I Want To Get Rid Of My Ego

I was talking with a friend, online, the other day, when she mentioned that she wanted to get rid of her ego. Her statement took me back a little bit, because the concept (theoretical construct) of the ego (Ego is Latin for “I”) is related to our consciousness. It’s the part of our personality that deals with reality vs. our own desires. It is somewhere in between our basic unconscious “anything-goes-I-WANT-IT-NOW” portion of our personality (The ID, which is Latin for “It”) and the part of our personality that develops as we (hopefully) mature (The Superego, which comes from super = “above” and the ego = “self” German: Über-Ich).

All three of these concepts are established early in life. We have our needs as we are born and cannot truly express ourselves, other than through crying. We want something, and we want it NOW, without thinking about it. We are, more or less, driven by biology, at this point.  As we begin to grow older, we realize that we’re not the only person in the room, so our ego begins to develop, helping us to “fit” within whatever society we are in. In essence, our ego allows us to consciously manipulate our environment.  Finally, our conscience (not to be confused with the word “conscious”), or higher self begins to develop, and we feel the tugging of judgments and morals.

The Id creates a demand, the ego modifies it to fit in with the “reality” of a situation, while the superego uses morality to modify the behavior of an individual further.

Enough of all of that… for now… sort of…

Ego has come to mean different things to people, over time. Nowadays, it is used in the thought of egotism, conceit, or self-importance. It is also used to refer to self-esteem, self-image, or feelings.

It is to these latter things that I am writing about, today.

Egotism, or an ego-centric world view is part of the problem I think our world is facing, today. So often, people cannot see beyond their own self-centered position in the world. This is a natural element in living, so it is within each and every one of us, to some degree. We cannot ever be free of an ego-centric view of the world around us. This element of life is reduced, though, via the maturation process that should accompany us throughout life.

Just a few of my own thoughts about:

Egotism

First is the thought of humility. My definition of humility is that one has the understanding that they can easily be replaced by thin air. That is, I’m not as important to world events as I might imagine myself to be. True humility sets us free from so many of life’s problems.

Imagine that you’re in a room with many people, and you all have to give speeches. You’re terrified that ALL of the people who make up your audience will be judging you. All eyes will be on you and only you! It’s kind of funny, because everyone else in that room is thinking the same things about their selves. All eyes will be on them.  This is a view of egotism that we all suffer from at one point or another in our lives, no matter how old or mature we may be, no matter what life goals we may have. The older we get, though, the less egotism may play a part in our lives.

Conceit

I’ll do something that I rarely do out here, and that is to talk about myself.  There are some (Ok, maybe a lot of) people in this world who think I’m conceited. I’m sure that they have their reasons for it. I try to keep that (Both, my own conceit, and their own limited views) in check, though. I’ve written another article out here titled “”I Am” Versus “Am I”.” It covers how I deal with thoughts like this, when I am told that I am a something or another.  I also take the view of Aristotle, when he said, “It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.” I take what people say about me, and I measure it against a growing number of criteria. I have found that in times past (and probably will be again in the future) that I might be rightfully considered as being conceited, but that level of conceitedness is gradually being reduced. Is this a conceited thought, in itself? I hope not. I hope that it might actually be a result that is due to my own introspection.

Does a conceited person think in subjective terms or objective ones?

Do YOU think of yourself with a subjective (ego-centric) view, or do you think of yourself through an objective view (self-transcendent)?

As regarding self-importance, please, see my definition of humility, above.

As regarding self-esteem and self-image, they can be a problem for the ego.  Relying too heavily on self-esteem can bring about dissatisfaction with life because of emotional vulnerability. Also, trying to pump up one’s self-esteem through things such as positive psychology or things like positive self-affirmations can lead to emptiness. Self-esteem that is relied upon for success can also cause the loss of very success that one seeks.  All of this leads to the thought of feelings. Feelings, or emotions, are not a very good indicator as to the truth of who we are. Relying on feelings can blind one to the true reason or logic of their being.

How can we get away from the problems related to ego?

Freud developed the theory of the will to pleasure. Adler developed the theory of the will to power (status). Frankl developed the theory of the will to meaning. The immature ego settles on the will to pleasure.  It seeks pleasure, and if it doesn’t find it, or if it loses it, then neurotic behavior (anxieties, depression, etc.) may ensue. The adolescent ego (no matter how old one may be) settles on the will to power (status). Just as the immature ego begins to have problems when pleasure is not received or maintained, so too does the adolescent ego, when it cannot find or maintain status/ power. The mature ego settles on the will to meaning. It seeks to transcend itself to broaden its worldview.

Setting one’s mind on another individual or a cause that is greater than one’s self, to help develop the potential of that person or cause, is one way of getting away from the problems that are associated with ego, as I have written about them in this post. Having less of a self-centered view and developing an other-centric view draws the mind of the individual from the self, which is very limited, to others, which opens up the person’s mind to a greater and broader view of things.

Getting back to the lady I spoke with earlier, that initiated this post, she is accomplishing a couple of things that can relieve the burden of a misdirected ego. She appears to be aware of her feelings, and she may be entering into a phase of her life that has her asking a lot of “why” questions. She may be asking why she does certain things…  where is she going in her life… how is she affecting others… what is she doing with her life… who does she ultimately want to be?

She won’t be able to get rid of her own being, which is what a large portion of the ego represents. She may be able to mitigate some of the problems that we all face at one time or another in our lives, when we begin to look at ourselves. Some of us may be cursed with good looks or a great amount of intelligence, and this can greatly influence our own world views because people who are good looking or highly intelligent are more easily catered to than the rest of us. Regardless, though, we must all come to terms with our egos and how we manifest ourselves in the world around us. Introspection and understanding our meaning in this world are two, possibly painful, ways that will help us.

I’m thinking…  hoping… that my friend is somewhere along the line of introspection and trying to understand the meaning to her life.  It can be a long and painful process. I hope that she fares well in her efforts. I hope to be able to keep up my own, as well.

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