Restrained Ego

DISCLAIMER: Today’s introduction may seem slightly more profound than usual. By now, you may be accustomed to random and inconsequential tangents and trivial anecdotes on my behalf. Well, we have my immensely insightful uncle visiting from Oman to thank for that. (In retrospect,  I didn’t really have to warn you in advance, did I?)

What is the most common cause of anger? Indignation. Well, what is indignation?  Formally, it is anger that is provoked by what is perceived as unfair treatment. Hence, whenever we feel as if we have been grossly misjudged or mistreated by those around us, we are allowing our egos to induce our prideful suffering. At this point, you may be saying, “What is this babbling buffoon talking about? She knows nothing of psychology and human emotions!” To this, I say, wait, wait, wait. Before you completely disregard this idea and continue with your adventures on the World Wide Web, please read on for a bit. It should all come together in a few moments.

Right, so I had just mentioned prideful suffering. But I think we should talk about the ego first. A driving force in our thoughts, actions, attitudes, and endeavors, the ego is a person’s sense of self-esteem or self-importance. When used to the fullest and most positive extent, it’s what makes us so enterprising and confident. What makes us willing to take risks in business, interpersonal relations, or anything we want to achieve. Indeed, the ego is what allows us to move forward in the precarious dealings of daily life, so that we’re not too paralyzed to take the next step.

Much like any other potent instrument or mindset, such as knives, pride, and confidence, the ego when accessed sparingly and positively can lead to greatly advantageous results. Knives: Neatly chopping fruits and vegetables, allowing us to develop our culinary skill. Pride: Renewed faith in our abilities. The ego: Confidence and willingness to take potentially beneficial risks.

At the same turn, these very instruments, when used negatively or in excess, can lead to greatly disadvantageous results. Knives: Physical injury. Pride: Personal injury. Ego: Self-inflicted anguish. Wow that escalated quickly.

Indeed Lee Iaccoa, American automobile executive known for his prowess in business, once wisely said, “There’s a world of difference between a strong ego, which is essential, and a large ego-which can be destructive.”

Quite destructive indeed. Take for instance, the harassment of the archetypal bully. The sneering, judgmental, little person who points out your most nagging insecurities. The individual who most successfully undermines your confidence.

Obtrusively blocking your path forward, the bully points an impudent finger at your chest says, “You’re a loser.” And with these words, he has deemed you are unfit to do even the most basic of tasks. He has claimed that you are a weak and ineffective agent in your own life.

If you have an unrestrained ego, you are greatly wounded by his words, deeply fearful that they may be true. You think to yourself, “How dare he speak to me that way!” You grit your teeth in sheer anger and indignant frustration. Rather than allow yourself to move from the incident, you are constantly plagued by insecurity. What if I am indeed a loser? I couldn’t even stand up to that wretched fellow…This is the guaranteed road to misery and self-doubt.

If, however, you keep your ego in check and minimize the indignation you experience upon insult, I’m certain that the blow won’t be as substantial. In fact, without those same feelings of hurt and anger, we are left feeling content and slightly amused at the bully’s unsuccessful efforts of undermining our self-confidence.

In essence, I say let’s go with restrained ego!


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