Ego is one my number one enemy. Most of the disagreements and arguments I have stem from my ego. I have learned to recognize my supremely masculine ego when it arises, and have fondly named him “Little Shit.”
The definition of ego, labels this monster as “a person’s sense of self-esteem or self-importance.” I would like to differentiate this textbook definition from my personal definition. I believe that you can have high self-esteem or a high sense of self-worth without having an ego. To me, having an ego is the difference between believing that you are a good, well mannered, safe driver—versus believing that you are the only good, well mannered, safe driver. When you believe that you’re the only good driver, you lash out at other drivers because they are lowly in skill comparative to yourself… even if you make the occasional mistake, you blame others. See the difference?
Recognizing your ego takes practice. Think of yourself when you were a teenager, your ego is a lot like that hormonal, angry person. Little Shit, is a ‘better than thou’ type. When I was a teenager, Little Shit was my identity; I had to be the best at everything. I was actually a pretty good kid overall, but when Little Shit came out; it was almost always in a conceited form. Now, I can see him coming from a mile away and am no longer impressed with status and being better than others.. I am proof (most of the time) that a person can outgrow the hyper-focused preoccupations of your ego.
What happens nowadays is that my ego tries to sneak up on me in subtle ways. Instead of the blatant overwhelming waves of rage that used to happen when someone ousted me from the position of number one (in my own mind), I may feel embarrassed or get offended when someone critiques me. In reality, I love being critiqued and having a springboard to improve myself with. But when my ego kicks in, it inhibits me from growing as a result of the criticism and I start to make excuses or blame others rather than owning up to my faults.
I constantly battle that sneaky Little Shit and forever will. I know that the best life for me is not the one he would have me believe. If you battle your ego, see what triggers it and try giving it a name. Instead of blaming an innocent person for the faults you personally struggle with; you can blame your own version of Little Shit and learn to outgrow your ego.
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