Keep your ego at bay: Disadvantages of allowing ego to take over. The ego is defined as the incessant movements of clinging to an illusory notion of “me” and “mine”, me and another, and all the concepts, ideas, desires, and activities that sustain that error.
That grasping is useless from the beginning and is doomed to frustration since it lacks any basis or reality, and what we intend to grasp is by nature ungraspable. The very fact that we need to cling and continue to cling shows that deep down we know that the self has no inherent existence. From this secret and disturbing knowledge spring all our fundamental fears and insecurities.
Ego is what we think others think about us. Self-esteem is simply what we think about ourselves. You can have a big ego, but very low self-esteem (they usually interrelate), or on the contrary: high self-esteem and low ego. There are more of the second type: people who value themselves for who they are, who love and accept themselves; they know they have strengths and values: their own gifts.
And they are also aware of their shortcomings but, either they try to improve them, or they don’t ring the bag trying to endorse it on others. Therefore, a person with good self-esteem does not depend on the ego – or approval and flattery – of others to feel safe and defend their ideas or positions.
In this article, we describe the ego and let you know the disadvantages that the ego can cause in the different areas of your life if you do not learn to control it.
Keep your ego at bay: What is the ego?
The ego is, for psychology, the psychic instance through which the individual recognizes themself as “me” and is aware of their own identity. The ego, therefore, is the point of reference for physical phenomena and mediates between the reality of the external world, the ideals of the superego, and the instincts of identity (id).
For Freudian psychoanalysis, identity consists of desires and impulses. The superego, on the other hand, is formed by morality and the rules that a subject respects in society. Finally, the I (ego) is the balance that allows people to satisfy their needs within social parameters.
Although some currents reject this division of the mind into three differentiated persons, for Sigmund Freud the human personality comprises both conscious elements and unconscious impulses.
The ego, which grows with age, tries to fulfill the wishes of the id realistically and reconciling them with the demands of the superego. The self, therefore, changes with time and according to the external world.
Freud believes the ego transcends the sense of oneself to become a system of psychic functions of defense, intellectual functioning, synthesis of information, and memory, among others. The self is the first step from self-recognition to experience joy, punishment, or guilt.
Another of the many authors who have worked and studied about the self and the ego is the French psychoanalyst Jacques Lacan, who came to establish that, from his point of view, it came to be an alienation for the human being itself. And it is that the individual sees themself in their ego at all times, without forgetting either that the formation of the ego occurs at first within what would be a triangle formed by his mother, the individual themself and the object to.
What happens when you allow the ego to control your life?
The ego is a way of indicating that the person is self-centered and that everyone is circling around them. From this perspective, the others, the environment, and the interaction are just satellites that rotate on the axis of that person. In addition, traits of selfishness may appear – wanting everything for their own benefit, even if the other loses, and narcissism, the tendency to pride oneself and feel superior to others.
When a person assumes they are more important than others, this behavior becomes addictive. They begin to lose perspective of themself and others. There is a distancing produced by wanting to show how valuable they are, affirming that they are always right, and also that others validate them.
As you can imagine, this position usually appears in people who, deep down, are extremely insecure, with emotional wounds not yet healed, and that is why they want to show themselves and show others that, in appearance, they are bigger, smarter, wealthy, creative or superior. That is why they always talk about themself, despise others -except those they can use for their purposes-, and a fundamental trait of social and emotional skills disappears: empathy.
Keep your ego at bay: Effects of living attached to the ego
The ego is in essence the lack of accurate knowledge about who we really are, along with its consequence: the inexorable clinging to an improvised and patched-up image of ourselves, an inevitably chameleonic and charlatan self that does not stop constantly changing, to keep alive the fiction of their existence.
Entire lives of ignorance have led us to identify the whole of our being with the ego. We consider it is precisely the ego and its grasping that is at the root of all our suffering. Yet the ego is so compelling and has been deceiving us for so long, that the very idea of living without it terrifies us. To be egoless, it whispers to us, is to miss out on the intense adventure of being human, to be reduced to an insipid robot or a brainless vegetable.
Keep your ego at bay: How to prevent our ego from growing?
In psychoanalysis, Sigmund Freud conceived the ego as the psychic instance in which the self is recognized. The ego, in this sense, would become the instance in charge of mediating between the id and the superego, as well as controlling and balancing the instincts and the id’s needs with the ideals and aspirations of the superego in the face of the outside world.
Keep your ego at bay: How to manage our ego at work?
The key will be found in the search for balance. In thinking that no one is, by itself, better than anyone and that we can help each other. Know how to lead a team but, at the same time, listen carefully to all its members.
Controlling our tone and language will also be very positive, as we will be happy about the successes of others. Finally, we must not rule out the possibility of having details with colleagues, thus showing that we think about their well-being and ours.
Contrary to what it may seem, the ego is not always harmful at work. Commonly, the ego is known as excess self-esteem or excessive self-esteem. While it is true that it is often annoying when a co-worker or superior constantly overvalues themself, in certain doses and under some conditions, the ego at work can be positive for the company and teamwork.
In this sense, we understand the ego can be a great disadvantage personally and professionally. Still, if used in moderation, it can reinforce our personality and help us feel more confident.