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Would you rather be right or free?

Ego versus freedom

How is your relationship with your ego? 


Do you spend time trying to dissolve it, deny it, fight it, or even "kill" it, which seems to be a common goal our there in the wild world of New Age spirituality?


The approach I use in working with human beings in my practice is not one resembling surgery, where we cut bits off and chop out what is considered surplus. My work is based on the premise that redundancy does not exist when it comes to the psyche. Every aspect of us is valid.


However, validity does not mean something reflects an absolute truth.


Following this premise that everything belongs, what we seek to do is integrate aspects of the self, including the ego, in a more healthy fashion. 


The ego is something I describe as a self-protection mechanism. It seeks to keep us safe. Part of this role is creating some kind of predictability in an innately uncertain world. As such, the ego wants to be right. Its mechanisms are not geared toward freedom. 


Expressions of the ego are not always negatively perceived in society. Take the example of someone who adopts the role of a caretaker in some capacity, 'the caring one', who always shows up for others selflessly and deprioritises their needs by default. Such a person probably has a self-value concept rooted in being of service. Acting in this way will mostly generate reliably predictable responses from people around them. 


Compare this with what people typically picture when they imagine someone with a "big ego"; someone who has inflated self-confidence (at least on the outside...) and always needs to win or get ahead. This behaviour also creates a form of predictability.


Whatever expression an individuals ego takes, one thing remains in common:


The ego wants to be right, not make you free. 


This dynamic can lead to all sorts of fascinating narratives emerging and representing themselves as fact...


The husband committed to the idea that his wife does not value him. 


The entrepreneur committed to the idea that they are not good enough.


The female executive committed to the idea that all women are unfairly discriminated against in the workplace. 


And knowing that what we seek, we shall find... 


...the husband will hear all his wife's criticisms, but render himself unavailable for her compliments, acknowledgement and gratitude.


...the entrepreneur will be crippled by rejection in funding rounds, lost proposals and employees who leave to go and work for established companies instead.


...the female executive will not ask for what she needs, not have the brave salary discussions nor recruit internal support for her promotion. 


Okay, so I am stretching a point to make a point here. There is nuance to consider; we can't really look at an individual in a vacuum, because we are relational beings. But all of these are stories I've heard before and watched as the teller of the tale sat there convinced of its truth. Not realising, this "truth", formed the bars of the very prison they found themselves inside.


Deconstructing the narratives created by an ego that simply wants to keep us safe is delicate work. It's full-hearted work. It's work that requires openness to new perspectives and the courage to be horribly, horribly, wrong. In ways that are so freedom-accretive that one is deeply inspired to meet the needs of the ego in a new, expanded and constructive way. 


It's brave work. And I'm here for it. Celebrating all of you who are willing to look inside and challenge what you thought you knew about you, about others, and the nature of life.


If you're feeling particularly brave and are looking for some support in building some new mental frames in your life which will bring you more understanding, compassion and ultimately fulfilment, I'd be glad to hear from you.  


Thank you for showing up.


Keep showing up.


 

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