What is the ego?
After a brief discussion with a friend regarding the ego, my curiosity got the better of me and I began to explore what it is and what it means.
Ego: noun - a person's sense of self-esteem or self-importance.
The psychoanalytic definition says it’s: the part of the mind that mediates between the conscious and the unconscious and is responsible for reality testing and a sense of personal identity.
The philosophic definition says it: a conscious thinking subject.
In the spiritual community I often hear people refer to their ego as problematic or make statements that would lead me to believe they would like to tame or negate their egoic identity as if it is something to overcome or transcend.
After finding many conflicting definitions and beliefs about the ego, I began to contemplate my own ego and dig a little deeper into what it means.
It's interesting to me that we (most of us in the US) live in a society that rewards egoic pursuits such as accomplishments, power, status, money and competition. I, was indoctrinated at a very young age to find a way to differentiate myself from others.
Don’t blend in. Be better than everyone else. Be famous. Be rich. Be smarter. Be prettier. Be this, be that. I could elaborate but you get the idea.
Yet, paradoxically, we all try to be the same. Wear current fashions, try to fit in, try to do things that will please others, and generally try not to be too different.
These are mixed signals for sure - no wonder I’m confused!
I can see now how these pursuits, while not inherently bad at all, can cause a feeling and a mindset of competition and separation. What I know now is that we are all different, and could never be the same no matter how hard we try. But at the same time, we share over 99.9% of the same DNA, we all share the same air, water and resources and are more interconnected through energetics than most of us realize.
I wonder; can we as a human population, find a way to celebrate our differences while displaying true support and admiration for our fellow humans? Can we honor our connectedness and learn to value the gifts that it brings while still honoring our individuality?
Here’s my definition of ego: A necessary mind construct designed to differentiate and protect the human body emotionally and physically. Our ego is necessary and provides a sense of self, while allowing us to understand and maintain our identity. A healthy ego is one that doesn’t put undue pressure on you to compete with others at the detriment of your own well being. I believe there is such a thing as a balanced ego.
What do you think?
*This is intended as food for thought as I share my explorations and ideas. I honor and value your opinions and they, in no way, need to be the same as mine. 🙏
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