I like to keep blog posts uplifting, but I also like to keep them authentic and realistic, and sometimes, to get to that peaceful and positive place in our hearts and minds, we have to deal with and process the negative or harder moments that will occasionally present themselves.
There are going to be times when someone or something triggers our ego. It can get stirred or rear up for any number of reasons; being provoked, threatened, jealousy, bossed about, insulted, ignored, accused, made to wait, rejected, are but a few. It’s the part of your being that takes things personally, operates from fear, takes offence, judges/criticises itself and others. It gets carried away, can’t control itself, looks for confirmation that it’s better than others, and wants to prove “you” are in the right and “they” are in the wrong.
Don’t worry, we’ve all been in that position where we have activated someone else’s ego or our own has fired up for one reason or another. For most of us, who aren’t yet fully enlightened beings, when your ego-mind is dominating your thoughts, it is not going to listen or respond well to comments like ‘Calm down!’ or ‘Let it go!’. Phrases like that are likely to fuel the fire, it doesn’t respond well in being told what to do.
So what do you do in these situations? The following suggestions are to help you when your ego is being triggered as opposed to you activating anothers’ (although they often fuel one another).
Be Self Aware
By having greater awareness of yourself, you too will have greater awareness of the larger picture. You’ll be able to observe what’s going on and what’s being said, without getting lost in the moment.
When you lack self-awareness, your perception can be very easily distorted. In contrast, when one is self-aware, one is more able to gain a clearer perspective of any given situation.
By noticing early on that someone or something has woken up your ego you are more likely to keep those ego dominated thoughts from taking over.
Make Conscious Choices
It might be challenging, particularly if your ego is on the verge of taking over, but do your best to make wise, conscious choices: saying or doing things that won’t aggravate the situation is key to containing any escalation.
It’s sometimes wise to give space to heated ego moments, whether that means physical space or even verbal space/being quiet/listening, which will help you from being reactive.
Try to keep your mind steady with some slow, even conscious breaths.
Watch Your Inner Narrative
Even when you are trying to be self-aware, whilst keeping calm and conscious, one’s ego-mind is so powerful that it can start telling yourself little stories. Before you know it, you have a whole inner monologue going on.
When this happens, just notice it, notice where your thoughts are taking you. If you are conscious, you have the choice to feed this narrative, to stop it, and to re-direct it.
It’s advisable not to indulge in the ego narrative and instead to breathe through some calm and rational thoughts. Try any exercises that re-centre you. For example direct your attention to your feet, feeling the support and connection with the earth beneath you. Or breathe in through the nose for 4 counts and out through the mouth for 6 counts.
Don't Fear It, Befriend It
If you find that you don’t succeed in the first attempt dealing with your own egoic mind, or others, then worry not, you have your whole life to put in the inner work and figure all this out.
Every time it arises is another opportunity for you to learn how to work with it as opposed to against it. Keep flexing those emotional and mental muscles that pick you and others up and not bring you or others down.
It’s from a place of strength and peace in which you rise beyond these egoic thoughts and behaviour. The more you train your mind in this way, the more it will become your way of being.
As This Is A Process...
You’ll move from being un-consciously un-conscious (unaware of your ego) to consciously unconscious (aware of your ego). You’ll get purposeful and have moments of being consciously conscious (actively trying to release the ego). One day when your ego is not controlling you, and you are operating purely from love, not fear or judgement, you may even shift into being unconsciously conscious (ego not even being triggered).
If, from reading this, you feel you have some work to do (as I do from writing this) then I recommend turning to meditation, yoga, and mindfulness practices to help you on your journey. They are so beneficial for all the above suggestions that help with those ego fuelled moments of life that we all face.
Good luck with integrating these suggestions into your daily life as you follow the more mindful path,
Peace and love,
Enjoyed reading this? Check out my blog post “Meditation, Yoga + Mindfulness”.