I fight him everyday. I do not have a choice. He is relentless. Fatigue isn’t in his vocabulary nor is it in his demeanor. I have never seen him give up. Giving me a break is a concept totally unknown to him. Coming at me seems to be his purpose. He towers over me like a giant would. He never gives up and rarely misses a chance to knock me down. A few years back, I could barely beat him. Today, after years of practice and a lot of knockouts received, I am beating him often, not as often as I would like to. The fight never ends but consistency is key and practice makes perfect.
He fights honorably though, I will give him that. He is not dirty. When he lands a punch straight to my jaw, which doesn’t happen often, I go down and I kiss the floor. Bells start ringing in my head. While I am down, he stands over me to assert his dominance. He loves to act as a magnanimous individual and waits patiently for me to get up, knowing neither he nor I, will be going anywhere.
My whole body is aching. My soul is in pieces, scattered everywhere. Nevertheless, I must get up. I do so slowly. He steps back to give me space, so he wouldn’t be accused of cheating. I am still discombobulated from the earlier knockout, yet I must fight on. I put my hands up to protect myself like any decent boxer would. He asks if I am ready, doesn’t wait for a response, smiles and then comes at me. On a difficult day, he might land another punch and I would meet the ground ungracefully. My confidence is shaken. I did my best to observe his footwork, hand movement and I am sure I have figured a few things out. Nevertheless, I know it will take a lot more for me to beat him. But, when I beat him, which happens more often these days, an exhilarating feeling overfloods my soul and mind. He never goes away though. He is always there, ready for a fight. His name? 3 simple letters that, when put together, make up the most daring and toughest opponent ever: E-G-O.
Yeah…I fight with my ego every second of every minute of every hour of everyday, as I am sure all people do. Ah, the ego. What an adversary! How to define the ego without writing an entire book about him/her? Simply put, the ego is your sense of self that resonates in your brain, it is your sense of self image and self importance. Therein lies the problem. If your ego is over-inflated, then you become pompous, arrogant, and selfish beyond boundaries. If your ego is under-inflated, then you become insecure, unsure, you doubt yourself, you are unassertive.
You must find the right equilibrium for you to co-exist peacefully with your ego, so that there won’t be any fights and if, by some magical circumstance called “life, there are fights, just make sure the outcome isn’t negative, just make sure your fight with your ego gets resolved peacefully. Frankly, the ego needs to be kept in check because it can easily become overbearing. It needs to be dominated and tamed. Your ego shouldn’t take over because if let loose, chaos might ensue.
You have been in some situations and the ego screams in your mind that you are inadequate, incapable, incompetent, inept. The ego is playing with you. It is under-inflated. It is pushing you to feel that way, especially when it isn’t the case. The ego just knocked you out. You saw it coming or perhaps you didn’t. Still, you are down, hugging the floor.
On the other hand, you also have been in situations where the ego won’t stop talking to you about how capable you are, how you are efficient, adept, competent when, you really are not. The ego is over-inflated, it is tricking you and you are buying it. Before you know it, you are hugging the floor again. You got tricked.
Other times, the ego will convince you that whatever is happening around you is about you. It is mathematically and logically impossible for everything to be about you! You cannot be the center of the universe, you are the center of your universe. According to the ego, other people’s feelings, opinions, acts, needs and wants don’t matter one bit. You only see yourself and only yourself in the complex equation that is life. You are a social being, living around and with people. You cannot be the only person that matters. Ego is tricking you again.
I believe the ego was created to mess with us. It can be the source of some of your problems but not all. The ego is trickster, a magician, one that might barely leave any marks, like the devil in the bible. The devil never acts, he just whispers. That is all. When you push yourself, your ego could whisper that you are not doing enough, or it could whisper that you are doing too much. Today, you are inadequate and tomorrow you are overqualified. It is a study in contradiction.
How can one tame the ego? I don’t have any specific or right answer, because there isn’t one. I believe it all starts with your sense of self. By that I mean, that you need to know yourself first. You need to sit down and understand who you are, what you want, need, hate, like, dislike, what your strengths, weaknesses, limits and limitations are and finally your value. One can never evolve, improve and get better if one doesn’t know oneself. Surprise! It all starts with you. You must tame yourself and know yourself so that the ego can’t hit you everyday and knock you down everyday, you won’t last long like that.
You must, for better, not for worse, block other people’s opinions and advices and concentrate on understanding yourself. It doesn’t mean you won’t be listening to others. It means you need to listen to yourself first. It all starts with you. It will take time, it will not be easy because you will discover things you don’t like about yourself before you start the road to recovery and improvement. It will not happen in a day or two. It will take time. Just block the outside noise for a moment and be utterly honest with yourself. Admit who you are, what you are, and you will see that it isn’t dangerous. You are just a human being trying to get by, trying to live a better life.
Take the time to be honest with yourself. Know yourself. Be yourself. Love yourself. Admit you need and should improve. Accept your flaws. Strengthen your qualities. Turn your flaws into strengths like Sun Tzu said. Do not let the ego run the show. Tame the ego and take the time to learn how to control your ego. It will take time and you have time.
Just one man’s opinion…
Now, smile at your ego, and go on with your day.