A lot of us have grown up misunderstanding the base notion of ego. I see ego as a misunderstood inner child. Whenever we use the word egoistic, we all have a tendency to form a certain image of the other person. Not is a very pleasant way though.
And, the reason?
We all have grown up with a very dualistic standard to define this very essence who has always been there with us, throughout it all, learning with every passing second and anchoring our worldly perspective through all our life experiences.
This essence has to always make decisions based on two dead-ends. Either the internal injury or the external. The ego always tries to think best for the said person because it is constantly trying to ‘save’ them.
When we speak of our conscious mind, the analytical part, we must understand that it is a conjunction of our surface level memory pool and intellect. As our intellect starts interacting with the outer world, it starts forming new memories and understanding on the basis of its interaction. This interaction as a process itself becomes an essence itself.
That essence has a personality, characteristics, and understanding of its own, even though it’s a subpart of us. We recognize it as ego.
If a person has undergone abusive childhood, by now they have expertly formed a survival layer around their intellect, as a result of the fight or flight mechanism. While their mind is constantly on the lookout for the triggers of similar experiences as their childhood-self, the memory-the timeframe continues to remain open, fragmented, and unfinished.
No person is born with the thought that I am going to be the vibe-killer or over-the-top-narcissistic to everyone after growing up enough. No one. They very well are the butterflies with the broken wings.
It’s the unfinished businesses of childhood that ego keeps trying to relive or make sense of. The more we hate it, the more we deny that unhealed part.Tweet
If someone wasn’t appreciated enough in childhood, their ego-self will probably try to fill that lack by constantly boasting of or asking for attention now.Tweet
If someone was shouted at for trying something new in childhood, their ego-self will probably try to hide that hurt by constantly stopping them from doing new now. They might even start fearing change, new projects, and new people based on their experiences.Tweet
If someone was constantly looked out at and ended up absorbing the fear of parents for something unexpected to happen, their ego-self will probably lack the courage to take independent decisions in their lives now.Tweet
Ego is nothing but the essence of us, that reacts to the outer world for what has been given to it. It barely gets deep within itself. It only knows best of what it has to keep safe. The unhealed broken memories of us.
If ego was hurt, it knows best to either hurt back or save itself from getting hurt. So, all actions go in either one direction.
If it was taken advantage of, it will always try to scan everyone for a warning sign. Constantly on the lookout for one mistake so that it can flip on it — ‘aha, I knew it, all people are selfish and they just want to use me’. And that thought pattern is very well authorized by their suppressed unattended memories.
All those memories are actually the abandoned and misunderstood child-self at that age. While ego is trying to present a good and decoration-worthy image to the outside world, its self-perception could very well be very dark and self-degrading in the shadows.
The very step to handle it is to tone down our own judgments first. For ourselves and others. Know that someone’s rudeness can very well be the survival layer.
Then, understand the underlying. Understand the misunderstood.
And, at best, do not try to trigger the very thing you are trying to understand. We do not break the pottery which is still rolling on its mold.
When we want a seed to open, we water it, blossom it until it breaks open in its own meantime. That too, ready for growth. If we will try to plunge it out of the soil and want the growth to happen right this instant, the opposite is imminent.
And, everyone is handling themselves in their own ways. Do not try to be the ‘right’ one when in direct confrontation. Hold your own space while making sure not to step in other’s boundaries without invitation.
Do the doing only when asked.
Do the understanding. The rest of the steps will naturally surface.
Trust the process.
Ego is not just a superficial word. It is the analytical essence of all our worldly life processes itself. And, before breaking it in others, let us first meet it in ourselves.