Ego is such a seductive thief. I’m not talking about the obvious aspects of ego such as arrogance, pride and insecurity. I am talking about ego with a big “E”. This is the Ego that constructs the appearances, rigid beliefs and false identities we wrap ourselves in trying to overcome the deep core feeling of not being good enough.
Realizing how ego-driven I have been is one of the most embarrassing but also beautiful, life-transforming insights of this past challenging year and a half.
I am someone who has based a huge amount of my self-esteem on my performance, what I was able to accomplish, “out there” in the competitive world. And the somewhat humiliating truth is that I have wanted to be recognized for it. I needed validation from others to feel valuable. Even now it feels unsettling and vulnerable to openly express this.
For someone like me there likely was no hotter crucible than public shaming, being smeared, lied about, devalued over and over again. The powerlessness of not even having a way to come to my own defense clawed and chewed like a wild beast eating me from the inside out.
But now, distance, reflection and healing allows me to understand that I required this type of trauma to get to a place where I can decipher Ego from Truth. I can see so clearly now that all the constructs of my “enoughness strategies” – the busyness, the striving to feel important, the high-profile work and position – were just a house made of glass.
When the stones flew and the shell shattered, Ego was exposed and for a time paralyzed, and there I met Self, the real me behind and beyond all the constructs and illusions. I was stunned to the point of tears the first time I realized that that Self was beautiful, good and enough! Ego had been robbing me of this knowing.
Through meditation, counseling, reflection and study I have been very intentionally developing my relationship with my Self. And here’s the most mind-blowing part. When my accomplishments were trashed, my work and position were torn away, I raged, Ego fighting desperately to keep those constructs and appearances in place, to protect my familiar identity – to no avail. Then, amazingly, standing in the shards and fragments of who I thought I was I realized I hadn’t become less but in fact, could see that I was far more than I ever dreamed. Clinging so tightly to a constructed identity had been limiting my Self. There is a whole new world, a deeper, richer reality that I had been blindly skipping right past.
I sometimes feel like Truman Burbank from the Truman Show movie when he realizes his whole comfortable life had so far been lived in a small, constructed bubble isolated from reality. That is exactly what the Ego does to us when we are blind to it. It robs us of the adventure and splendor of our deeper selves, of the I Am.
I Am and I am so excited to move forward into the rest of my life, the next part of the adventure, with this new and growing awareness.
I truly, truly hope that sharing some of this will be helpful to those of you who are on your own journeys beyond Ego to Self. Imagine what our world could be like if we met one another from such a place?
Here’s to reclaiming our Selves from the Seductive Thief.
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