The ego – What it is and how it gets us in trouble

Someone recently asked me how I would define ego. It was an interesting question. Here is what I said:

The ego is a false sense of identity fueled by a childhood hurt. It starts as a biological need to protect ourselves from physical threats. Then we experience painful losses of love. This takes the ego to a whole new level.

As little children, we can’t help but create the belief that we are unlovable, not good enough, or some other form of feeling not okay. It’s never the truth, but in the eyes of a little child, it becomes our truth. We then spend the rest of our lives running from this suppressed emotion.

Anything that triggers this hurt is then perceived as a threat. To avoid this perceived threat, we fight, resist, hang on, and withdraw. We destroy love and sabotage our lives. This avoidance also creates a sense of separateness. It creates a you vs me approach to life.

It’s the automatic, subconscious avoidance of this hurt that creates and fuels the ego. It also creates tremendous suffering.

Unfortunately, we don’t notice that this hurt exists. All we notice are the circumstances that trigger it. We are convinced that upsets and happiness come from our circumstances. We then go through life trying to force life be a certain way. This creates a state of fear, upset, and more suffering.

If you could heal the hurt, the ego would lose power and the essence of who you are would come forth. Your circumstances would lose relevance. You would see clearly and be very effective. You would also have a very positive attitude. You would radiate love and great things would happen around you.

The opportunity of life is to get out of the ego and learn to live in the experience of love. When you do this, life works incredibly. This is transformation. It’s also the purpose of our work.

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