The synonyms for ego are many- pride, self-love, conceit, vanity, superiority, arrogance, haughty, pretentious. Most, if not all, of us have an ego but we do not see ourselves as egotistical. Why is that? I have learnt that our ego is tied to our self-identity. Our ego is who we think we are and how we project ourselves to the world. Our sense of self is built layer by layer starting around the age of two. It is built from our desire to be accepted by others- our parents, our friends, and our social group. It is our reflected self.
We are not our egos. Our ego is a conditioned-self, conditioned by other people and circumstances. Our true self is hidden even from ourselves. Our ego is like a shell covering our true self. The most difficult part of my journey has been the work required to tear down the edifice that is my ego. It is not easy to do, as I have discovered. Our ego offers resistance to life. It stops us from accepting life in its fullness. Our ego is a shell that we build to “protect” ourselves from the sharp edges of life. The irony is that it does just the opposite, it stops us from embracing life, all of life-the good, the bad and the ugly. When we come to realize that there is nothing in us that needs protecting from life itself, we begin to enjoy life. We begin by first accepting ourselves for who we are. We realize that we do not have to pretend to be someone that we are not. When we open up to life. Life opens up to us
We are born with a primitive sense of self. As we grow up, we layer the “me” with beliefs, possessions, memories, pain and hurt. We have to learn to let go of our ego. The ego must go. We have to be born again to be free. We have to become childlike.
“Truly I tell you, unless you change and become as little children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 18:3