What is Ego?

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What is ego? Clients often ask me. Living from ego feels like being a blade of grass trying to do the job of grass; tiring, frightening and overwhelming. Ego is a false and “less than” idea of who we are. Society sees the “egotistical” personality as arrogant or boastful, but more often ego is manifest in the not-worthy voice, the feeling of smallness and powerlessness.

Ego presents to us a sad movie of life, wherein the big,bad world happens to us and we are victims of pain and loss. It divides a unified self or sense of wholeness into “us against the world”, so we are constantly in a state of striving to overcome (problems, goals, needs) and even when we are up a few points our victory is compromised by fear of falling behind again. One problem is replaced by another.

The ego’s purpose is to defend us against the belief that we are broken, bad, flawed, sinful and so on. Essentially our inner child has heard “I AM A BAD KID”, and is trying to escape from the terrible shame and guilt brought on by this idea. Emotionally we experience ego as unresolved sadness, loneliness, fear, guilt and pain which we then act out against the way a child in pain acts out. Some of us become depressed, addicted, rageful, sabotage relationships, fall into unhealthy patterns, seem to attract painful life circumstances.

The good news is that ego has no truth, no inherent power over us, and our ego habits can be undone. We can reach through all of these layers of problems and losses and traumas and change that fundamental programming error and replace it with a loving understanding of who and what we are. It takes practice, but the practice is extremely rewarding. And what are we doing anyhow, if not solving a problem in a way that actually gets to the root of it?