Podcast 008 - Ego
Today we are going to talk about what I like to refer to as a high level topic...
Meaning that some of you will be more than ready for it, while others might hesitate to go there with me. This doesn't make anyone 'better' than the other. It simply indicates where we are on our individual journeys and there is nothing good or bad/ right or wrong/ better or worse about it.
So in the same way that algebra is a higher level topic than multiplication when discussing math, this topic is one that when I'm working with people one-on-one or in a group, I try to time it for when they are ready. In a podcast/blog setting, this is impossible to do, so I'm simply following the guidance I'm being given and introducing it here.
Now that I've got your curiosity flowing and wondering what this exciting topic is… I hope you're not too let down to learn that today we are looking at the difference between your ego and your higher self (HS).
Why you need to know about these two different parts of who you are, how they influence your behaviour and how you can get them working like the team they are meant to be.
This is an important topic to be aware of because left unchecked your ego will try to run things which is a problem, because it's better equipped to ruin things than to run them.
You're likely familiar with people who both allow their ego to run the show, and have hugely inflated egos. These people are hard to be around, because they are constantly trying to build themselves up at the expense of other people. They take credit for things that don't belong to them and they don't care who they step on to get where they are going. They are always focused on reaching for what they believe is due to them and are easily offended by anyone who challenges them.
If you want to lead a vibrant and powerful life, you must become aware of the different energies affecting who you are and know how you can access that part of you that has your best interest at heart. In other words, it's time to switch off the autopilot and move more permanently into the realm of conscious living.
Let's meet the Ego…
Several years ago I heard Sonia Choquette, a gifted intuitive, speaker and author, talk about the ego as if it was your faithful companion, a loyal pet like a dog, to be loved and enjoyed. “You don’t go home and kick the dog,” I remember her saying, “but you also don’t let the dog run the show.” These few words literally changed my understanding of the ego and my ability to keep it in its place.
Your ego is the human side of you. It feels, fears, gets jealous and reacts. Just like a dog, it will bite when threatened or curl up in dread and pee on your shoe. Left in charge, the dog will run the show the way it thinks the show should be ran. If you've ever had a dog that decided someone shouldn't be in your house or yard (maybe the guy fixing your air conditioning; your new romantic interest; or your sweet, little aunt whose come for a stay), then you know what it's like when a dog uses its own limited perspective to make decisions.
Your ego is in charge when someone says something to you and you feel a need to correct them, excuse your behaviour, compete with what they have said or blame someone else. Only the ego will take things personally, become defensive, act overly confident and try to bring others down a notch.
A lot of people talk about the ego as if it were something you would be better off without. In fact, the ego is what makes you human, so to get rid of it would not be desirable at all!
On the other hand, the higher self is the spiritual side of you; it is the soul.
If you believe in this idea, it is the part that is connected to all. The higher self does not judge, blame, feel or panic. It is not limited to your human body – so it has no fear of getting hurt, dying or even doing things wrong. Every experience is a learning opportunity to the higher self so it doesn't take things personally, or get upset if it's ignored.
Your higher self has access to divine wisdom – which means you know (or at least have access to) way more information than you think you have. You may have experienced this when you've shared an idea or given an answer to something and then wondered, "How did I know that?" Of course, this doesn’t mean that your higher self will automatically share all the answers. You are here to learn and it will help you do that. It also doesn't mean it will protect you from all challenges in life. Sometimes the path you must go down is anything but pleasant. If there is something that needs to happen in your life for you to evolve, the higher self will not help you avoid it. It always has your best interest at heart, but at the time you might not agree with what it labels as best.
Your higher self needs you to ask it for help. It can send you messages through your inner wisdom/intuition (previous podcast); but to really guide you it requires your permission and request. Just because your higher self is a part of you and it has a connection to the Divine, doesn't mean you are constantly plugged in to it.
A summary comparison...
Your ego makes a lot of decisions based on fear ...fear of rejection, fear of embarrassment, fear of messing up, fear of pain, and so on. It lives fully in your human body and as a result has a beginning and an end. Your higher self experiences no fear, it has your best interest at heart, but it needs to be asked to be involved and it's always focused on the bigger picture for you, namely - what you've come here to learn in this lifetime.
How do you decide which one to listen to?
For many years, I've called on my higher self to be in charge and have had total faith that it will guide me down the best trail. When my ego flares up because someone has hurt my feelings, threatened me or my family in some way, or whatever, I'm usually pretty quick to recognize it and as soon as I do I tell my ego to sit and call in my higher self.
This has served me well and allowed me to learn how to be more objective; to turn on curiosity where normally stronger feelings like anger or jealousy might have been in control; and even to surround people and situations with love and compassion rather than those strong harmful emotions, which completely changes how I feel about them as well as how I respond.
Recently, I had an experience in my life that clarified how the ego and higher self work together and I want to share it with you.
Last fall I had a close friend surrender to depression and take her own life. I was devastated. As you can imagine, the pain, confusion, hurt, denial… were all pretty intense. At one point, I started to feel angry. I was disappointed in the system for not being able to help her; I was frustrated with the people who I believed weren't as supportive as they could have been with her; I was hurt that she had left me without so much as a good-bye; I was shocked that she left the way she did; and... well you get the picture.
There was so much going on for me. I allowed myself to process some of these feelings, but the moment my ego shifted into a negative zone of blaming, wanting to strike out, or holding a pity party, I recognized it for what it was and I would ask my higher self to be in charge.
As soon as I did this I felt myself shift to a place of calm acceptance. I was able to carry on with my work, talk to other people about what had happened and send love and light to others who were grieving her loss regardless of my personal opinion about their behaviour.
As the next few days unfolded I had lots of feelings move through me and many tears were shed, but every time my ego jumped into anger, hurt or blame…I would pull myself out.
On the day of the funeral (or Celebration of Life as we now like to say), I was in the shower thinking about my friend, feeling the loss and, truth be told, kind of dreading the upcoming service, when anger surged through me once again. It was so intense, yet simultaneously I felt removed - like I was watching myself get angry. A thought entered my mind, "Wow I really have to work hard to keep my higher self in charge right now!"
Suddenly my inner wisdom piped up, loud and clear. "Grief and loss are human feelings. Your ego is the human side of you. The only way you can process these very important feelings is to allow yourself to be in ego."
It was actually my higher self that was guiding me back to ego!
Now this might sound obvious to some and a bit too much for others, but for me it was a huge 'aha' moment. Of course, my higher self didn't need to grieve – to it death is nothing but a transition. But my ego very clearly needed time to feel and to work through each feeling as it came up.
It still hurt to lose my friend – I imagine it will for a very long time, but this experience also taught me how to go beyond asking my higher self to be in charge every time strong feelings arise for my ego to work through. It showed me that the next step to my evolution was to ask my higher self to coach my ego through difficult situations and help it to process strong emotions without giving way to any negativity embedded in them.
Ready to try it? If so here are the steps I suggest...
Step 1: Ask your higher self to be in charge and instruct your ego to allow this to happen. This is as simple as thinking or saying aloud, "Higher self please be in charge; ego please support HS in this role." An even simpler way to say this, "Ego – sit!"
When you tell your ego to sit, it will; however, you might have to remind it more than once like you would a puppy. Ego is the human side, we are here for a human experience…it will react and forget it's not in charge, especially in the beginning.
I suggest you start with unimportant moments, such as: going grocery shopping; going on walks; having a friendly conversation with someone (child, hubby, mother), etc. Work your way up to tougher situations, like: parent-teacher meetings; difficult conversation with others; asking your boss for a raise…
Step 2: Start noticing the difference in how you feel, how you react to things, and how things work out when higher self is in charge. Often it's easier to notice what happens when ego runs the show and then compare that to moments when you instructed higher self to be the boss.
For example: Let's say in the past you've had meetings that haven't gone well and you've ended up overreacting; blaming; or getting angry. That was a time when ego was in charge.
You have a similar meeting coming up, so before you go in, take a few deep breaths and ask your higher self to be in charge. Remind your ego to sit and then, rather than trying to control your thoughts in the meeting, allow things to flow as they come to you.
This is a tough skill to master especially if in the past you are always thinking about what to say to sound smart, to catch the other in a lie or to 'win' the conversation. When you put your higher self in charge, you will be just as surprised by what comes out of your mouth as the other person. You will sound calm, composed and smarter than you would if you allowed the 'thoughtful' ego to guide the conversation. Trust that your higher self will guide you through and help you achieve the best result possible.
Afterward compare how things went – not just the outcome, but the whole feel of the meeting. Incidentally, if you allowed your ego to flare up, pat yourself on the back for recognizing it and try it again next time. Everything worthwhile takes time as well as practice, and this is definitely a worthwhile venture.
Step 3: As you become more aware of the differences between how the two feel, start noticing when ego is barking and take charge in the moment. This can be challenging, because once your emotions start to escalate it's much harder to turn them off. Once you get the hang of it though, you'll be amazed at how much calmer, controlled and connected (or smarter) you feel.
At this stage you're starting to notice the difference between conscious living and being on autopilot, so when you find yourself getting ready to bite someone's head off, blame someone or maybe you're already yelling at them … take a deep breath, command your ego to sit and remind your higher self to be in charge. Notice the switch and enjoy the outcome. NOTE: Remember your ego is not sitting if you still feel a need to defend yourself.
Step 4: When the first three steps have become second nature to you, pay attention to when your ego is getting ramped up and ask your higher self to coach it. In other words, rather than asking your higher self to take over, ask it to lead your ego in dealing with the situation. Similar to training an apprentice, this too takes time and practice, but when you graduate, I think the results will be magical.
I've only just begun this exploration myself so I can't tell you much about it, except to say that my conversations seem to flow much more easily than they ever have and I don't seem to need to call in my higher self as she's just always there walking with my ego. The two pieces are integrating which is a beautiful thing.
When we are born, we are totally dependent on others. As we grow we strive for independence and trust. Once that is mastered we shift towards inter-dependence, which is what a healthy family is based on. Your spiritual journey is much the same.
As you practice this ability, you’ll find your higher self slipping into the lead role more often and your ego quite happily running by its side. Like the master with a well trained dog, the two make an excellent team and are content when they know their place plus feel loved and appreciated for what they have to offer.
With much respect for you and the journey you are on, I wish you a vibrant and powerful day.
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