Ego – we all have one, the problem is it contributes to your stress, anxiety, frustration, anger, regret or contributes to your inner peace. What's the difference? Well when it's under control it helps us get through life with contentment, success and little stress. When it's out of control it is the cause of every negative emotion and most negative circumstances. Don't believe me? Read on.
There are a number of ego issues that impact our sense of inner peace and contentment. I will only discuss seven in this article. Not in the order of importance as each one can dominate a person's life even though they may not have any of the others they demonstrate in their life.
It's all about me -
Generally people with an out of control ego tend to be very self-absorbed. In other words their agendas, conversation, needs, wants and behavior is very 'about me'. Yes, many of these people can have compassion, understanding and interest in others, but if this is the case it is usually grounded in some form of selfishness or even narcissism. They can hide these attitudes or behaviors and come across as sensitive and empathetic but beware they are very good actors or actresses.
The ego does not like to feel out of control. It wants, no it needs to be in control of all things whether personal, relational or in your career or business. Yes, to be successful you need to have a secure and healthy ego but I can't tell you how many business leaders I have known over the years that put their own ego's control ahead of the success of their business or organization. When the ego in us feels out of control we tend to feel insecure, unsure and even emotionally unstable. In these situations we will make irrational decisions, sabotage relationships and increase our stress level.
Looking good -
The ego in us needs to look good and not how we define looking good but how others, society, clients, friends, peers and even family define looking good. Looking good means we are aware of all of the factors people use to judge others. The problem is you can never satisfy everyone's view or interpretation of what looks good and what doesn't but we keep trying; new cars, new homes, extravagant vacations, corporate airplanes, fancy offices etc.
People with an out of control ego lack patience. They are always in a hurry and get upset, frustrated or even angry when things don't happen according to their schedule, expectations or agendas. I don't care if it's a traffic jam or someone is late for an appointment. If the waiter takes too long to bring the menu or someone doesn't respond to an email or phone call as quickly as you think they should. As a sidebar the biggest contributor to stress and therefore illness, broken relationships and even death is a lack of patience.
The ego needs validation. It needs to be respected, appreciated, valued and often liked. There is no way that everyone you meet in life will like you and many people may not appreciate the things you do for them and demonstrate their appreciation. If you expect everyone in your life to value you, you are living in La La Land. When the ego doesn't get what it need or wants it will often get defensive or even angry. Many times these reactions are unnecessary given the circumstances and can often destroy a relationship.
I'm better, smarter etc. than you -
The ego thinks it is always the smartest person in the room regardless of the topic or nature of the conversation. I can't tell you how many times when I was in front of an audience that a person spouted off far too long trying to convince me or other members of the group that they knew it all. Knowledge is different than wisdom (as I have discussed in previous Boosters). Just because you think you know a lot doesn't mean you are wise or even intelligent. Yes, there are many smart people out there but my experience is that people with big egos need to be smart even about things they know nothing about.
Self-esteem is simply what and how you think about yourself. What you believe you are. The ego will tend to have an exaggerated view and opinion of itself therefore a rather phony high self-esteem. This level of self-esteem is not grounded in reality but pure fantasy and as a result it will often create circumstances where eventually the person will not be able to effectively hide this low self-esteem or a lack of emotional security.
Summary - any or all of these when a part of a person's behavior and/or out of control will impact their career, relationships, happiness and inner peace in a negative way. I am not suggesting any of these are good or bad, you can be the judge of that and how they are impacting the important areas of your life and their overall influence on you. But, I will say that when any or all of these are a major part of your personality and displayed consistently and overtly they will tend to contribute to higher stress, less life satisfaction and general displeasure.
"The man who fears suffering is already suffering
from what he fears."
In His Service, Tim