I received a text message from a friend Monday morning. It read, “Hey! A topic idea for you- How choosing to remain in an unconscious state serves the ego.” Yes, I have friends who send me texts like this on a Monday morning. I am so blessed. Here goes…This one’s for you Morgan.
So what is the ego? The ego is difficult to define because the ego is an illusion. Still, I will try to capture it. Our ego is the thing that makes us feel embarrassed when we trip on the carpet when we are in a room alone, or when someone is looking. Our ego would like to believe that we should not trip, fall, or get it completely wrong. Ego could be described as a false self that we develop based on a collection of beliefs and experiences that allow us to answer life’s continuous question, “Who am I?” Your response to the “I am” question is what drives the actions you take in attempt to experience yourself as you think, or say, you are. But when ego rules we struggle to answer the “I am” honestly…
…But the complicated thing is that even the “I” is false. Our ego might trick us to think that the “I” or the “self” is even real; however, what is true is that we are all connected, and we are all at the effect of each other. For example, there is no “I” unless our parents already existed (and their parents, and their parents-parents); therefore, our very existence is only real because we are interconnected. We are all intertwined. We are one. Ego would allow us to believe otherwise.
I have experienced several clients who begin coaching by complaining about the actions of others. “He is crazy. He wants me to be a Stepford wife,” “My mother calls me ten times a day and I can’t take it,” “My boss is out to get me,” “My wife screams at me and she’s so disrespectful.” They go on for several minutes about the actions of others, and how much pain they are in because of other people. And then coaching begins…
When I ask the man with the screaming wife if he likes or respects himself he would quickly reply, “Yes” as if the concept of “I don’t like myself” is totally foreign. …and I’d quickly reply, “No you don’t. Why do you expect your wife to respect you when you communicate to her that you are not worthy of respect. The issue is not that she is yelling at you. The issue is that you are standing there being yelled at.” Ego likes to deflect, ego likes to blame, ego points fingers. But when we operate in the truth of who we are, we realize that others are only in our lives, to show us ourselves. The behavior of others allows us to answer the “Who am I” question by what we think, say, and do in response to others. In this scenario, this is a man who, at his core, is waiting for others to give him what he has yet to give himself...respect. He is waiting for his wife’s changed behavior to answer the “Who am I” question. This is a question he can only answer for himself.
In the scenario, “My boss is out to get me” Ego would cause us to believe that other people’s actions are about us. Remember the ego is “me” and “I” focused. It fails to recognize that no one else’s actions have anything to do with you. In “The Four Agreements,” Don Miguel Ruiz captures this in his description of the second agreement, “Don’t take anything personally.”
“Even the opinions you have about yourself are not necessarily true; therefore you don’t need to take whatever you hear in your own mind personally…Don’t take anything personally because by taking things personally you set yourself up to suffer for nothing….When we really see other people as they are without taking it personally, we can never be hurt by what they say or do. Even if others lie to you, it is okay. They are lying to you because they are afraid.
There is a huge amount of freedom that comes to you when you take nothing personally. You become immune to black magicians, and no spell can affect you regardless of how strong it may be. The whole world can gossip about you, and if you don’t take it personally you are immune. Someone can intentionally send emotional poison, and if you don’t take it personally, you will not eat it. When you don’t take the emotional poison, it becomes even worse in the sender, but not in you.
As you make a habit of not taking anything personally, you won’t need to place your trust in what others do or say. You will only need to trust yourself to make responsible choices. You are never responsible for the actions of others; you are only responsible for you. When you truly understand this, and refuse to take things personally, you can hardly be hurt by the careless comments or actions of others.”
Therefore, comments like, “He cheated on me” are totally ego-driven. The ego would like to believe other people do stuff to you. No one is doing anything to you. Consciousness understands that the fact that he cheated has nothing to do with you. We are at the effect of the pain of others because we are interconnected. His pain affected you because of your connection, not because his actions are toward you. The ego wants you to believe that we are disconnected. Ego would trick you into believing that suffering in other countries does not directly affect you. Ego would make you think that placing your child in the best school, means they escape the effects of failing schools. Consciousness knows that when we let the kids on the other side of town receive less education, we are harming ourselves.
Yep. Ego gets in the way of folks choosing to wake up, #staywoke, and walk in consciousness. It is your ego that will tell you that you can control the situation you are desperately trying to fix. It’s your ego that needs it to be his fault. Your ego wants you to be a victim…and stay one too. Ego actually doesn’t want you to be well.
But! When we choose to push past the ego and tell the radical truth, freedom is available. My favorite scripture in the Bible reads, “And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:32) and I am a firm believer that walking in consciousness is walking in the truth. The truth is that I am great enough to speak words that bring people to stand on their feet, and I am also human enough to trip on the carpet (Yep. I bet Jesus tripped too). The truth is that choosing a relationship is choosing to trust someone else, and I am not responsible for their actions. They are. As influential as I am. I am also limited. The truth is that if someone is abusing me, they are giving me the opportunity to learn how I respond when faced with abuse. Their mistreatment is only occurring because of my agreement with mistreatment. Yep. Being abused is a function of the ego. Ego says, “It’s not that bad”, because ego doesn’t want to to accept that you would allow something that bad happen to you. Ego says, “I can fix it” because it would lead you to believe you can control other people. Ego also keeps you from telling what is happening because you don’t want them to know who you really are and what you really allow. Ego keeps you silent, stuck, miserable, overworked, delusional, sad, mad, alone, broke, busted, and disgusted.
So let’s get to the truth of who you are. One thing I know for sure is thatYOU ARE LOVE AND LIGHT...and so am I. The truth is that I am greater than I can imagine...and so are you. The truth is also that we are human. If you are willing to push past the ego and tell the whole truth about you, freedom is available. If you need a coach to help you get there, I am here.
In love and truth,
Dr. Adrianne R. Pinkney,
Integrative Wellness and Life Coach