The ego is that part in us which feeds off praise, compliments and success. When we live in the ego we are inevitably subject to feelings of superiority / inferiority, pride and worthlessness, success and failure. If we want to avoid these negative emotions we need to transcend the ego. If we can transcend the ego, we will find that people are instinctively more attracted to us, even though we are no longer trying to impress. It may seem a great paradox, yet, limiting the role of our ego can make a radical difference to our lives.
These are some factors which can reduce the power of the Ego.
1. Don’t Try to impress
Don’t speak about your own achievements. Don’t drop names of great people you have met. Avoid forcing your accomplishments and success into the conversation. If you have been successful in accumulating wealth, try to keep quiet about it. All these factors may impress your own ego, but, you can guarantee they will have little impact on other people.
2. Be aware of False Modesty.
Sometimes when we say. “O I’m absolutely hopeless”. Actually what we are wanting is for people to respond. ‘O no your not, your really good.” Humility means that we don’t take excessive pride in our achievements, but, it also means we don’t exaggerate our failings in the hope of gaining sympathy.
3. Be Careful of Flattery.
We need to be careful about receiving praise, in some ways it can be as difficult as receiving criticism. The problem is that the ego likes receiving praise and so we can easily become addicted to being flattered. Don’t seek out people who are keen to flatter us, as this is only feeding the ego. Also, be wary of flattering other people in the hope that they will return the compliment.
4. Don’t use your Religion / Spirituality to Impress.
It is a mistake to feel that the practise of a religion / spiritual path gives us a moral superiority over other people. If we feel any superiority we are missing the whole point of spirituality. Spirituality is about a feeling of oneness not of proving that one path is better than others. This can be one of the most insidious types of ego. This is because when we wrap up the ego in a sense of moral superiority, we can easily trick ourselves into thinking we are reducing the ego, when actually we are strengthening it.
5. Be Aware of the extended Ego.
Ego, is not just about feeling we are better than others. Our Ego can also be expressed via national / religious feeling. When we feel a pride or superiority in our religion / nation, there is still the same problem of ego but, it is expressed through an extended sense of reality. This sense of superiority / pride is just as damaging as if it was contained to ourselves. However, we can feel that because it is not directly related to ourselves, somehow there is no ego involved.
6. Don’t Speak badly of Others.
Quite often, when we speak ill of others there is a subtle attempt to make ourselves look better. We may not explicitly say it, but, when we point to someone’s shortcomings we imply that we don’t have these, and therefore we are much better than them. The important thing here is the motive. Be very vigilant; what is your inner motive for criticising someone else? If it is to make you feel / look better, be very careful. The irony of course is that when we criticise someone, often we have the same imperfections ourselves, it is just that we find it easier to see them in other people.
7. What is Your Motivation for Doing Something?
If nobody knew that you had done it, would you still do the action with the same intensity? Can you work without expecting reward and praise? If you can do things selflessly with no desire for people to find out, this is a sign you do not give importance to the ego. If you only do things in the hope of praise, then you are working to satisfy the ego. The sad thing is that if you really work selflessly, at some point, your efforts will receive much greater recognition because people will come to also value the selfless motivation behind the action. Try doing some things but not let anybody no about it. In the NT, this is what Jesus meant when he said. “and with you left hand.
8. Don’t rely on Your Physical Appearance to Impress.
If you rely on your physical beauty to impress this is definitely coming from the ego. This is not to see beauty is bad thing, far from it. But, real beauty is heightened by modesty and the absence of ego. Avoid paying excessive interest to your physical looks.
To reduce our ego, we have to give great importance to our thoughts and motivation behind our actions. We have to be very strict with ourselves and work out why we are doing something. To reduce the ego, requires great vigilance, we need to reflect on each action and motivation. However, to reduce the influence of the ego, is of great value, it is the key to achieving a sense of inner peace.
If you have any other tips for reducing the ego, I would be interested in hearing them!
credit is given to Tejvan Pettinger for this aritcle