Ugh. I despise that word.
In many circles, it means the bit of you that gets too big for its britches. The one that boasts, brags or feels entitled.
And don’t tell me you don’t have that bit. We all do. We all make asses of ourselves occasionally. Even you, my angel.
Ego is also our saboteur.
Not familiar with that side of ego? Betcha’ are, even if you don’t know it.
I recently wrote about joy in my life. Joy after a long hiatus from it. Joy that I don’t want to share, don’t want to explain, don’t want to analyze. Just want to feel when it alights on my shoulder.
Joy scares ego. Because when we are joyful, we begin to glow with that inner light. Dream big dreams.
Ego takes a distant backseat when joy visits. And when has ego ever liked the backseat?
So I find that when joy makes a house call, my ego cannot sit quietly and listen to the conversation. She begins to needle me.
“This (fill in the blank) is so foolish. You’re going to get hurt/be broken/be made to look foolish/fall flat on your face/make the same mistakes you did last time.”
She tells me not to take a chance because it hurts when chances do not pan out or pay off.
She tells me I’m not wise enough/beautiful enough/strong enough/grounded enough.
Ego is such a Biyatch. I’d prefer to sit her sorry tush by the side of the road somewhere, banishing her from the backseat from here through eternity.
What she does not know is that the still, small voice that has always been inside me—the one that let her have the floor for years—has a whisper stronger than any megaphone ego uses to make her voice heard from the backseat.
And, with this whisper, that voice and I clue ego in on a few things.
First, the past few years have changed me. Immensely. I am tempered steel, in a way ego will never be because she is untested. Always untested. Too scared to take a real chance equals too small to play for real stakes. I’m playing for real stakes now.
Second, yes it hurts when things do not pan out. Damn straight it hurts. Tell me something I do not know and have not experienced, ego. I’ll take hurt over numbness any day of the week.
Those are earned things. This is how I know them in my soul:
I am wise enough to know every single tough thing I have braved has finally convinced me that deserting myself is not an option—ever—even when I am deserted or disappointed by those I love. I. Am. Staying. By. My. Own. Side. Always.
I am beautiful enough to have earned these fine lines, these child-bearing hips that accommodated two beautiful bouncing baby boys, a mischievous belly laugh that only comes from years of experience and experiences (yes, two very different things), a look in my eye that says I’ve lived and after all, isn’t all of that pretty beautiful? At least to the trained eye?
I am strong enough to have been brought to my knees more times than I can count. Strong enough to know I never do any of this thing called Life by myself. A power much higher than me leads me. Strong enough to have broken—completely—and been rebuilt.
I am grounded enough to know that I will survive whatever comes my way. That joy and sorrow are passing, even if each sits in my marrow.
It’s not perfect. Any of it. I don’t want to pretend that I’ve weathered some big storm and now am enlightened beyond belief.
But I do know this. Ego making me doubt myself, my convictions, my adventures, my beliefs is something I am far from alone in—each of you has had the same experience. Some of you may have mastered it long before I did. Others may be just starting to discern the havoc ego wreaks in your own life.
And if I can hear my soul’s whisper above ego’s raucous wail, you can.
My most recent words to her? “Not today, ego. No. You are not welcome today. I may not be able to guarantee that I will not let you slip in the door in the future, on a weaker day. But today is not that. I am about to go with my joy into the next moment, the next hour. Perhaps to make an ass of myself. Perhaps not. But either way, you cannot take this joy from me. Not now. Not ever. This moment, this hour, this day, is mine.”
Say it with me now, people. Come on.
Sayonara, inner demons.
We don’t have time for you today.