The EGO resides in the primitive instinctual part of the brain or more precisely the Amygdala, whose complete function is to remind us of the fundamental rules of life so we can survive. As it surveys our environment it looks for danger and causes one of four actions, our four “F”s, fight, flight, freeze and fornicate.
EGO thrives on FEAR, which is an essential part of survival. However we need to be aware of when the EGO is driving our thoughts and when we need more input from our discerning part of our brain, the parts that have been added as the brain evolved. These newer parts of the brain produce the higher functions of feeling and thinking.
In order to perform its function effectively the EGO has six needs. You’ll probably recognise these is they tend to form part of the soundtrack of our subconscious mind. They become limiters in our lives, unless we manage them and don’t let them rule the roost.
The SIX needs of the EGO are, in no particular order:
The need to know. In its most functional form, this is curiosity, seeking more information so that our conscious mind can sort and discern to make a decision. A less resourceful application is seeking certainty above all else. This can lead to freezing when you are unable to move toward your goals because there is no guarantee of the outcome.
The need to judge. We do this to ourselves and to others. Probably the most divisive effect and fills its role to hold us back beautifully. How often do we look at others and compare whether or not we or they measure up? How often does that voice in our head judge us as “not being good enough/smart enough/pretty enough/nice enough”, so we don’t do what we wanted because our confidence has been trampled? Nice work EGO.
The need to justify. Dovetails into the judging. When we feel judged we tend to defend ourselves by justifying our actions. Justifying is a form of fighting, fighting for what we believe to be true, OR, protecting ourselves from being judged as not meeting what we believe the other person is thinking. Another brilliant strategy to keep us exactly where we are. The way around it is to be conscious of our behaviours, take time to formulate our reply when responding to a question or giving our feedback. Think about how our words could be interpreted. Could we add something to soften or remove something that doesn’t add value? When receiving feedback, take the time to consider the information, rather than immediately defending. Is what we are receiving what was intended? Taking a little time can pre-empt the potential for a whole lot of pain.
The need to be right. Winner. How many of us go here a little more often than is good for our quality of life. Many of us would rather be right than be happy. What’s more a lot of the time, whether we are right or wrong is of no long term consequence, yet can create great disruption and angst in our relationships. Another well-formed strategy of the EGO to keep us precisely where we are, nice and safe, mind closed to the possibilities that there are any other options. The most resourceful way to get around this one, is to release it, simply not worry about stamping our authority. Another way to look at it is to recognise that what someone else thinks is none of our business, so why worry about what they think. It’s ok to have differing opinions.
The need to look good. Not surprisingly, this one in its most resourceful is about being attractive to the opposite sex. It is the “F” for fornication. A critical factor in the survival of the species. Where it plays out negatively are in those of us who like to big note ourselves and one up, which in turn makes those around us feel put down. When we do this we are serving ourselves, whereas meeting our highest purpose is about serving others, elevating them by acknowledging where they look good, complimenting them when they have a success, achieving something they had been wanting. It doesn’t take a whole lot of effort and can make amazing differences in other’s lives.
The need to get even. Who of us keeps score? Do you track who bought the last coffee when you go out with friends? Do you consider who’s done the driving when you go out with friends for a night out? Some of us get so focused on the “fairness” of a situation that we lose sight of the bigger picture. None of us want to be taken advantage of, and if things like that really bother us then maybe it is time for new friends. Otherwise is keeping score serving our relationships with those around us?
As you can see, when we come from EGO it tends to be pretty constricting. Wayne Dyer describes the EGO as simply edging GOD out. EGO is about safety, sameness, predictability. Don’t get me wrong, there is certainly a place for EGO, however a lot of the time we need to take a breath and give our conscious a chance to catch up before we do or say something that causes separation with those we care about.
If you recognise some challenges there and would like to navigate out of them, I invite you to make contact with me. We can have a chat and see if we can work together to find your way through to a better place.
Author Leanne Wakeling, Coach, Mentor, Facilitator email@example.com
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