Ego gets such a bad rap. It shouldn’t. The basic definition of ego is a person’s sense of self-esteem, self-image, self-worth, and self-confidence. These are not bad things to have. Yet, when we think about ego or talk about ego, we think about it in a negative connotation. We think of someone who is overly full of themselves, selfish, pompous, cocky, someone who has no humility and is downright obnoxious.
When we look at the deeper definition of ego and what it’s function is, we get a clue as to why it gets such a bad rap when it really shouldn’t. The deeper definition of ego in psychoanalysis and in psychology is the part of the mind that mediates between the conscious and the subconscious, or put differently, the mediator between your own sense of self and your external reality, i.e., the outside world.
Under this definition, the ego’s primary job, and what it’s built to do, is simply to defend itself and protect itself. So, if you’re someone who doesn’t have a strong sense of self, a strong sense of self-esteem and self-confidence, then anytime something happens in your external reality- whether it’s a certain situation or another person – that highlights something about your ego, about your perception of yourself and your identity, your ego takes it as a rejection or a criticism and naturally goes into defense mode to protect itself and boost itself back up.
Think of someone you know who has a big ego in the negative sense. Someone who’s overly cocky, obnoxious, pompous, and well – egotistical. I guarantee you that person actually has a very weak ego: low self-esteem, low self-worth and low self-confidence. That pompous act on the outside is nothing but their ego doing what it’s meant to do – protect and defend itself. The very fact that they don’t have true self-esteem, true self-worth and true self-confidence; the fact that they’re not authentically connected with their true identity and comfortable with that identity is precisely what’s driving their false and negative ego-filled showmanship.
Even for us confident, humble, mindful and self-aware folk, often times our fears and insecurities – and we ALL have them – trigger our ego’s self-protective mechanism. Our fears about how others will perceive us, of being judged, and our greatest fear of all – fear of failure – allow the negative and defensive ego to take over. And, that is precisely the place from which ego gets its bad rap.
But, if you embrace your ego, and work hard on building it up in an authentic way so that you have a strong sense of self, a strong self-esteem, self-worth, and self-confidence, then those fears will not succumb as easily to that defense mechanism. Having a strong ego in its truest and purest sense is what allows us to become lighter with ourselves, not take ourselves so seriously, and realize that “failure” is an illusion the ego creates to protect itself. On our journey for personal growth and fulfillment, all of our experiences are simply part of the process of being human and striving to learn and grow better everyday.
Plus, without our ego we wouldn’t have certain attributes like drive, ambition, competitive edge, and passion to achieve our dreams, and become our best selves. Ego is what fuels us to become better and grow. That’s an integral part of personal development and personal growth. And that’s not a bad thing.
At the core and heart of what Seize Your Passion is about is connecting with your true authentic self. A big part of that is discovering, connecting with, and engaging in your passions – the things that bring you alive in life. But the other piece of the Seize your Passion puzzle is self-awareness, personal development and personal growth – becoming the best version of yourself. That ties in directly with working on and building a strong ego. Knowing who you are at the core and being comfortable in your own skin – knowing your flawsomeness, having humility, embracing your true sense of self, and truly seizing your passion!
Rachel Ellner Lebensohn, Proud Creator & Founder of Seyopa
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