Is Your Ego Making You Stupid?

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No, you’re not stupid for having one. Nobody is.

We ALL have an ego—it’s a condition (sometimes a complication) of being a human.

The ego gives us each an individual sense of self-esteem, of the self-respect that serves as a guide as we navigate life. A person’s ego is the part of the mind that mediates between the conscious and the unconscious, and is responsible for reality testing—the objective evaluation of an emotion or thought against real life—and a sense of personal identity.

Considering that we are conscious, “thinking” people going about individual, subjective lives in a non-subjective world, having an ego is a necessary tool, if not a foregone conclusion.

But, it can easily make you stupid.

A typical reaction to this post’s title might serve as an example. Maybe you thought “Not mine!” or “Yeah, people with egos ARE stupid…” or something that overlooks:

  1. the generally-applicable nature & objective meaning of ego, and
  2. that that is exactly how the ego can work: blind us to any reality other than our own.

Here’s an example: I was working through some feelings about a friend I was unconsciously pulling away from. Another friend took it personally, thinking it was directed at them (it wasn’t). This friend could have looked for the truth, MY truth (since this is HeatherMarcus.com), but their ego got in the way.

And I’d be giving in to my ego if I didn’t give an example of my own ego fails:

The ego is an identity of our own mental construction. It’s an artificial self, something we each make up using our own personality, talents, and abilities.

My ego has reared up on me. Want to get into an argument? I’ll die before I capitulate. And that has ruined a few relationships in my lifetime, romantic and otherwise. I still harbor resentments for things that happened in the early-aughts.

And don’t even get me started on law school… that was 3 years of trying to hone, & control, & sometimes nurse my ego.

But, you d be stupid not to use it.

Ego gets a bad rap.

How many times have you heard the word “egomaniac” used with a sneer?

Our ego makes us judge ourselves. It blinds us to how it itself can be used for good, because of the opinions we know others have of ego.

The goal is to be better than your ego, to transcend its influence & put it to work for you.

The ego is an active and dynamic part of our personalities. It changes as we change, updating our view of our self as we develop. It can get out-of-hand, but it can also show us what amazing things we may be capable of. It’s why I played college ball & went on ‘Tyra’… I was juuuuust crazy enough to believe I had something to offer! &, luckily, I’m still that crazy!

Tapping into our better angels can change EVERYTHING.