So many of us engage in self defeating behaviors. We put our own interests last. We don’t stand up for ourselves when someone wrongs us. Sometimes we allow others to be selfish, reckless and ungrateful with us.
The great misunderstanding when trying to get rid of ego is that this doesn’t mean we have to give up all of our needs and wants. We absolutely do have the right to sustain our own livelihood and our own interests. Denying these fundamental needs in order to be happy only makes us prone to depression.
Many of us feel disdain towards people with grand egos. Those who always need to stand in the limelight and grab as much attention and praise as possible. This certainly means that ego is at work. It’s the grand ego that gets in the way of being considerate of others.
But there is also a small ego that gets in the way. The one that keeps whispering that we’re not good enough, that we are worthless or unlovable. That too, is ego. It’s the kind of ego that has trouble distinguishing right from wrong because it thinks it has to lose out in order to be of worth.
Getting rid of ego does not mean to put yourself last. It is the ability to separate right from wrong, to know what is needed at any given situation for yourself and those who are involved. Sometimes other people have to hear the word no, and not only if that means it is for the greater good.
A small ego is just as much an obstacle to live a purposeful life as a grand ego.
The ego we want to try and get rid of, is the ego that holds us back, that causes unnecessary anxiety, or depression, or assigns blame where none is warranted. It's difficult sometimes to be able to differentiate, and that is part of the work.
And we need to give ourselves the time to work these things out. Pretending that we are over all our earthly desires when we are not, is called spiritual bypassing. When we try to rush our development to an extent that we skip certain steps, we inevitably are pulled back to an earlier stage of development.
Gerti Schoen is a writer and psychotherapist. In her spare time she enjoys learning, being in nature and around animals.