How You Can Put Your Ego On The Back Burner
The Problem With Ego...
Ego.... ego.... ego....
It does so much for us, yet often does waaay to much. Poor ego is just trying to help us survive and function, but ego has many outdated or over calculated tactics for survival, that it often hinders us more than it helps.
The biggest problem with ego, is that it tries to control all situations and all thoughts, all of the time. Instead of just being there when we need it to be, it's there 90% of the time, whispering to us what we should do, how we should be, what we should think, ect...
Ego becomes a hinderence to us when it controls all we do, because it keeps us rooted in the past. It plagues us with fears, doubts, anxieties and unhealthy habits. Most of these were built into ego's function as a tool to help us survive. It's useful when it reminds us that swimming in the ocean can be dangerous because we could drown, but it becomes a problem when it doesn't allow us to take some risk by standing waist deep in the waves. Having fun and taking some risks can be just as healthy for us as being safe all the time.
Ego also has a habit of keeping us from succeeding, because it is more worried about us surviving then it's worried about us succeeding. It hurts our hearts when we are rejected, so it tries to protect us from rejection, but while doing so, it prevents us from learning from each rejection and growing into a better person.
What is Ego's Job?
Ego isn't just a useless part of us that only gets in the way. It actually has a very important function that we can't live without. It's job is to help us survive.
When we get near a stove, it reminds us that stoves are hot, which it knows because we burned ourselves as young children. Ego reminds us not to run out into the middle of the street because there are lots of cars that could kill us. Ego tells us that it wouldn't be right to steal from another person because we could get caught and more importantly, because we don't like people stealing from us.
Ego is your own personal Jimmeny Cricket. Ego reminds you of societal norms and taboos. It reminds you of your values and ethics. It warns you when you might be doing something dangerous or questionable. It has a very important function and was developed in the early days of human evolution. It's not something to be disregarded or belittled.
10% Ego, 90% You
As stated above... the biggest issue with Ego, is that it does to much. We get into the habit of allowing ego to control our thoughts and habits. When this happens, most people go onto a sort of "auto pilot" for brain function. They only do what ego tells them and nothing else. This could be easily correlated to someone that is sleep walking. They are aware that they are in there somewhere and that they are doing things, but they aren't actually in control of what's happening.
Ego controls most of us 90% of the time. This is unhealthy and will likely lead to an unhappy life. With ego running the show 90% of the time, that means that you are only running the show 10% of the time or less.
It really should be the other way around. Ego should only have control 10% of the time and YOU should have control 90% of the time. This way, you are consciously making all of your own decisions and thoughts, with and without the help of ego.
Giving Back Control to Yourself
Putting ego back in it's place is not going to be easy. You have probably spent most of your life unknowingly allowing ego to run just about everything you do. It's convenient and ego thinks it's happy doing all that for you.
Though it can be extremely difficult to manifest a better more prosperous future for yourself when you allow ego to run most of the show. Ego will never admit it to you, but you really don't need ego all that much. You are perfectly able of reasoning wrong from right, without ego.
Even right now, your ego is probably giving you every excuse in the book for why you need it and why you can't live without it running your life. When it realized that doesn't work, it will try to distract you with thoughts about everything but putting ego back in it's place. You might even find it hard to finish this hub, because ego doesn't want you to take the power back.
You see, ego is as much a living energy as your emotions are. It is as much alive as you are. It has feelings and issues and resides in your mental energy body. It's used to being the star of your team and training it to be a team player and not a ball hog, will take plenty of practice. It is very good at deceptively distracting you and inadvertantly taking control.
So in order to take back control and put ego in it's place as a team member, you first need to start learning to meditate and quiet your mind. One of the key points to meditation, is getting ego to chill out and let you be you. When you try to quiet your mind and not allow it to create a bajillion thoughts, it will fight hard. You will focus on your breathing and it will remind you that you have a million chores to do, that you need to go shopping for cheese, that you're wasting time when you could be working. If those don't work, it will zoom in on how uncomfortable your body feels at sitting so still. It will focus on how cold or hot you feel. It will make you worry about being interrupted by your kids or spouse. If none of these work, it will turn to it's favorite power tactic - doubt . You're no good at this meditation stuff, it will tell you. You'll never get it. It's too hard. It will continue until it breaks you down or you break it down.
It's important to continue though. Eventually you will win because ego is impatient and not as smart as you are. It's main mode of tactics are pretty infantile and repetitive. It knows that you can win by learning to quiet it, which is why it will try so hard to keep you from succeeding. Though once you do, your whole world will open up in ways you never could imagine.
There are numerous exercises out there for calming and quieting your ego. You would be wise to seek out as many as you can, because you might find some tactics work easier than others.
The one that I have found the most useful, is one that is easy to visualize and is sensitive to your needs and your ego's needs. I like to call it "the minimizer".
Step 1: Close your eyes and clear your mind. Focus on your breathing and just not thinking.
Step 2: Picture that your mind is like the desktop of your computer. It has all sorts of folders, files, programs and applications. Consider this mental desktop to be your inner control panel for all your functions and needs. Play around with your desktop for a while. Visualize using a mouse to explore the various programs and folders on your desktop. You might notice a few programs marked 'digestion', 'breathing' or 'immune system'. These are some of the necessary programs that should always be running. You need them to function. You might also notice some labeled 'sleep', 'temperature', 'thoughts' and 'habits'. Some of the applications you might see are 'likes', 'dislikes', 'health', 'skills', 'subconscious', 'ethics', 'personality' or 'learning'. Some folders you might see are 'past', 'future', 'present', 'memories', 'parents', 'children', 'inner child', 'fears' or 'passions'. Take some time to have fun exploring your files, folders, application and programs. You won't be able to get to all of them in one setting, though there is no need to worry, since you can do this exercise again and again. It's a healthy exploration.
Step 3: Minimizing Ego
During this process. You are going to find yourself combated by ego every step of the way. From the moment you sit down and close your eyes, ego will know what you are doing. Ego has the ability to know exactly what you are thinking consciously and subconsciously. You can't hide your purpose. What you need to do, is be firm with ego. When it distracts you or gets in your way, you need to firmly say "Ego, I appreciate your help but I don't require your assistance right now."
Picture your ego as a pop-up program. What ever it wants you to think about, appears in the window which becomes your minds eye. At the top of the window there are three buttons - Expand, Minimize and Close. Visualize using your mouse to go to the 'Minimize' button. Remember to thank ego for what it does. If it's reminding you that you need to do something, or that there are other important things that you need to be doing, thank it for doing so, but ask it to remind you at another time. Right now you are working on something that is equally as important as anything else in your life.
"Thank you ego, I appreciate your help. Please bring this to my attention at a later date. I'm busy right now." Then click the 'Minimize' button and watch your ego program minimize. Do this repetitively until ego learns to do what you are asking it to. It will take plenty of practice. Consider ego to be like a small child. It's used to getting it's way and mostly just wants to be appreciated and to feel useful. The best way to gain back control, is to practice minimizing ego and letting it know that you appreciate it. Then later on, when it reminds you of something important when you're not practicing ego minimizing, you can say "thank you ego!". This will help to form a healthy bond and boundaries between you and your ego.
After consistent practice, you and your ego will come into balance again. This will bring you a lot more success in life and help you to be a healthier happier person. Give it a try and see how you feel after just a couple of times.