I hate the word “Ego.”
I have nothing against Sigmund Freud. He named those three conceptual pieces of us Id (child self), Ego (mediating self) and Superego (internalized authority figure).
Freud wasn’t the first to perceive such a distinction, but he was the first to use those names.
Everything seemed okay at first, but during the last century, things went downhill.
The Ego, instead of being the mediator between reality, the Id and the Superego, became something petty that we were supposed to shun.
What Is an Ego, Anyway?
“Oh, it was just my ego talking.”
“My ego always wants to run the show.”
“It’s hard to let go of my ego’s need to be important.”
The Internet is rife with earnest statements like these, and they always-always-always rub me ever so slightly the wrong way.
“Ego” is the Latin word for “I.” That’s it. Nothing else. It’s not some nefarious villain hijacking our higher selves, looking to ruin our lives by turning us into childish monsters.
Substitute the simple English words I and Me for the statements above:
“Oh, it was just me talking.”
“I always want to run the show.”
“It’s hard to let go of my need to be important.”
Now that we’ve closed the distance between you and this thing called your ego, how does it feel to say those things about yourself?
If it feels uncomfortable, maybe it’s because the inherent self-criticism in those statements is finding its true mark.
It’s one thing to notice when your behavior isn’t meeting your personal values. It’s quite another to take pot-shots at your very Self. Not surprisingly, it doesn’t feel good.
If you live a normal life, your feelings will get hurt from time to time. That’s unavoidable.
But you don’t have to be the one hurting your own feelings.
Never Let Go of Your Ego
You can no more let go of your ego than you can let go of your own skeleton.
The truth is, there’s nothing wrong with your ego. You’ve been sold a lie.
Embrace your ego. It’s YOU.
You are not such a bad person that you need to be kept in check all the time, and constantly criticized for your faults.
So you spare a thought for yourself? Good! Someone needs to spare a thought for you.
So you want to feel important and special? Who the heck doesn‘t want that?
So you want to run the show of your own life? Good for you! You’re an adult; it’s your responsibility to run your own life.
What is so danged WRONG with being who you are, feeling how you feel, wanting what you want? … Which is to say, with having an ego?
If you didn’t have an ego, you wouldn’t be the unique, lovable, human individual you are, with dreams and aspirations to fulfill.
So please don’t bash your ego in front of me. Criticize your behavior if you must, but don’t get so goll-darn personal about it.