December 5. “Our ego is our silent partner – too often with a controlling interest.” (Cullen Hightower)
Ego has a very basic definition of being my self-esteem, or my sense of self-importance. I am not a psychologist (nor did I sleep at a Holiday Inn last night, nor do I play a psychologist on TV), so I am no expert on the subject of ego. I can only talk about what I know about my own.
For me, the ego is my own self-image. When that self-image is a healthy one, I tend to do the right things in life. I work hard, play well in the sandbox, and am quite effective. But when that image is out of whack, it can get me into trouble.
If my self-image is low, if I am suffering from problems with my self-esteem, I tend to value myself less. Because I don’t value myself properly, I lose effectiveness. I can become disrespectful of those around me, because my respect for myself has waned. I can become withdrawn at times, or worse, I can become difficult to deal with.
If my self-image is too high, then I run the danger of starting to think I am more important than I really am. I start to think that my thinking and actions are above reproach, and above the scrutiny of others. I might be very effective in the short term, but I usually leave figurative bodies in my wake.
This quote refers to the ego as a silent partner, and I think there is merit in that description from my experience. Rarely has my inner self tapped me on the shoulder and said “hey buddy, we are a bit off kilter here. Just wanted to let you know that I’m going to arouse some mayhem.” No that isn’t how it works. It usually takes me reflecting on what I’ve been doing to get a handle on what might be wrong.
Today my reflection is on my reflections. This year I have spent a lot of time thinking about who I am, and how I work in the world. It’s come out in this blog, in my Journey toward better health, in my actions at work, and in how I conduct myself with my family and friends. I am far from perfect, and will never be perfect. I will always have my human faults, and I will always be a work in progress. This year, though, I have done more thinking about who I am, and how to keep myself moving in the directions I want to go than at almost any other time in my life. And you know what? It feels pretty good. I have had my share of missteps this year, but I think I have handled them better because I have been more reflective.