“Part of me suspects that I’m a loser, and the other part of me thinks I’m God Almighty.”
― John Lennon
Lately I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about the kind of person I am and the kind of person I actually want to be. Even if I’m working on becoming a better human being day after day, as of right now, I’m not even close to being who I want to be. The reason for this is that there’s something majorly standing in the way…my Ego! Which apparently is pretty big!
I’m not going to get into Freudian theories here, I’ll just talk about it in a more philosophical way. I see Ego as a selfish, shallow little asshole that exists only to make our life much much more complicated than it should be. Ego is basically our self image, what we think we are and should act like based upon our life experience, the way we were raised and the way society makes us think we should be and behave.
Ego makes our thoughts go in endless circles spinning and it makes us obsess over imaginary problems and tales it creates. In the past I made many idiotic decisions because of my ego: ruining friendships, losing artistic opportunities, sleeping with the wrong people, you name it! I like to think of myself as this very wholesome, happy artsy girl that is at peace with the world and doesn’t give a shit what people think about her (this last one is actually pretty accurate though!), but the truth is that like most of the rest of humanity I sometimes make very bad mistakes because I can’t control my Ego and, as most creatives do, I’m constantly struggling with two voices inside my head: one tells me I’m pretty cool and the other tells me I suck! One is from my gut (or you can call it my soul, subconscious, essence, True Self, spirit or whatever you want!) and the other one is the Ego. These two are very very different from each other.
THINGS EGO DOES
There are a few good things Ego does for us, like making us go to the gym and not eat junk food, making us be around people that make us feel good, and sometimes it helps to filter the bullshit from our lives, but besides this, Ego is averagely a pretty bad guy. Let me explain why:
1-Ego, along with Fear, is practically the number one enemy of us Dreamers. Example: how many times have you had an idea and right away Ego showed up to tell you how stupid you are for even considering such idea? He loves to plant seeds of doubt in your head! True, a little self doubt helps to stay humble but it’s very detrimental to doubt ourselves too much. Doubt can turn into the death of a Thought, an Idea or a Dream!
2-Ego is also a huge enemy of Art and Artists. He can do two very dangerous things to an artist: he can make us think we are above others and he can make us do work just to please others.
I believe that art, in order to be good, has to come from a humble place. I think part of being a creative is to never ever be completely satisfied with the work we produce. We always see something we could have done better or differently. It’s a very fragile state but it’s actually a very good thing for an artist because the moment we are completely satisfied with our work, our work begins to suck! For me the muses kick in only when ego is put in a corner and I just listen to what my soul has to say. Creating shouldn’t be about the money or about how many likes on Instagram or fb it can give you. I struggle with this particularly, if I post something I put my heart and soul into it and if very few people like it… it hurts! But at the end of the day I remind myself that it doesn’t matter, I shouldn’t be doing work to make people like me, I should be doing it because that’s what makes me happy! My best work is always done when I don’t give a shit whether people will like it or not!
3-Ego loves to turn us into jealous jerks! Jealousy comes from the Ego 100% (so do selfies!). He constantly makes us compare ourselves to others and tells us we’re not “as good as…” If you start thinking that the neighbor’s grass is always greener, you’ll slowly be turning green yourself, and green doesn’t look good on you, trust me! Stop comparing yourself to others, you are unique, one of a kind, there has never been and never will be anyone like you so there’s no point in comparing! Be happy for other people’s achievements instead of just envying them! As they say, you are the dumbest person in the room…you are in the right room!
To quickly recap: Ego stops us from being free, traps us in our minds, makes us overthink things and creates stories that don’t even really exist outside of our heads. He is best friends with fear and together they make us believe we’ll never be enough, they make us think it’s IMPOSSIBLE—a word I truly despise—to be who we want to be. They try to convince us that dreams don’t come true, magic doesn’t happen, fairytales are full of shit and happy endings are only lucky accidents. Don’t get tricked though. Don’t listen to them. We are all greater than ourselves with infinite potential to be whoever we want and to do unbelievable things! Like Jim Carrey said in one of the most beautiful and inspiring speeches i’ve ever heard “ego tempts us with the promise of something that we already possess”.
Getting rid of Ego completely is a very very hard thing to do. It’s definitely possible, but it requires the spiritual strength of a Tibetan Monk, and that’s just not for everybody! I, for now, have to learn to live with my Ego (and his pal Fear) and above all, I have to learn to control it as best as I can in order to be a better person. I notice that facing my fears and trusting/listening to my instincts are great starting points to put Ego in a corner. He hates being on the edge of comfort zones and he hates when I’m not guided by rationality, Ego is a very rational being…thank gosh I’m not!!