Me-me-me-me-me…The ego has arisen! Are you aware of your ego’s presence in your relationship? It sometimes arises without your full awareness and can wreak havoc on your attempts at sustaining love. The ego is often attached to an illusion of self versus the true self, which is so much grander than any THING by which you are erroneously defined. This article offers tools to prevent your ego from running amok in contradiction to the love you so desire. We all need help taming the ego so that we can get out of our own way and experience true love.
First, let’s make sure we are speaking the same language for the sake of clarity. Many of us learned about the id, ego and superego in college, probably in Psych 101. So as not to go all psycho-babble on you—easy for me to do because I am a psychology geek—I will offer a brief description of the ego along with its personality counterparts, the id and superego:
· The id---the id is the pleasure principle. It is the source of our primal need for immediate gratification. You can see the id in full force in babies and very small children who cry, potty and sleep whenever and wherever they darn well please—regardless of what is going on around them.
· The ego—the ego is the aspect of personality that shapes our identity and seeks to meet the needs of the id. It is the unique perception of self in the context of reality. Do you remember the realization that you are not an extension of your caregivers but rather a whole separate entity? That was the beginning development of the ego. Ahh…And it just got better from there.
· The superego---the superego is the moral compass for the ego. It is developed through socialization, religious beliefs and cultural norms. If you’ve ever seen any sitcoms where the character has a devil on one shoulder and an angel on other telling him/her what to do, then you have an idea of the superego. It is your conscience, reminding you of what is socially acceptable—right from wrong.
Okay, now that we have a working understanding of the ego in context with its counterparts, what does it have to do with sustaining a healthy relationship? Great question! The answer is—lots! The part of our ego that can get in the way is less rooted in psychoanalytic construct, and more about the part of ourselves that can be too rigid in our attachments to inconsequential things. It poses a challenge when we too rigidly define the self and there is no room for merging our heart with another’s. There are several thought leaders teaching and writing on this very subject today—if you care to explore in greater depth. They include many, but some of my favorites are the following: Lisa Nichols, IyanlaVanzant, Michael Singer and Eckhart Tolle (ANew Earth).
We have to be willing to let go of that inflexible sense of identity that clings to insignificance. In effect, it becomes counterproductive to creating a sustainable love relationship. There are several indicators that your ego may be running amok in your relationship. Let’s review them:
1. Fear—The unbalanced ego is in constant fear of annihilation. In this case, you might find yourself becoming super defensive, even when there is no cause. Are you unwilling to be challenged around your ideas and ideals? Are you afraid to be vulnerable and exposed? Do you have fear of abandonment or intimacy? This fear may very well be your ego’s unwillingness to compromise and merge with the desires of your heart.
2. Control/Rigidity---The unbalanced ego is most comfortable in a predictable environment, of which it controls. It is unwilling to be confronted. Are you controlling your mate in an effort to assuage your own anxieties? Do you control your relationship through things, like money, sex, acquisitions, etc? Does arrogance lead you to believe that only you have the right answers to everything? You might be saying, “If she would just do what I say, then we would not have any problems.”
3. Resentment---The unbalanced ego will buck against change and challenge. It may respond with anger; then unresolved anger can become resentment. When the superego compels you to go along to get along—or keep the peace--the unbalanced ego can become resentful. Do you find yourself resenting your partner and you’re not quite sure why? Are you in a constant power struggle that your partner doesn’t seem to understand?
We have explored the signs of an unbalanced ego running amok, so what do we do? Well, first, admission and recognition is foremost in creating change. Now that you know the ways that ego attachments can interfere with your relationship’s success, you can do the personal work to create balance. Otherwise your ego can suck the life out your relationship. Who wants to be with someone who makes no room for them to soar, or breathe for that matter? No one with an ounce of self-worth!
Here are a few questions to begin your journey. Answering the following questions with honesty and authenticity will empower you to tame the rising ego-beast that is running loose in your love life:
1. Who am I? Answer this question without talking about your job, your children, your family position, or anything outside of yourself. Why? Because all of these things can change in a tragic redirection of life. The unshakeable joy of knowing your truest, deepest self is in the identity shaped by an internal perception and connection to Source (you might call it God, Allah, Buddha, Universe, The Soul, etc). Whatever you call it, it is not defined by anything external of yourself. It may take you some time to explore this question. However, it is worth the time and investment. In the end, you will have a clear understanding and a profound respect for what it means to “be yourself” in the world and in relationships.
2. Once you have a clear answer to the above question, ask yourself does my relationship create the emotional and spiritual environment that allows my balanced ego to thrive? You cannot know the real answer to this question without resolving question (1). Please know that I am not suggesting that it is your mate’s responsibility to create the environment that sustains your self-identity. Instead, I am implying that it necessitates both people to contribute to such environment, equally.
3. Once you have the answer to question (2), now ask yourself what you can do, consistently, to contribute to your partner’s desire to thrive as an individual and mate. Keeping your attention focused here will maintain balance in the identity of self and its attachments.Finally, I want to offer you a simple acronym to help in maintaining equilibrium of the ego. E.G.O
E—Everyone has the right to a thriving sense of self.
G—Giving is the key to restoring a balanced ego.
O—Openness to your partner offers an ongoing opportunity for growth.
Remember it is never too late to embark on personal work, whether you are single or in a relationship. Whatever perception of pain you may initially experience is mitigated by the joy you will feel on the other side…I promise!
I honor you for taking the steps toward this LOVE REVOLUTION…Nya Akoma!