When we think or say that someone has a ‘big ego’ we usually refer to a self-centered, narcissistic person, right? Someone whose attitude reflects the belief that they’re better or more important than others; they seem to want to take all the space in the room and draw all the attention to themselves; they treat others as if they didn’t deserve their energy, or worse, as if they didn’t exist—unless they have something useful to offer.
You know who I’m talking about: the (often bullying) types who judge everyone and perceive themselves as superior, either because they’ve accomplished something noticeable or they appear strong and authoritative, and other people follow them or do what they ask. I’m not just talking about celebrities or politicians or performers here; we can easily spot someone who is overly self-important at any level of accomplishment. They’re completely trapped in their mind.
But this is not the only way a big ego is expressed. In fact, the ego is such a trickster it can disguise itself in all sorts of ways to preserve its self-importance while remaining hidden from awareness. It’s just that the more external power a person has, the more destructive their ego can become, because their attitudes and actions have a greater impact. The opposite is the other side of the same ego coin, though.
From a mental or psychological viewpoint, you need a strong ego to be a functional individual and accomplish your goals. That is, the confidence and emotional awareness to navigate life without drowning in despair or dropping the ball in the face of obstacles or disappointment. In this case ‘ego’ refers to the level of individuation you develop as you get older and tackle new experiences; I call this your ‘sense of self,’ which is an aspect of ego, but not all of ego.
I coined the other aspect your ‘sense of otherness,’ which often turns into an inner bully and judge that keeps you from reaching the full potential of your soul and finding true happiness and peace; it pressures and pushes you to seek validation only in your relationship with others, promoting the codependency and dysfunctional dynamics of early childhood.
This is where an overly self-centered or imbalanced person is completely trapped in, usually because their sense of self has been utterly distorted or crushed. They may look confident and strong, often overcompensating for hidden feelings of inadequacy or vulnerability, but they’re totally disconnected from themselves, thus unable to connect with others in an authentic, loving manner.
But like I said earlier, this is just one side of the coin; low self-esteem or self-loathing also reflects a big ego, because a similar disconnection is behind a negative self-perception as well. Since the ego fuels any self-image, it can hide behind those who appear as either victims or perpetrators, as well as those with a ‘spiritualized’ ego (see Are You Developing a Spiritualized Ego?)—because where there’s judgment and separation, there’s ego.
Ego Is Your Attachment To Sensory Perception
Let me explain. From a spiritual perspective, ego allows you to experience the world in individualized form through your sense of self, as your own life-movie, but it can get so attached to sensory perception that it traps you in the illusions of the world—of what appears as your ‘otherness.’ Since your perception is mostly colored and controlled by ego, at least until you nurture greater self-awareness and self-love, the bigger your sense of otherness, the bigger your ego. In other words, you can measure your ego by how attached to and identified with the world, as opposed to how close to your soul, you really are.
Your sense of self is expressed as your inner voice and the uniqueness of who you are—the soul signature you leave in everything you say or do when you’re honest and authentic. It’s a more internal, inward-bound, feminine aspect that eventually leads to your true Self, your divine essence at the core of the soul. Your sense of otherness, on the other hand, reflects the dynamics and conditioning you absorbed growing up, through your interaction with others, especially those who had some authority over you and you looked up to.
This aspect carries the parental figures and voices you internalized as a child that now get in the way of your self-expression, keeping you emotionally trapped in a wounded child archetype. You engage with the world through your sense of otherness; it kicks in the moment your attention goes outward. It tends to overpower your sense of self by comparing you to others and making you feel that you should be someone other than who you are, doing something other than what you’re doing.
It colors your perception with pressure, stress, fear, guilt, shame, anger, resentment, anxiety, self-doubt, and self-judgment to prevent you from discovering your true power—the power of love—and feel good about yourself. The key to a meaningful and abundant life is dissolving ego, because the bigger your ego, the more challenging your life-movie becomes. Ego allows you to be in the world (everything in the world is ego), but it also isolates you from yourself, from new possibilities of experience, and from your divinity.
To balance things out and redesign your reality, you must work toward strengthening your sense of self and diminishing your sense of otherness; this way your inner bully transforms into an internal support system, which is what it’s supposed to be in the first place (in an ideal, more balanced world). Here are a few things to keep in mind as you do this:
- Fear (doubt, anger) is ego and the opposite of love.
- Guilt (shame, judgment) is ego and the opposite of freedom.
- Lack of love in any form is ego.
- Only love heals and love heals all.
- Playfulness and innocence dissolve ego.
- Humility and faith dissolve ego.
- Forgiveness leads to love and love is your true Self.
- Dissolving ego means surrendering to the Divine.
Of course, nothing beats an individualized self-exploration to develop emotional freedom from ego-based patterns and the internal toxic dynamics that color your perception and create your reality. So contact me today to start your journey of self-discovery, spiritual healing, and a higher perception of yourself and the world!
© 2017 Yol Swan. All rights reserved.