Even the most self-aware among us experience life largely through the lens of our ego, which we define as an identity of who we think we should be, rather than who we truly are. Our lives are characterized by conscious or unconscious neediness where we put ourselves first and employ all our unique, habitual strategies to make the world tell us what we want it to tell us, even if it is often to the detriment of ourselves and others.
The workshop leader, my friend Michael Sloyer, introduced two ways that we tend to enable our ego: Proving and Defending.
In what ways do you prove yourself to yourself or others? During the workshop, I characterized this proving as “showing off” (which in itself was an attempt to “prove” how smart I am!)
In what ways do you defend yourself to yourself or others? Continuing with the example above, I might defend myself by saying “well I just wanted to make sure I understand!” which could be “.. make sure I am right.”
Michael pointed out the ego can subtley slip in, proving or defending itself, and easily navigate between the two.
Instead of becoming ashamed or fighting the ego, which serves ultimately to inflate its power, Michael introduced the idea of simply noticing the ego, “there I go again.” This self awareness helps us move up toward a higher state of being, more connected to the Self.