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The ego has long carried a bad rap for being the enemy of our Soul and our growth here as Spiritual beings having a Human experience. But your ego is not and has never been your enemy.
Your ego is part of your neuro-physiological system and as such it has supported you throughout your lifetime in protecting your self-image and self-worth, and when used properly, it is helping you to create your concepts of self.
A powerful role indeed!
Sometimes, however, although your ego may be well intentioned, it can work counter intuitive to your own progress and growth and as we choose to move through a personal process of growth and awareness, the ego may show up to defend its presence and position if it feels threatened, trying to assert control at any cost. But the only thing that can gives it the power to control in each moment is your attention.
We all have voices that echo inside our head – sometimes they are kind and encouraging, and sometimes they are hurtful. It is the hurtful voice that causes the ego to get a bad rap as the inner critic because it is this inner voice that tends to negatively judge and persecute us psychologically. This voice can attack us and others in its self-defence and if we give it too much of the attention that it wants, it can take us down a destructive path of criticism and negativity.
Over time, self-criticism can become a defining characteristic of the relationship that we have with ourselves and repeated self-criticism can attack our concepts of self, directing unconscious hostility inward. So, instead of treating self with warmth, kindness, compassion and reassurance, a person falls into a cycle of deepening the patterns of negative behaviour and influencing the way we think about ourselves.
Yet, this is not all bad. The useful function of this inner critic can be to prevent us from making mistakes and also to motivate us towards greater ideals and help us grow to be the best version of ourselves.
“Who do we want to be and how can we live up to that?”
The ego protects us, physically and psychologically, but it needs to be understood for what it is and used almost as a tool rather than given full control of our choices and actions.
By understanding and befriending our ego and its motivations, we can learn to appreciate it and help it to be more placid in its interactions, while simultaneously acknowledging and absorbing the valuable insights that it offers.
Use this journey to get to know your ego self, to identify the voice and reasons for your inner critic and to associate these experiences to powerful growth and awareness instead of engaging in the battle for control.
This is a tool that can be difficult or a little uncomfortable at first because the ego does not like to be seen and shared in full light and can resist or even tempt you out of completing the steps. If you find the ego voice getting louder when you try this, take a moment to do something fun, something you love or something that makes you feel good – dance, take a hot shower, meditate etc, and then revisit your steps.
Your goal is to make the ego feel safe with you, not angry, provoked and defensive.
Those who have the most success with this journey, approach it with a gentle and compassionate curiosity. Be patient, be kind to yourself, and open up to each step as much as you feel ready to.