How a Big Invisible Ego Thrives on Anxiety
Growing up I was riddled with social anxiety and never confident or sure of myself.
But, unknowingly I had a huge ego. Maybe I still do, and answering that question honestly for yourself is very telling of how big or small your ego might be…
We often think having a big ego means you’re loud or overly confident or arrogant.
Not true. This can actually be completely false.
Having a big ego means you think you're always right.
Having a big ego means you think the world is to blame.
Having a big ego means you think everything else has to change, but not you.
Having a big ego means you’re always thinking about yourself, yourself, and yourself again, positive or negative.
I’m not writing this article to insult you or even call you out. That’s your job.
Personally, I realized I had an ego and separated myself from it in 2015 when I was actually suicidal, depressed, and saw how terrible life can get if you listen to your ego.
All I can do is share some information, insights, research and get you to think outside of your bubble and more into the real world; where our potential lies.
A theory coined as Ego anxiety from researcher Albert Ellis wrote on this topic in a 2003 journal article called “A new cognitive-behavioral construct (part I). Journal of Rational-Emotive & Cognitive-Behavior Therapy”
Ego anxiety is defined as emotional tension that results when people feel:
1. that their self or personal worth is threatened,
2. that they should or must perform well and/or be approved by others
3. that it is awful or catastrophic when they don’t perform well and/or are not approved by others as supposedly should or must be.
How Does This Happen?
Your ego is primarily used as armor.
It’s a defense mechanism. It’s because you’ve been attacked for so long.
What happens when you get attacked over and over again?
You develop mechanisms, micro-actions, and coping tools to go through life to not be completely destroyed and degraded by other people.
Whether it’s an effective armor or not, a big ego can also make the world seem dark, and cold, and alone and quiet frankly as someone who’s been there; miserable.
I’m no saint.
I still have an ego.
We all do, it’s impossible to get rid of in the long-term.
Whenever I meet someone and a part of me notices they may have a big ego… I get curious. First, I think, am I projecting my own ego or am I present to what’s unfolding in front of me right now?
I start to wonder what had to have happened in this person’s life to be the way they are… They probably had a relentless abusive father or even a mentally stressed mother who took out her issues & anxiety on them.
And then I start to realize they are projecting this armor, this protection on me.
The same exact way a pufferfish or a porcupine makes itself bigger and sticks its needles out. It’s getting ready to defend itself just in case of anything.
When you realize someone is in the situation and subtly and purposely send them signals that you will not attack them or take what they told you and weaponize it…
In some cases, you can actually see someone’s ego calm down, deflate, and the real conscious individual emerges with creativity, openness, love, and freely communicating.
What Can You Do to Disarm Your Ego?
1. Create More Psychological Security
The more psychological security you create, the less your ego will impact you. You start to build a sense of psychological safety from focusing on getting adequate nutrition from food, water, warmth, rest from a deep sleep, intimate relationships, friends, and a sense of feeling of accomplishment and worth for who you are as a person.
2. Create Humbling Habits
Mindfulness meditation or an intense workout at the gym are examples of humbling habits. Why? These habits force you to be in the present moment. Whether it’s 10 minutes or 45 minutes, anything helps. When you are in the present moment, your ego doesn’t exist, and will act as a break from your “inner critic.”
3. Regularly Starve Your Ego
Personally, when I notice my ego is getting too big I go outside and enjoy nature. I’m not talking about a walk around my neighborhood. I’m saying you really need to get out of the environment you’re used to and step into a completely new space that propels you to think about nothing but the vastness of nature and the universe.
When you see a huge mountain or a beautiful flowing river…you become completely immersed in another universe, outside of your own. Each time you experience this, your ego can “reset” and not be as hyperactive.
In some cases what you may even realize is…
“A bad day for your ego is a great day for your soul.”
If you made it this far in the article, please let me know your thoughts, feedback, etc by responding directly to this email and I’ll get back to you shortly.
💬 I am opening my calendar right now to work with 1 more person 1-on-1 on an ongoing basis to manage anxiety and heal your mind more effectively.
Interested? Schedule a free call with me to see if it’s right for you or not :)