There is a lot of talk in yoga and spirituality about the ego, or ego-based thinking, and it can be confusing what it actually means. To me the ego is a lot like yoga, it has different meanings for everyone but there are some general characteristics. You can usually identify ego by the following assumptions:
Ego is based on superficial existence, tangible stuff, and the absence of connection. Ego demands immediate satisfaction and will go to any means to get it.
Ego insists on being right, being in control, and making fast decisions. Ego tells you to do a backbend in yoga class even though you’re tired and your shoulders hurt. Ego whispers to you to buy the car you can’t really afford because it will make you appear richer. Ego loves when you push yourself too far physically, emotionally, or mentally.
Ego will always suggest that you do things for the approval of others, not for yourself. Ego loves competition and will always insist on winning. Ego thrives on drama and will encourage it often.
Ego despises when we surrender to a higher power or the universe to take care of things.
Ego cannot co-exist with: self-confidence, faith, healthy self-esteem, contentment, peace, willingness, and trust. The ego will retreat to a dark corner when faced with any of the above.
Ego says “I am what I buy, what I do, what I wear, what I make, what I look like, and who I am with”
Ego doesn’t like to hang around: humility, generosity, care, concern, surrender, grace, or acceptance.
Ego lives and feeds on: approval, attention, gossip, worry, division, hierarchy, status, labels, titles, adoration, action, noise, distraction, over-consumption, and denial.
Ego loves being underlined and made to feel important.
How to tell you when you are living from your ego: you are always tired, stressed, feel pulled in a million directions, resentful, worried, angry, fearful, jealous, manipulative, scattered, unfocused, cranky, pissed, lonely, disconnected, anxious, tight, tense, miserable, and competitive.
Being authentic and true to yourself means making decisions based on things other than the Ego. Like…your heart….and not worrying what others might think. Loving your life the way it is without trying to change it everyday. Being happy with who you are and not trying to change it everyday.
Without Ego, life might start to be……. simple, pleasurable, easy, fun, open, exciting, enjoyable, quiet, still, flowing, magical, sweet, delicious, abundant, real, full, surprising, rich, fulfilling, meaningful, deep, quenching, satisfying, graceful, light, airy, and fluffy.