This was first published on KSL.com
I have received many questions from readers about people or behavior that is described as “ego driven”. I want to explain what ego is, how to know when it is driving, and how to tame it and become more authentic, balanced and wise..
Some people think “ego driven” just means you are arrogant or conceited, but ego is actually more encompassing than that. Imagine an apple and the real you is the fleshy white part on the inside, but the skin that you try to keep shiny and free from bruises or nicks is the ego.
Your ego is who you believe you are or the face you show to the world. It is made of what you believe your story is, your image, along with your appearance, and your performance. It is the part of you that you compare to others, seeing them as either better or worse than you. Ego tries to protect the inner you from mistreatment and it is fragile, and behaves reactively to defend you too. Your ego image is always changing and rebuilding itself, trying to be what others would want, and yet it never feels safe or good enough. Your ego sees all people and situations as a threat.
The ego is not the real you though. The part on the inside, called your consciousness, is who you really are. This part has the ability to step back and watch the ego thinking and functioning in your behalf. You can actually step back and watch your ego run your reactions, behaviors and thinking. You can also talk to your ego and tell it to “settle down now or stop being afraid.” Or you can let your ego run wild and watch the emotions, stories and behaviors it is encouraging. Because you can sit back and observe the ego, you know it isn’t you.
Your ego isn’t bad, evii, or something to get rid of. It serves you as its goal is to protect you. The trick is becoming more and more consciously aware of your ego, so you can see when it is serving you and when it’s not.
Whenever your ego is experiencing fear and reacting to a situation with drama, emotion, selfishness, negativity, anger, shame, or control, you need to step back and make sure the rest of you agrees with that response. Your higher self (the real you inside the apple) is the source of peace, truth, and love. When you learn to tune into this part of you, you discover wisdom, compassion, and connection to everyone and everything.
If you wonder, in any moment, if your ego is driving or if you are functioning from your higher self. Ask yourself these questions:
Here is a simple process to check your ego at the door:
You can do this.
Kimberly Giles is a sought after speaker, author and master coach, who works with people and organizations to solve people problems and improve human behavior. Take the Clarity Assessment on her website to discover your own fear triggers.
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Kimberly Giles is the president and founder of Claritypoint Life Coaching and 12 SHAPES INC. She is an author and professional speaker. She was named one of the top 20 advice gurus in the country by Good Morning America in 2010. She appears regularly on local and national TV and Radio.