The ego is a tricky thing. It drives us to do impressive things, but makes us miserable in the process. Many of the most successful people have the biggest egos, and most of them are also unhappy. This is because the ego is never satisfied. It always requires more to feel comfortable. Each success or accomplishment must be bigger than the last. There’s no peace.
Move beyond your ego to find true peace and happiness:
1. Avoid taking anything personally. Other people have bad days too. You sometimes misinterpret the intention of others. Your imagination is partially fueled by your ego.
* Even if someone insults you directly, their words are nothing more than sound. The sound of a tree falling wouldn’t offend you. An insult is no different. Only your ego makes it so.
2. Avoid comparing yourself to others. Are you better than someone else if you own a bigger home or wear nicer clothes? Is someone better than you if they get the job you desire? Each person has a value that is immeasurable. Comparisons prove nothing.
3. Seek a healthy body, rather than society’s ideal. Your ideal body is the one that gives you the greatest level of health.
* The best body shape for you is unlikely to be the most attractive possible body to others. Do you want to be healthy or impress others?
4. Recognize your separateness from your thoughts and emotions. You are not your thoughts or your emotions. You are the consciousness that witnesses these things. When you are able to see your separation from your thoughts, you can also see the separateness you have from the things that happen around you.
* When you view the world in this manner, your ego can’t be touched.
5. Avoid reacting. Respond instead. The ego attempts to influence you to act quickly and without contemplation. The longer you wait to respond to your negative feelings, the more likely you are to avoid the ego.
6. Avoid criticizing others. When you offer criticism, you’re saying that there is a better way. Give up your need to be right and correct others. Ask yourself why you criticize. In the end, it’s only to make yourself feel better.
* Even if you believe you’re trying to be helpful, you’re still trying to feel good about yourself. If you’re ego-free, you’ll lose the desire to criticize.
7. Question your motivations. Imagine you’re buying a new car. Ask yourself why. Do you really need a new car? Is your current car adequate? If you need a new car, ask yourself if you’re considering appropriate cars and for appropriate reasons.
* Are you considering what your friends, family, and neighbors will think about your choice?
* Are you buying a more expensive or larger car than you need?
* Always question your motivations. You’ll often find your ego is a driving force.
The ego can limit your success and happiness. Consider that your ego can stop you from trying if you’re afraid of failure. Your ego can make you unhappy if your neighbor has a boat and you don’t. Your ego has a million ways it can undermine your future and your present. It can even make your past look worse than it was.
Our society worships things that often come more easily to those with insatiable egos. However, it’s a trap. Learn how to move past your ego and you’ll find life to be more satisfying.