How to Silence that Mean Little Ego
Most people don’t realize that there is actually more than one side to the ego. It has taken me a while to understand as I could never figure out why sometimes people would assume I have a big ego (self-centered) when I feel badly about someone’s viewpoint of me.
One of the first lessons in ego that I remember happened in my senior year of high school. Someone who is still a friend today had signed my yearbook with a comment about how surprised she was about who I really was at that time. Since I was a cheerleader and more quiet than most, many people had viewed me as a bit of a snob, but I was actually just very shy and had low self esteem. I was so quiet because I was usually too afraid to talk to other people, but I had found one of those rare true connections with this friend. Even today, she likes me for who I am and not what she can get from me. Long before high-school, I had learned that most people will only love you when you have value to them. (This is a life challenge I’ve yet to overcome but am working on.)
Many times over the years, people have made comments to me or directly asked me why I care about what other people think. I would immediately feel shame that I was seeming to be a self-centered person. It took me a long time to answer back that I’m not selfish or self-centered, so why do people think that of me when I get upset about other people’s reactions to me?
In my eyes, when someone said something bad about me, I would see that as I made that person feel that way. I would think, “It’s not that I care about someones ‘opinion’ of me; it’s that I care that I made them feel that way.”
I would feel really badly when someone would think I’m a snob – or anything else not so great. I would never want to make someone feel that they are in any way less than me … because I know how that feels, and I would not want to cause that pain to another person. However, people assume all the time that when someone cares about an others reaction to them that it’s all about the ego.
I have finally realized that it is in fact the ego – just not in the way people seem to assume many times. It is maybe the cruelest version of the ego … the part that tells you that it’s you who is not as good as everyone else. It’s the part that makes you feel like it is your fault that other people have these opinions of you. That part of the ego is really unkind.
Many times over the last few years especially, it has seemed as if I’m in some kind of spiritual war with my ego. Yes, I’m aware that is what most spiritual journeys are about … death of the ego.
This illness that has been rampaging around in my body seems to be in league with that part of the ego, too. I have known for years that hormones affect my pain level, and only now are studies starting to uncover this truth. Unfortunately, many women can understand how awful a hormonal imbalance can be – though many people dismiss or make fun, and doctors are afraid to even study it! Hormones affect a great many things in the body including our immune system, our ability to handle stress and even our central nervous system. In addition to trauma, hormones may be a major contributor to the nerve and muscle pain I deal with on a daily basis. Hormone imbalance is not fun, and one day medical professionals will hopefully acknowledge the truth of this issue because it affects far too many people – men included.
Many people know that hormones can also affect mood. When they’re out of balance, hormones can make you pretty low. On some days, it has made sense that I should hate myself, and the ego has a lot of fun with my mind on those days. The whole body nerve and muscle pain on top of that makes it even worse. When you are physically, emotionally and spiritually drained, the defenses of your mind are not as strong.
To say this has been one hell of a journey is not an exaggeration. Dealing with a mean ego is something I have a lot of practice in.
There are some days when the voice inside is nothing but that mean little ego ….
“Everyone hates you … blah, blah, blah.”
I’m not going to give that any more energy than necessary to show you how cruel it can be. Sometimes my ego loves to remind me about my painful childhood and how my life meant so little to people who should have loved me. There have been times it has haunted me with memories of when I felt like it was a mistake that I was even born, and it loves to find parallels to current events in my life which have caused even more fear and anxiety. It may very well be true that no one can torture us more than our own minds.
But, there is another voice inside as well … the voice of the Divine. That voice is very wise and has taken what the ego would use to break me and instead used it to help me begin to break free.
Truth: The Ego Lies
I can see now that much of what my ego says is a lie. Sure, some people are not going to like me for whatever reason. While I do hope that nothing I have done would hurt someone in a way that makes them feel like they need to reject my very existence, I also understand that a person’s viewpoint of me may in fact have absolutely nothing to do with anything I have ever said or done.
It is true that people see us through the lens of their own existence, their own experiences. Someone might dislike you because you challenge something within them that they themselves don’t even understand, and they may view their opinion of you as if it were your fault. They might be totally oblivious to the truth, so all they know is their truth. Even if their truth is not THE truth.
If you find yourself battling this same side of the ego, let me share with you some things that have helped me.
When I first faced this truth, it would take me a lot longer to get past it, so don’t worry if it seems like this is too simple to work on your mean little ego, but it will work.
It will work because this is how you take back the power that mean little ego has stolen from you.
My ego gets through my defenses because I have a very logical mind, and it uses my logic against me.
So, I believe it is only fair to fight fire with fire.
I use my logic against that ego!
The first thing I do when faced with my own mean little ego is that I ask myself if it’s true …
Ego: “No one likes you!” (And it gives compelling evidence.)
Me: Um, no that’s not true at all. Plenty of people like me.
Ego: “You are a mistake.” (And more compelling evidence follows.)
Me: That’s harsh and unnecessary… also not true. If it weren’t for me, there are many good things that would not have happened. I do good things. However, even if I were a mistake, I’ve learned that there is a purpose for everything – even mistakes. So, even if this were true, it’s irrelevant.
When the egos words are determined to be lies, I simply tell it to be silent and leave me alone.
I’m not kidding …
Me: “Your words are lies and therefore irrelevant. Leave me alone. You have no power here.”
If you’re thinking this sounds like a grade school argument, you’re right, though I’ve found that is what this part of my own ego understands. (Likely because it is a broken child.)
You may need to speak to your mean little ego like it’s a middle school bully!
Of course, there may be times when another person’s opinion of us is based on something we have done, and we may need to rectify and bring balance if and when we wrong someone.
However, if you’re reading this and can now recognize that you yourself also have this same kind of mean little ego, don’t be afraid tell it who’s boss. Because that mean little ego made of darkness and lies only has power over us when and if we allow it to.
For me, I’m a Scorpio and naturally loyal and protective of those I love.
One day I realized that I need to also be loyal to and protective of myself.
If you have a mean little ego, take action to protect yourself.
Take back your power!
Here are a few steps to help silence your mean little ego …
1. Ask yourself if it’s true.
2. Tell your ego to be silent and leave you alone.
3. Talk to God/Spirit
(Ask for guidance, love, peace and protection from this lower energy.)
4. Make time to meditate and focus on self-care.
(So important! Refill your body, mind and spirit with the voice of the Divine.)
5. Use positive affirmations.
Sometimes Annemarie (my wonderful assistant) will forward me nice emails from people, the ones where people tell us how the work we do has made a positive difference in their lives. I have printed a few of those and have hung them on the wall in my office. I also have sticky notes with quotes or Divine messages placed in strategic places.
6. Love yourself.
Many people don’t realize how important it is to show ourselves love and kindness because society (and the ego) teaches us the exact opposite. Many times, we are taught to feel guilty for doing something just for ourselves, but this is counter productive. If you have love for yourself, the ego has to take a back seat. I’ve also learned that in order to be the awesome loving and compassionate souls we came here to be, we must first have true love and compassion for ourselves.
Do not allow others to shame you …
“Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won’t be the victim of needless suffering.” ~ Don Miguel Ruiz, The Four Agreements
While I agree with Don Miguel, not every great quote fits every situation, and sometimes people can use words meant for good instead to cause shame or create darkness. I can’t even tell you how many times someone has quoted The Four Agreements to me acting as if I’d read the book or was spiritual enough, I would know better than to allow my ego to do this to me. (I’ve read the book.)
For the general person, this quote or book may be all they need to heal their ego, and that is great! However, not everyone can heal so easily.
This is difficult for me to share, but if you’ve read this far, maybe it’s safe to share with you …
Last November, I was diagnosed with a chronic form of PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder) due to unresolved childhood trauma. It’s something I’ve had most of my life but didn’t know. This has been a serious mountain to climb.
Too many people suffer from trauma they thought they had handled in a positive manner. Like me, they live many years of their lives affected by trauma that happened when they were very young with no idea of the existence of this predator roaming around in the back of their mind. So, please, before you decide to throw a simple quote at someone who you feel is not as spiritual as you, take a moment to think that maybe for them the answer is not so easy.
One of the first quotes I learned on my own spiritual journey was, “Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned.” While there is wisdom in the Buddha’s words, this led me to forgive people that I should not have allowed to stay in my life, but I allowed it. I didn’t want my anger and unforgiveness to poison or burn me, so instead I was slowly poisoned by allowing those hurtful people to remain in my life and continue hurting me.
Really, this is simply an example of how healing works. It might begin with a spiritual quote or experience, but one day you may find that healing needs to go much, much deeper than words. The spiritual journey happens in a spiral. What you think you healed years ago can come back, rearing it’s ugly head with news that you are not as healed as you thought you were.
If this happens to you, please do not blame yourself. You are just now at a place that allows for a deeper level of healing. That is a good thing.
I share this secret with you because it is important to understand that, if you do have a mean little ego, it did not get there by itself. You should not feel ashamed because you have one.
Maybe the first step in silencing a mean little ego is actually to truly know all the way to the bottom of the truest version of you that it is not your fault. <3
Much Love and Heavenly Blessings,
P.S. For those who have their own serious mountain(s) to climb, maybe a few of the songs from my own Mountain Playlist will help you. Enjoy!
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