It’s 2020, and February has just begun. For many of us, those resolutions we made earlier during the magic of New Year’s Eve have broken. But what exactly holds us back? It’s generally our beliefs systems, and the unconscious programming we have in our minds, commonly referred to as the ego.
But wait – before we shun the ego, the ego isn’t necessarily a bad thing. The ego is there to help us survive, to protect us simply, but its misguided protection is what doesn’t serve us.
The ego starts to develop as a child for us to make sense of the world. Our basic patterns stem from our primary caregivers and the opinions that are instilled into us from our external environment. As children, if we receive praise from something, we will continue to do that action. Whereas, if we are rejected over showing a specific trait – we will repress that particular trait or action, even if it makes us happy.
We believe what is said about us and hold onto judgement from others to “tell the story” of who we think we are. So as adults, we hold onto unnecessary emotional baggage, from rejection, and negative experiences, leading to blockages that prevent us from pursuing what we want.
Unless we accurately observe our ego, we go through life with the same belief systems, triggers and the constructed idea of ourselves our whole life. We believe we can’t change or are not worthy.
But why does it hold us back, when we decide to make changes? We currently spend 98% of our day in our unconscious mind – and the ego despises the unfamiliar. It’s not interested in anything it cannot predict, and this is why it is so hard to change and break old habits. This is also why when we start to make choices in alignment with our healing; the ego has temper tantrums. The resistance becomes extreme. This is why we fall back into those old patterns. Even if those patterns are filled with chaos and misery, they’re predictable. And to the ego, predictable feels safe. The ego’s primary purpose is to continue repeating familiar cycles, even if those cycles are making us miserable.
The ego stages
Lack of ego awareness – unconscious
No awareness of the ego. Ego is fragile and therefore, overactive. Ego drives all behaviour. Mindset is rigid and fixed. Disagreement feels like a threat to self. Protection of ego identity comes before personal autonomy. High levels of self betrayal.
Tunes into the inner world. Able to observe ego stories (thoughts) as separate from the self. Notices when it is activated (triggered). Less attached to ego stories as “truth”. The efoGoes in and out of conscious awareness.
The witness (conscious)
Practised self-observation. Able to notice ego stories and triggers consistently. Able to respond rather than react. Ego still becomes activated, but it does not drive choice, habits, patterns or behaviours.
Ego is sufficiently strengthened (self-autonomy) through acceptance of shadow self and all emotional states. Sometimes referred to as “ego death”. The awareness beyond thoughts that do not need to assign meaning to life experiences. Emotional mastery.
Conscious awareness is the path to releasing the ego’s grip. To awaken is to view the ego as separate from the self. We do this by understanding and observing the stories being told.
Signs you are moving past your ego
- When you feel defensive, you start to ask yourself why?
- You realise there’s a steady stream of false stories going on in your head
- You’re beginning to understand people’s behaviour is how they feel about themselves.
- You have started to take full responsibility for your emotional state.
- You are beginning to see how much of your life experience you do have control over
Once you start to understand that the story you have in your mind of you is based on all your previous experiences and is not necessarily accurate, you begin to feel a sense of relief and can finally start to make some of those changes. Just remember your ego is there to protect you and is not who you really are, but based on the patterns of those around you.