard to live in the moment. The focus on my future aspirations is there and always will be, but all I can control is this moment. Much to my surprise, this has brought a sense of calm I have never known. No longer, is my day to day relegated to what I should be doing to make the next big thing happen. I am here. This is where I am supposed to be. Finally, practicing this level of self-awareness has brought humility to my doorstep. My volunteer and nonprofit work now feels more meaningful. I am more aware of my talents and proud I get to use them to make a difference.
As you set out to put these items into practice, I hope the results are similar for you. I can’t wait to hear about it.
Be good to each other,