There are many spiritual teachers and personal growth gurus telling us to let go of our egos. However I’d like to offer an alternative: Build it up!
I don’t disagree that letting go of the ego is a fantastic state to aspire to, but I wanted to know what would happen if I nurtured my ego in a healthy way that best served me and others around me.
In this article (and podcast episode), I visit the ego and share how to build and evolve it so that it releases your fears, insecurities and anxieties.
Who knows? Maybe you just need to inflate your ego a bit to create the peace and ease you want in your life.
Today’s quick quote is by Eleanor Roosevelt from her book, This Is My Story. The quote is this:
“No one can make you feel inferior without your consent”
Feeling inferior comes from believing what other people say about you and not realizing the worth in yourself.
The first one, believing what other people say about you goes a lot deeper than just hearing someone tell you that you’re terrible at something. Sometimes someone can say something that is completely untrue, you know it’s untrue, and yet you still feel bad they said it.
When you are in a place in yourself where you are confident in who you are and feel worthy of the things you receive and deserve in life, then what people do or say to you will not affect you as much.
You may still feel hurt, but one of the reasons you feel hurt may have to do with the possibility that you believe a little bit of what they’re saying.
I’ve come pretty far with this, but I’m still prone to getting hurt. In other words, people I love have said things to me that, in the past, would have hurt. But now their words don’t hurt anymore. And the reason is because I simply don’t believe what they’re saying to be true.
So what happens is they get surprised that I’m not reacting to what they said. They’ll ask me, “You aren’t upset about what I said to you?” And I’ll answer, “The only reason I’d be upset is if what you were saying was true. Since it’s not, I have nothing to be upset about.”
They look puzzled when I say that. In fact, you should try that. The next time someone puts you down, whether you believe any part of what they’re saying or not, just chuckle a little bit and don’t respond. Then when they say, “Well, aren’t you upset?” You can tell them, “Why would I be upset? It would only upset me if it were true, but I know it’s not.”
Now, if they really did hurt your feelings, maybe you should explore that inside you and figure out why it hurts. Most of the time, you’ll learn that you have some sort of insecurity that needs to be worked on.
But I guarantee, once you heal that insecurity or get over that fear, the words people say to you hurt less and less. I mean, it can still hurt for someone you love to say anything mean to you, but at least you can be in a place of confidence inside yourself to let specific negative comments about you just pass through you or even bounce right off of you.
I once had someone close to me tell me how much of an idiot I was for doing something they wouldn’t do. I just laughed, and they got confused. They said, “You don’t care I called you an idiot?”
I said, “Why would I care if you called me an idiot? I would only care if it were true. Since I know it’s not, it doesn’t bother me.”
No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.
This means that, really, it’s up to you to feel bad or not. It’s up to you to believe you are inferior or not. The more you believe it, the worse you feel. Now, not only does feeling inferior come from believing what other people say about you, but that feeling also comes from the self-worth that you developed as a child.
Worthiness is very similar to what I just talked about. When you were growing up, you believed what your parents or caretakers said about you or to you. You believed you were stupid for spilling your drink or writing on the walls.
The people that took care of us growing up didn’t realize that their expression of inner frustrations had nothing to do with us, and everything to do with their inability to express themselves productively.
You’ve heard the mom yelling at her kid in the store, saying things like, “You’re gonna grow up to be an idiot like your daddy.” Well, if you haven’t heard that, you’ve heard something similar. I hear things like this all the time.
Kids remember this stuff and they take it with them into the adult world and then wonder why they can’t do anything right or hold a relationship or hold a job. It’s because they developed low self-worth growing up. The people taking care of them must be right, right? After all, they are adults, so they must be guiding the children correctly…
Unfortunately, the children believe almost everything that comes out of our mouths, so we have to be careful how we are raising them. We’ll mess up for sure, but it’s always good to keep this in mind about your children, if you have any, as they grow through the years.
But what can you do when you’re an adult with low self-worth? Well, I did an episode a while back called Building Self-Esteem and Self-Worth While Maintaining a Healthy Ego that I highly recommend you listen to if you want to start building that up again.
For the quick fix, just ask yourself, “What am I that’s not worthless?”
Come up with something. Then, when you’ve answered that, ask it again. “What else am I that not’s worthless?”
What this does is help you change your focus on your worth, not that false worthlessness that comes from believing other people.
Also, let your ego kick in now and again and feel good about your accomplishments in life. And if you can’t recall any, then do something that will boost your confidence. In the episode I just mentioned, I talked about how getting a muscle car when I was younger really increased my confidence.
It felt great! But I had to balance that confidence with how much my ego may have been inflating. Eventually I sold the car, but kept the confidence.
So building your self-esteem through inflating your ego is something I recommend, as counter-productive as that sounds. But go ahead and give that episode a listen to understand why I say that.
Today we’re going to visit the ego and how building a healthy one will help us gain more confidence, less anxiety and more motivation in life. Ego is thrown around many personal growth circles as something to avoid or let go of, yet I don’t see it that way.
Ego can be utilized in a healthy way to motivate and energize us into doing things that, otherwise, we might not pursue. Without ego, we might just let everything go and meditate on the mountain until someone feeds us. That might sound nice to some of you, but for me, I enjoy having my ego simply because it pushes me to learn, grow and explore more of what’s possible.
Without it, I wouldn’t have this show, or the people I want in my life. Ego has driven me to thrive and evolve into more than what I am.
That’s where ego really becomes useful: When it drives you to exceed where you are in life right now. And by exceeding yourself, you evolve.
But why evolve? Why not just sit and be in zen? There’s nothing wrong with that at all, if you have the ability to do so, and you’re not concerned about leading others.
Leading others to help them evolve is part of your own experience of thriving. Don’t you feel better when you help someone out and their life changes because of it?
I mean, it feels good to do that, especially when you’re not allowing your own personal boundaries to be crossed. When that happens, it doesn’t feel good at all. But when you honor yourself at the same time you help someone else evolve, that’s a great feeling.
Seeing their smile or their expression of accomplishment is an amazing feeling! Sometimes it can even get us out of a down or bad feeling state. I think that’s why so many people love to watch children accomplish great things.
You can see it in their face when they do something they’ve never done before… and succeed at it. That’s pretty cool to see anyone do. We are hypnotized by the success of others. We sometimes feel what they’re feeling as if we succeeded in that very same thing.
And, when we help others achieve their goals, it can feel just like we achieved that same goal too.
I realize not everyone is able to feel this way about helping others, but in general when we help others, we help ourselves. It can be the smallest thing too. I remember watching the frustration on my coworker’s face when she was trying to figure out something in Excel, a program on the computer.
When I showed her how to do it, you could see her immediately become relaxed and release all the stress that had built up. That made me feel good knowing that she now could do her work easily without trying to figure out exactly what the program wanted her to do.
I felt good, which boosted my ego. I suddenly felt smarter than I did before too. I took this feeling into the rest of my day and let it motivate me. I felt smart which made the day go faster and easier.
Of course, there were days I felt like an idiot too, and those days just trudged on. But I’ve learned that whenever I need a boost of energy, I’ll just help someone achieve a goal. It works most of the time, and it puts me into a better mood.
Helping others evolve helps you evolve.
Which brings us back to the ego. We could just let everything go and just sit in the park like the spiritual teacher Eckhart Tolle did many years ago. It took him years of being alone with little outside influence before he realized that he needed to write his book and spread his message of living in the present moment.
His teachings are valuable and I listen to and watch him quite a bit, however I’m not so keen on completely letting go of the ego. At the same time, I realize that my ego is the one talking here, which begs the question:
If I didn’t have my ego, would I care about losing my ego?
It’s almost a paradoxical question, but an interesting one for sure. I believe that ego, when fed healthy programming, can be incredibly helpful on your journey. But it’s like a scale you must always keep in balance. Too much weight on one side of the scale, and the ego gets inflated creating arrogance and cocksuredness.
If the weight is too little and the scale gets unbalanced in the opposite direction, you lose motivation and even desire and passion, things that drive you to succeed and achieve bigger things for yourself in life.
Now, Eckhart teaches that letting go of ego altogether is a path to enlightenment and I certainly don’t disagree. Without ego, you feel nothing pulling you towards things that you may or may not get. You find little need to make money or improve yourself because there is nothing inside of you judging you or talking critically.
Without ego, you are free from worry. With it, you do worry, but you also experience all the other things I was just mentioning like passion, drive, and motivation. I realize this is a blanket statement that may not be true in all cases, but in my experience it is absolutely true.
I remember I was once terribly sick from food poisoning. I was in bed, and got up every ten minutes to vomit or do something else that is not appropriate to mention on the air, especially if you’re eating right now.
There was a point where I was so sick, I thought I was going to die. And it was this moment where I lost all my worries about my life. I had no worries about my bills, my job, my relationship problems, nothing! I was suddenly free of ego.
I was so sick and what felt like near death, that for the first time I desired absolutely nothing and was completely in the present moment. In fact, I was even okay with dying. It wasn’t a sad or unhappy place to be. On the contrary, it was the most peaceful I’ve ever felt in my life.
That was the first time I felt what it was like to be completely free of my ego. I was lying on the bed, sick and nearly dead (or so it felt), and was happy. I don’t even know if the word happy is appropriate because “happy” is fleeting and comes and goes.
Maybe “zen” is the more appropriate word. I felt as if I had absolutely no problems in life. Whether I lived or died didn’t matter, because I was peaceful.
When my food sickness subsided, and I started feeling physically better, I slowly returned to life as I once knew it. Bills, a job, relationship problems, my fears and insecurities about the world, and everything else that came with my life before I got sick.
This was a real eye-opener for me, because I thought I would be able to keep that feeling I had at the pinnacle of my sickness. I thought I was a changed man! Then when my sickness went away, my ego came back and suddenly I was awash in all my problems again.
It was then I realized that ego is powerful and can certainly drag me down when it’s present.
I thought, “Having ego is not what I want. I better learn how to let it go.” Then a few years later I was broke and standing in line at a soup kitchen. And truthfully, I was feeling pretty peaceful. By that point I had let go of most of my possessions, then soon had no money.
I’m not saying my journey to letting go of ego actually created that scenario, as there were other factors involved there, but being in that place with little ego to bring me down was actually quite peaceful. At the same time, it was also living on handouts and under the roof of other people.
Still, it was peaceful. Not having ego allowed me to be worry free and be okay relying on others to take care of me.
This was peaceful, but it did occur to me that the people helping me weren’t doing so to help me stay where I am, they were doing it so that I would be empowered enough to move out and up into the world again.
It took a few months of standing in line at the soup kitchen, then being part of the state welfare system before I decided to invite ego back into my life and do something with my life.
I remember the day I said, “I don’t care what it takes, I’m going to make money and get out of this hole I’m in.” That was when I decided to take any job that came along just to make an income.
And eventually, I was making money. I was married at the time, so I was making money for the both of us. We moved out of her family’s home, then we got our own place. And since then, I’ve been driven.
And “driven” is where I’ve been ever since. I like having that driven feeling because it motivates me and gives me purpose. I now do more and work harder than ever to make things happen in my life not because I’m desperate, but positively motivated to make a better life for myself.
This happened when I regained my ego and learned how to feed it in a healthy way. And that’s what I want to talk about today, feeding your ego so that you can be motivated and take charge of your life, instead of letting life just happen around you.
Ego is not a bad thing, it is just a tool that can be utilized in a healthy way, or misused causing many problems in life. Let’s evolve the ego so that some of the fears and insecurities in life simply disappear.
I once defined Ego as the desire to include yourself in the experiences of life.
In other words, who you are and what you mean to yourself matter. You have an interest in you while going through your everyday experiences. You want to enjoy yourself, you don’t want to be uncomfortable, you want to feel good, not bad. These “wants” originate from the ego’s desire to include you in the experiences of life.
Whenever you have any thoughts or behavior where you want, need or desire, that is ego. What I want to talk about today is how to evolve, utilizing ego to do so. If you are trying to let go of the ego, then maybe this episode isn’t for you.
If however, you want to be more passionate and driven, then don’t touch that dial.
Like I said earlier, ego can be inflated in an unhealthy way, or built up to benefit us in ways you may not realize.
With a healthy ego, you can stand up for yourself, honoring your personal boundaries. You can also diminish insecurities. You can go after opportunities with authentic confidence and not hidden fears.
The construction of a healthy ego will benefit you if you know where the tipping point is. So maybe the first thing we need to talk about is how to recognize when you are about to reach that tipping point so you don’t get into an unhealthy place.
The way you know your ego has gone beyond the tipping point is when you feel little empathy and compassion towards others. When someone gets hurt and it doesn’t phase you, you either don’t like the person and don’t care, don’t have the capacity to be compassionate, or an inflated ego.
You may not like the person, but I’m willing to bet that even people you don’t like who go through extreme suffering you still feel just a little bad for. And if you don’t, it doesn’t mean you’re an awful person, it just means that their pain and suffering doesn’t affect you.
The reason it doesn’t affect you is what’s in question. You have either dropped ego and are at peace with everything and are just allowing the world to be, or you have an inflated ego and don’t really care about the health and welfare of others.
Compassion is the opposite of ego. Compassion is caring about others, where ego is a caring about self. Does it make sense that you’d want to equalize or balance both ego and compassion?
Meaning, the more you care about others, the more you need to care about yourself. Compassion is on the opposite end of the scale that keeps you balanced in this department.
When your ego inflates, your compassion tends to deflate. And the same is true when your compassion inflates, as odd as that sounds.
Here’s the thing, compassion works two ways and must stay balanced. The first way, you are compassionate towards others. The second way is when you are compassionate towards yourself as much as you would be compassionate towards others, if not more!
What typically happens directly relates to our next talking point, and that’s this:
When you have more compassion toward others than yourself, you will degrade and they will prosper.
I realize this sounds counter-intuitive, because it feels like we’re supposed to be compassionate towards everyone as much as we can be. And by showing more compassion to others than we would ourselves, we are somehow noble. But how long can this unbalance of compassion last?
This unbalance creates dysfunction and eventually wears you down. By showing more compassion towards others than you do yourself, you develop personal boundary issues and other behaviors that are not empowering.
What starts off feeling good and like the right thing, over time, completely de-energizes you. For example, I was a “yes” person for so long. I would say yes to anyone whenever they needed help.
This sounds like I’m being a nice guy and just being helpful, and whether that’s true or not, what’s happening inside me is a different story. I’m saying “yes” to people out of fear.
One of my fears used to be that someone wouldn’t like me if I didn’t do what they wanted or asked me to do. I was not compassionate enough with myself to give myself what I needed at the time. I instead gave to others what they needed. Over the years, I would lose friends and relationships because all I did was give. Their friendships wore me out.
I chose to only please others, not myself. I was insecure. I felt like if I pleased others, it would give me what I want in life. So I was hoping that my actions would cause them to treat me the same way.
You know the golden rule: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Well, I would do so much for others, but never felt it was being reciprocated. In reality, I was not doing unto me!
Whether they reciprocated or not really wasn’t the point. The point was that I allowed people to cross my personal boundaries. They didn’t know they were crossing my boundaries because I didn’t tell them. I just allowed them to take up my time and energy when I really didn’t want them to.
So wouldn’t it make sense to just say, “No, I can’t help with that. Sorry!”? The answer is Yes, it would make sense! But many of us don’t do that.
This is where ego comes in, but maybe not in the way you think. A deflated ego is also a lack of confidence and self-assuredness. When you lack confidence in yourself, you worry about what people think about you and you don’t take steps that might increase your potential.
When you boost your ego, you boost your confidence. When you have an increase in confidence, you don’t have to worry so much about saying “no” to others because you are confident about what you want for yourself.
Does that make sense?
When I was a people-pleaser, my deflated ego would allow people to take advantage of me and walk all over me if they wanted. But when I increased my confidence, I started to balance the amount of people pleasing between pleasing others and pleasing myself.
Well, actually, I went to the other end of the spectrum for a while and started just ignoring everyone else and only taking care of myself. That’s what can happen when we finally move out of a dysfunctional space: We tend to move to the opposite end of the spectrum.
People-pleasers end up being mean to other people. Compassionate people end up not caring about anyone. Not always of course, but it can happen when you get so sick of being one way, you go to the opposite end and become a completely different person.
It’s helpful to remember balance so that when you do get to the point of having ‘had enough’, you wean yourself off the way you used to be and slowly make your way to a more level space.
In other words, if you’re a people-pleaser now, start saying “no” in tiny increments. Think of those “no”s as stepping stones. One little accomplishment leads to the next, and soon you find the right balance of being compassionate and helpful towards yourself just as you are towards others.
But let’s return to the healthy buildup of ego, and figure out ways to do it that keeps us balanced and not tipping the scale too far.
I believe in building the ego in a healthy way, but what is healthy? Well, it’s going to sound like common sense, but let me share some examples.
In a previous episode, I told the story of getting a muscle car when I was in high school. Back then, I was not confident in myself, extremely shy around girls, and felt like an outcast. I wasn’t a jock nor an honor student. I had long hair and I rode a skateboard everyday after school.
But one day I got a muscle car. It was a 1969 Mercury Cougar. I realize it wasn’t exactly a muscle car, but compared to my AMC Hornet, it was a Ferrari. The first day I drove it to school, I got so many looks.
I had girls look at me that never did before. Throughout the day, I had people coming up to me commenting about the car. They were impressed! It felt really good to be the center of attention in a good way for once.
This boosted my ego and my confidence at the same time. I didn’t become arrogant however, I just became more passionate about life. I didn’t let my ego become unbalanced either. In fact, the ego scale was tipped so far on the deflation side before that, that boosting it actually put it into balance, if that makes sense.
That car changed my entire life. From that point on, I felt like I had more purpose and more confidence to do anything I put my mind to.
Another example of building the ego in a healthy way had to do with my four years in ballroom dancing. I was always sort of a perfectionist, so anything I did in life, I would get really good at it, perfecting it until I covered every detail. When I learned to ballroom dance, I studied the techniques, paid for lessons, watched videos at home and perfected it as well as I could.
Then when my girlfriend and I went out for a night of dancing, many eyes were on us. It felt great! Again, I was the center of attention in a good way. People would come up to us and give us the biggest compliments. It was a boost in ego without an over-inflation of ego.
The way I balanced ego as I was inflating it was staying compassionate towards others. I would treat everyone as equal to me and be compassionate towards them.
This always keeps ego in check. Remembering that everyone is an equal to me, regardless of intelligence, finances, their title at work or their living situation is what keeps my ego in check.
When you can see that the person begging for change on the street or the one driving in a Rolls Royce as equal to you, you keep a balanced and healthy ego.
Another example of building a healthy ego is the acceptance of compliments and gifts. I’ve met quite a few overly compassionate people who refused to accept compliments or gifts. Or did so with reluctance.
Why? Why deny someone the satisfaction of enjoying the process of giving you a gift?
That sounds harsh, I know, but I know when I give a gift or a compliment, I’d love for the other person to go, “Really? Wow, thank you so much. This means a lot to me!” instead of, “Oh no, I can’t accept this”, or “Really? I don’t think I’m beautiful”.
When someone says “Thank you so much. This means a lot to me!”, I feel good knowing that my gift was received and enjoyed. I recommend you say that too, even if you don’t want to. One of the first steps to a healthy ego is accepting gifts because you really want them and accepting compliments because the other person really believes them.
When you accept a gift, act like you really want it, even if you don’t. I know this sounds a tad deceptive, but think about it this way: Regardless of what the gift is, just the fact that someone took their time and energy to get you one is what you can be grateful for. Remember the saying, “It’s the thought that counts”. I would even revamp it to say, “It’s the intention that counts”.
The second part about accepting compliments is just as important, but for a different reason. The other person believes what they are saying to you. Have you ever had anyone compliment you about anything? I’m sure you have (but if you haven’t, you might need new friends because the people you’re hanging out with must have issues!). But when you get a compliment, do you tend to say, “Oh no, that’s not true”? Or, “Oh, you’re just seeing through the eyes of love.”?
Those words are an immediate invalidation of yourself and the beliefs of the person complimenting you. In fact, I don’t see any value in disagreeing with a compliment someone gives to you, even when you know it’s not true!
For the longest time, I was not comfortable about certain features of my body. Almost all of us have a feature on our body that we think could be improved in some way. Thanks a lot TV and magazines! Anyway, I really had a hangup about particular areas of my body. And, when I received compliments about those areas, I would just think they were being nice.
I would say things like, “Oh you’re just saying that because you love me”. I wouldn’t believe what they were saying, so I’d invalidate their kindness and make myself feel bad reminding myself how untrue their statement was.
But only a few years ago I decided to believe the compliments people were giving me. After all, it’s their belief, not mine. So how could I tell them that what they believe is untrue? Especially when it comes to something so subjective about how someone looks?
That’s like telling someone that the person they married who they think is beautiful is really not pretty at all. They would look at you like you were crazy, or maybe they’d be mad at you and yell or worse. Either way, we don’t define subjective observation for other people, so we have to believe what they say when they compliment us.
That’s true, right? So when someone compliments you, thank them!
Now what this does, or at least starts to do is start building your confidence and belief in yourself. When you say “thank you”, and really believe what others are saying, it’s sort of like what affirmations are supposed to do for us. Except these affirmations are coming from other people.
We’re told that repeating affirmations to ourselves will drill a new belief into our subconscious minds until we no longer think that we’re lying to ourselves. However, compliments that we are given are sort of like affirmations, except that they are coming from a different person. And I bet most of us would be more prone to believe a compliment from someone else than we would from ourselves.
So self-affirmations could work after a long stretch of time, but compliments, or externally originated affirmations about us have the ability to change how we feel about ourselves much faster.
Believe the compliments and accept the gifts, and you are reaffirming your worth. The more you do this, the more healthy your ego will grow.
Now the opposite can happen too. If you believe the negative comments that people say about you, your ego and confidence could diminish. This one’s easy. All you have to do is remember that whenever someone says anything hurtful to you, it’s never about you, it’s about them.
The only reason someone would want to say something hurtful about you is to fulfill an insecurity in themselves. It’s a power trip. Once they know you feel bad, it makes them feel good. Their hurtful comments are a way to build their own ego in an unhealthy way.
This will happen if you go this route yourself. If you choose to build your ego by putting others down (which is definitely not showing compassion), then you are setting yourself up for self-sabotage. All those hurtful comments about others builds up a false confidence in yourself, and soon you’re on top of a house of cards that could topple at any time.
Just remember, the hurtful things others say about you only reveals what is in them that needs healing, not what’s in you.
Evolving the ego will help some of the fears and insecurities in life disappear. In fact, think about something you’re afraid of right now. Think about the fear you have about the thing you are afraid of. Do you have something in mind?
Now, what is causing that fear? Is it something that happened in the past? Is it something you are worried about in the future?
Were you afraid of this thing, or something like it before? Did something happen to you that made you afraid of it?
And when you think of this thing that you are afraid of, or have some fear about, here’s what I want you to do: Think about the moment you would feel the most fear, and imagine what you might need in that moment to conquer your fear.
For example, I will play this game right now. I still have small fears that I won’t make enough money to be a good provider for my loved ones, even though I know in my head and heart I do believe that I would never put me or them in a situation where money would disappear from our lives.
However, if I’m really honest, I do feel that there is some fear about that inside me. So now I’ll imagine the moment that the fear would be realized. I think the moment would be when I look at my bank account and I have less than $100 in it. I think in that moment, fear would strike me most.
Now that I have that fear, I’m going to imagine what I would need to conquer it. Notice that I’m not imagining what I need to resolve the problem, I’m imagining what I would need to conquer the fear.
Do you understand that difference? For me, what would conquer my fear is the knowing that I would find a second job to support us if my bank balance ever got that low. I know that providing for my loved ones is so important, that I’d make sure that money kept coming in no matter what.
So the fear of not having enough money kind of goes away, because I am imagining what I would need to no longer feel the fear. I’m not telling myself that I would just need more money, because that’s a result of my actions.
I’m imagining what it would take to no longer be fearful. For me, it would take knowledge. It would take knowing I would never let it happen. This knowing drives me, and even gives me incentive to move into that direction even now so I never even get close to being broke again.
The question I ask myself is: What would I need to conquer the fear of being broke?
The answer I come up with is that, undeniably, I will never go broke again, even if I have to shovel ditches all day. Knowing that this is exactly what I would do, it helps alleviate the fear.
Now I could go further and imagine a fear of not finding a job when I’m broke, but doing that is a path to anxiety. Why would I want to continue imagining failure after failure? Alright, let me rewind that a bit… I do talk often about imagining the worst case scenario.
That’s different however, because you are jumping to very worst possible thing that could happen and discovering how bad it could possibly get. And doing so makes everything before that seem not so bad.
But, when you imagine what you fear and think about surpassing that fear, you feel better. But when you think, “But what if it’s get worse than that?” then you start building up anxiety.
You’ve already conquered the first obstacle in your head, and for all you know that might be the very last obstacle you need to worry about.
Anxiety builds by continually examining how it could get worse and worse. It’s the ramping up of bad feelings. My point with imagining the worst case scenario is to jump to the very end on the very worst that could happen to avoid thinking about each and every scenario that could happen in between.
It’s the buildup of what’s next and what’s after that that creates anxiety. If you can conquer the first problem you think of, then you can feel good until you hit another problem, if you do.
I realize that anxiety isn’t that easy to conquer, but there’s a little trick I learned about how to get beyond anxiety during my training many years ago, and it’s this. And just a note, you’re going to be a bit confused in this segment, and that’s perfectly normal.
Think of something you’re anxious about. When you have that in mind, imagine what it will be like when, after you’ve successfully surpassed what you were originally worried about, you think back about how anxious you once were.
And when you think about how anxious you used to be before that success, do you remember the moment you realized that your old anxiety was pointless to begin with.
And tomorrow when you think about yesterday’s anxiety, being a thing of the past, does it surprise you and make you feel good knowing that yesterday you had concerns about something that suddenly disappeared now?
And imagining what it’s like right now, to be free of that old feeling you don’t have anymore, you can know that the next time that old feeling starts to come back, you can decide to look beyond the successful completion of that event, remembering to turn around and laugh because it turns out it’s not so bad after all.
Okay… return to the present moment here with me and remember that today is the successful completion of yesterday. You are here now, and you will be here tomorrow when it is once again “today”. And you can bring any good feelings with you into every tomorrow you have.
Our fears and insecurities are windows to what makes up our foundation. If you look hard enough, you’ll figure out what those fears are and soon not let them run your life anymore. But remember that fear is a road map to confidence. Without fear, we could not become more assertive and more passionate, because we would not have the drive to do so.
I think a good goal is to live life fearlessly. But I also think it’s good to keep some fear just to have something that keeps you aware and alert. You don’t want to be so confident that you’ll never fail, because then, you’ll never try!
If you know you’ll never be sick, broke, hungry, or alone, then would you even try to stay healthy, make money, get food, or find companionship? I think that’s a drawback with a lot of people’s thought processes.
Many people do live a little too fearlessly. They think it’s okay to eat unhealthy and never save any money because they don’t fear what can happen. It’s a great place to be in your mind, but in reality, it catches up to you.
Living fearlessly works well when you are unnecessarily worried about public speaking or something, but not so well when you smoke two packs a day.
Fear is a great motivator of change, so use it where you think you need it most in your life. I know it’s no fun to be fearful of anything, but when it encourages you to take care of yourself instead of doing anything you want because you feel like it, you’ll find new ways to feel good and create positive changes.
Once the fear is no longer needed however, you can let it go. It’s okay to feel the fear, as long as it is driving you in a good direction. And when you no longer want to feel that fear, then do something that moves you towards accomplishment.
Accomplishment squashes fear. Wash the dishes, paint a table, finish that project, something! Do anything that you get to complete to show yourself that you can start and finish things.
But now I’m really heading off topic. So let’s finish today’s episode with this last comment about ego:
It’s okay to be proud of what you’ve accomplished, as long as you don’t purposefully use your accomplishments to overshadow others in an effort to make you feel superior. Believe it or not, the more you empower others and help them feel good, the less fear and insecurities you’ll have about yourself.
Because when everyone around you feels good because of you, you’ll be in the company of those who support you most.
Do you think I’m being a little selfish by wanting you to feel empowered and feel good about yourself? You bet I am. After all, by you listening to this show, you empower me. I know it may sound silly, but I’m telling you, when you empower others, you empower yourself. So thank you for listening.
I’m not one to disagree with the idea that letting go of your ego is good for you. In fact, the more you let go of your wants, needs and desires, the more peaceful you will feel.
It’s simple, let go of your ego, and you’ll feel peaceful. But then what? If you are the type of person that is motivated internally who doesn’t need ego to feed that motivation, then you are certainly evolved and I applaud you.
But if you’re like me and want to utilize what I think is the wonderful gift of ego, then learning to build it in a healthy way that benefits you and everyone around you is a path to enlightenment. After all, if you have developed just as much compassion as ego, then you are already in a balanced space.
It’s that balance of energies that keep us grounded and always moving in a positive direction. Once the scale is tipped too far one way or the other, you start veering off course. And you know where that ends up.
So step into your power and be firm in your decisions and actions, so that you can create the life you want. When you do this, you’ll discover what I already know to be true about you, that you are amazing.