Wednesday, May 07, 2008

EGO - Lose It or Strengthen It?

For the first time today, I saw the term “ego strengthening”, as I was reading an article and something popped inside my mind. There are many schools of thought that encourage people to lose or diminish the ego mind. This idea has never really felt right to me (or maybe my ego’s been fighting me on it). Eckhart Tolle on Oprah’s web cast of “A New Earth” said that he “lost his ego” suggesting that this is a desirable thing to do? I’m not so sure about that. Maybe it is for him, who am I to judge? But I imagine there are people out there now having read or heard that thinking “oh – so I should be trying to lose my ego!”

What’s good for the goose isn’t necessarily good for the gander!

I’ve been playing curiously with this idea a client mentioned to me recently; “What if the opposite is true?” In the moment I’m engaged in a perspective, perhaps holding it as true, what happens when I play with “what if the opposite of this perspective is true?”
So if I hear that I need to ‘take out’ my ego in order to live a more successful and fulfilling life, what if the opposite is true? What if “strengthening my ego” is the key to my living a more successful and fulfilling life? There’s an interesting twist.

I just looked up “ego” on to find this definition: “the “I” or self of any person; a person as thinking, feeling, and willing, and distinguishing itself from the selves of others and from objects of its thought.”; philosophically; “a) the enduring and conscious element that knows experience. b) Scholasticism. the complete person comprising both body and soul.”

“Why would I want to get rid of that??”

When I accept this definition of “ego”, it makes more sense to me to work on strengthening it. If I have a strong sense of my complete self, both body and soul connected as one, I’m better positioned to create a successful and fulfilling life – by my own definition.

When the ego is weak, then an individual is more or less unconsciously creating their life experiences. We are then more easily influenced by outside sources that aren’t necessarily aligned with our own core values. If your unconscious influence is not aligned with your values, then your desires will be reflective of this (unconscious influence) and that’s when the success of achieving our goals don’t end up equating personal fulfillment.

Here is the 4 step approach that I now realize I have been unconsciously using with my clients for some time:
1. Identify and connect with your core values.
2. Ensure your “wants” are supported with a core value - the “why”.
3. Explore your ego and all of its parts. Get curious about yourself.
4. Strengthen your ego by transforming or letting go of the weaker parts of it, which includes the outer influences that are not aligned with your values and goals, and direct more focus on the parts that are aligned.

The aim is to become consciously aware who the “I” in the self is, which includes the various parts of our ego, and discover how this “I” has been directing our lives as it is. Then we can strengthen the connection between all these aspects of ourselves so they work together more cohesively. With a stronger and aligned sense of self (ego), I can better position my self with the collective of the whole which I am also apart of, and be a more supportive influencer of it.

What would it be like to have large groups of people with strong egos, all working together in a conscious manner for the good of the whole they are one with? What is possible then?

This is what is happening in the world today. As a result of having been under the influence of certain individuals stronger egos over the past decades (politicians, religious figure heads, guru’s), more and more people are now strengthening their own egos by getting in touch with who they really are and what is truly important to them.

Of course, if this can be true, then the opposite can as well. As Tolle feels he’s done, by losing the ego (that has been negatively influenced) one realizes their connection to the whole, recognizing the power that truly is within, empowering themselves to create successful and fulfilling lives.

So it is all good!

© 2008 All Rights Reserved Kim Barnwell