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Dumping your ego is hard, because it’s hard to even admit you have one. “Me? I don’t have an ego. I’m a nice guy! What are you trying to say? What nonsense have you been reading?” I’ve had the same response myself when I started thinking about this concept. A kind, well-mannered person like myself? I have no ego! (or was that actually my ego talking…?)
Let me try to explain what I mean. I see the ego is an outer shell, an external layer of protection that is built over the years. It is the belief in our self-importance that in turn reassures us that we know better and do better than anyone else. In simple words, our ego helps us lie to ourselves so we can feel better. The cost of this “comprehensive protection package” is a much distorted perception of reality. The ego will manipulate what we see with our own eyes to show us that we are right, giving us immediate comfort. It’s comforting to think that others are to blame and that others mess up because they are simply not as smart as your magnificent self. Nine out of ten times when you think people plot against you, have hidden agendas, dare speak to you that way, and so on – your ego is making it up. However, the cost your ego deducts from your personal happiness and inner peace is very real. Research shows that people who are grateful, generous, and forgiving (“weak” from an ego perspective) are the happiest.
From a strengths perspective, I see egoistic behavior as an expression of weakness. People who are truly strong are kind, empathetic, and compassionate. Once you build some inner strength it’s time to take the next step and peel off your ego and simply be yourself. Practice random acts of kindness to people you don’t know. Help people who don’t expect your help. Be generous when it makes the least sense to. Respond to aggression with forgiveness. Be important, not self-important. You can’t keep your eyes on the road and the scenery if you keep checking your looks in the mirror. Ride Safe 😉