Our Arch Nemesis: The Ego

“The ego is the false self-born out of fear and defensiveness.” John O'Donohue

Can you hear it? That voice in your head telling you that you don’t need anyone’s help. “Don’t listen to them! They have no idea what they are talking about and we can stop using anytime we want!” Well, that voice has a name: Ego. It’s been said that resentments are the number one killer of all alcoholics and addicts but I must, respectfully, disagree. Ego champions over resentment any day in terms of what’s killed more people struggling with addiction.

Ego is the enemy. Bottom line. It attacks from various vantage points and keep someone sick for as long as it remains unaddressed. For some, it tells us that we don’t need help and that we aren’t like other people. For others, it tells us that we don’t deserve the help, that we are hopeless and should give up. Either extreme are common characteristics of an addict/alcoholic. Sometimes both simultaneously occur in what we like to call an egomaniac with an inferiority complex.

“The ego relies on the familiar. It is reluctant to experience the unknown, which is they very essence of life.” Deepak Chopra

What our ego ultimately does is keep us stagnant in our growth as humans. Our ego convinces us that we are perfect the way we are and the rest of the world should change to conform to us. Instead, humans are meant to grow, adapt, and evolve as our lives progress. True growth can be achieved once we are open-minded and humble enough to appreciate the fact that we should be constantly learning. To remain teachable, is one of the many opposites of ego.

“You never really learn much from hearing yourself speak.” George Clooney

To be humble, open-minded, and willing to experience new things provides us the ability to counteract a large ego. Please also notice that there is a difference between ego and pride. Ego is usually built on false confidence and images we have of ourselves that we have constructed in an attempt to rationalize certain unusual behaviors we’ve exhibited.

On the contrary, pride is something that is earned. Pride is based on real self-esteem that was accrued by performing esteemable acts. Think of this as performing a random act of kindness for a stranger, and then not telling anyone about it afterwards. As we build a true sense of pride, we belittle our false sense of ego. We earn humility (another opposite of ego) through loving and recognizing others over loving and recognizing ourselves.

“We can't all be stars because someone has to sit on the curb and clap as I go by.” Sebastian Horsley

Ever notice how the world’s biggest stars turn out to have the darkest mentalities once we investigate past the surface image they present to us? There ego’s have grown so large that they no longer find happiness (or pride) in anything. Nothing feeds their soul anymore.

The aforementioned is another great example of the importance of humility. It allows us to enjoy “the little things.” Remember to always celebrate your little accomplishments, in other words, express gratitude for what you achieve. Try to maintain an attitude that you are entitled to nothing and everything you receive is a surprise gift. A daily dose of gratitude is Ego’s antidote.

“Hold the door, say “please”, say “thank you”…Always Stay Humble and Kind”                                                                         -Tim McGraw