Sometimes it’s best to flush that ego down the toilet. Sometimes that ego will get you into more trouble than you know.
Ego for me is directly related to self-confidence. I know that I’m smart, worthy and well-connected why would I care if anyone thinks that I’m not? Okay, I’m not perfect because sometimes it does get the better of me. Neither are you, though. You aren’t perfect, remember that.
Ego is something that I fought long and hard with over my twelve years of recovery from addiction. At first it was trying to convince those around me that I wasn’t like my old friend groups; that I had changed, that I was better now and far less likely to act the same way that I used to. That I could have an ice cold coke on a night out whilst everyone else was falling around drunk. It led to things I’m not proud of, it led me to judging harshly those around me that drank more than their fair share — all because I was worried about how others may have perceived my new found self. I lost a lot of good people through this.
Then there was my fight for intellectual supremacy. I had found books again, and I began learning about world history. I started listening to lectures on earphones about the rise and fall of Greece and Rome and how that’s applicable to the world today. I learned about Christianity and it’s historical roots. I delved into Paganism, Vikings, Olde English; hell, I was a powerhouse of sucking in knowledge. As I was going through this stage I began to get scared, scared that people wouldn’t see me as an intelligent person, and I was terrified that I’d still be pegged as silly old Raymond. It shouldn’t have mattered really, but it boiled down to my own insecurity that I didn’t think I was intelligent enough.
Then we had the stage where I lost my Catholicism. After reading and listening to classical Mediterranean history I had lost my friendly dad in the sky. To be clear he was the only invisible, yet ever present man in my life benignly guiding me through it. He vanished in a puff of thin air as I understood everything there was to understand about that era. I began thinking religious people were idiots. I would scour the internet repeatedly for people that would say religious things and come down hard upon them. I would challenge them, and I was always partial to mocking their way of thinking. Of course it wasn’t because these people were actually dumb, it was because I was hurt and angry that I lost my dad in the sky and I wanted someone to pay — anyone.
I’ll never forget when I delved deeply involved in Politics. It wasn’t long before I began to think my view was the only, “right” way of thinking. It was about 2015 when I began talking Politics, and being a radical leftist at the time I had some crazy battles with some hardcore right-wingers. To me at the time I couldn’t understand why some people could be selfish to that level. It wasn’t because these people were wrong of course, it was because Facebook had created a never ending echo chamber of people that agreed with me forcing me into a bias confirmation loop. I was always right, and it never felt good to be wrong. A rare sight though, me? Wrong? On the internet? haha.
Lastly it was men. I got into being a voice for men right after I dropped Politics. I believed I wanted to be a guiding light for some of the men in society that have gone through similar ills to me. I wanted to help them overcome their demons as I did mine, and I wanted to help them become better people as I was doing with myself. In my struggle to set the world right I believed I was better than these men, and that through my help it would guide them to a better future. I didn’t dawn on me until later though that I had no idea what other men were like. The absence of good men in my childhood and adulthood had caused me to form an disproportionate understanding of how many good men were out there, and as a result I was sharing tired old tropes that most men understood anyway. I realised I was becoming another one of those bias confirmers. I now only write and share about new things I’ve discovered and only just found out about men. That way I’m not eternally preaching to the choir.
Sometimes our ego’s get in the way of self-progression. I watched a popular MTV reality program the other week and two girls were apologising to each other for how they acted to one another the night before. One apologised outright, the other continued to tell her how bad it made her feel and that she shouldn’t have treated her like shit under her shoe. This sent the other girl off in a rage and she stormed off, resolving nothing. Whilst she was probably right in the sense that she shouldn’t have done what she did, she was a newcomer, and sometimes to keep a smooth playing ground you just need to drop the ego and apologise for the greater good.
I’ve apologised to people when it wasn’t my fault. I guess it depends who you’re dealing with and how you want to exist with them in future. I’ve had to work with really difficult people on the same level as me in the past and sometimes just letting shit slide is all I could do. Why make my life difficult when I want to achieve my goals? I only learned what taking one for the team truly meant three years ago. Sometimes you have to just suck up that pride and be shat upon so you can reach the prize. I say sometimes though because there needs to be certain boundaries people can’t cross, ever. Abuse and harassment are never compromises I’m willing to take.
Accepting yourself helps. It’s not long since I’ve truly accepted myself for who I am. I’ve had a lot of people ask me how I have zero ego whatsoever and I tell them knowing myself is the biggest help towards that. But it’s not only knowing what I’m good at, it’s been getting to know what I’m bad at. I’ve shaken hands with my fears, my prejudices, and my demons. It has been a journey of facing the bad side of me and saying, “You’re okay dude, you aren’t that scary after all.” Because we all have fears and they cause us to react in irrational ways. I have very little fears anymore (apart from the odd arachnophobia) and that helps me try to understand situations rather than judge outright.
I wish to understand the world.
So next time ego get’s in the way; you know? The little person in your head that tells you, “How DARE he/she say that” think to yourself this time, “Actually, I’m going to try and understand how this works for them,” and even though that won’t change their opinion, you’ll still be able to accept them for who they are.
Understanding others REALLY helps!