Dissolve Your Ego For A Happier Life

Photo by h.koppdelaney

Photo by h.koppdelaney

The other day I was swimming in our building’s pool. After a few minutes, I noticed a stranger get into the pool and start to swim next to me. I am not sure why, but I instinctively felt the need to swim faster. After two quicker laps, I started to wonder what I was doing and how silly I was being. What had suddenly made me behave this way? My ego.

That’s what makes us feel slighted when our kids don’t necessary follow our instructions, feel upset when our colleagues give us critical feedback, or experience envy at a friend’s success.

Ego

Fundamentally, ego is a misplaced sense of self. In denial of who we truly are, ego exaggerates our sense of importance as a separate entity. It overlooks our reality as an integral part of an interconnected cosmic consciousness. Because we see ourselves in isolation of everything else, we naturally consider it our primary goal to protect and enhance ourselves.

As we grow up, the ego arising from this sense of separation gets further corrupted. Unable to emotionally cope with life’s challenges, we build a shield of unhealthy ego to protect our vulnerabilities. We show off to establish our importance; avoid an argument to protect ourselves from the risk of being disliked; and judge others to protect and enhance our self-image.

Ego is central to unhappiness

Ego makes us self-absorbed. We become too attached to the ideas of ‘I’, ‘me’ and ‘mine. We obsess about benefitting from all our actions. This is a key source of stress in our life. Since we cannot control all outcomes, results that differ from our desires routinely create anxiety, anger and sadness.

Besides, we take everything personally. We perceive our lucky breaks as a product of our smarts and the unfavourable events as a reflection of our limitations. This further bruises our emotional well-being. Obsessed with our individuality and free will, we fail to recognize the role of cosmic intelligence in our lives.

No different from territorial control by animals, our ego drives us to enhance our relative status in our social pack. Consequently, we fall into the trap of constantly evaluating ourselves in comparison with others. Since there’s always someone smarter, richer, better looking, or more successful than us, we don’t feel contented wherever we are.

An unhealthy ego seriously hinders healthy relationships. It makes us believe that only our views and perceptions are the right ones. Any challenge to these is perceived by our ego as a personal setback – creating friction in our relationships. We become defensive, irritated or vindictive. We fail to appreciate that each of us is operating from our own limited perceptual map and that ours has some key flaws as well.

Further, in pursuit of our selfish interests, we become oblivious of the suffering of the other. We react to a global tragedy by tracking the stock market and being more concerned of its likely impact on our investments. Such self-centredness makes our lives empty of meaning.

Build healthy understanding of self

What’s behind the growth of unhealthy ego? It’s the widespread sense of insecurity within us – a feeling of self-doubt and inadequacy that fuels our ego. Our need to impress others and appear better than we really are comes from that; so does our need to avoid fully being ourselves, lest others should discover the truth of our flaws. Our greed and envy emanate from it, so do our fears and our need for social approval.

What would help is building a healthier self-worth – one that’s not misplaced in being too high or too low. We are then more comfortable with who we are, including our achievements, progress and failings. We have high inner confidence that is derived from our strong resolve and character. Instead of constantly comparing ourselves with others or against external benchmarks, we are more inner-directed. We have the courage to follow our unique path, aligned to our inner values and personal purpose. A healthy self-worth allows us to value others equally well and relate to them in an open, accepting and empathetic way.

At a more profound level, this insecurity is an outcome of our ignorance. Too engrossed in our physical form and its limitations, we fail to connect with our spiritual being and its deeper wholeness and worthiness. As Albert Einstein wisely observed, ‘A human being’s feeling of separateness from the rest is a kind of an optical delusion of his consciousness.’ You can break a glass jar into any number of pieces. However, every single piece, however small, has the same characteristics of the whole. At the core, we are the same – a perfect microcosm of the whole, connected by the same invisible thread.

Building a healthy level of self-worth and staying attuned to our spiritual reality, we can let our unhealthy ego dissolve, and live a happier life!

To learn more about Rajiv's book, 'Discovering Your Sweet Spot', or to place an order online, please click here.

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COMMENTS

5 Responses to “Dissolve Your Ego For A Happier Life”

  1. shrikant krishan says:

    Dear Rajiv, once again such a relevant article that touches things at our core. Our ego, a misplaced sense of the self, is indeed a source of so much insecurity and pain.

  2. Dipali says:

    This article really hits hard and makes you realise realise how much ego we all unknowingly have . It is the chief source of much self inflicted misery. If we can remove the ‘aham’ – the self from the equation of life, we would surely be more fulfilled and happy.

  3. Kalpanasinghania says:

    So so well said! Makes one get up and examine our thoughts and actions!
    Thank you for sharing. 🙏🙏🙏

  4. ZARIR MASTER says:

    Wonderful article as always, Rajiv. I appreciae the depth of the thoughts expressed in your articles.
    Ego is a subject that is dismissed by most people especially the ones who display it at the drop of a hat!
    I am aware of the damage ego does to the self and therefore, have worked very hard constantly to rid myself of it.
    I enjoyed reading this. Thank you.

  5. Ashwani Windlass says:

    Fabulously written Rajiv as always

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