It was hard, but letting go of my ego changed my whole approach to life.
The first time I remember having an ego battle was at School. Primary School. I was 10 at the time and my Dad had just started contacting me again and visiting from time to time. This filled me with joy because now I had my Dad back in my life again. No longer was I to be seen as the outcast kid with the no father syndrome. It was unusual back then. Unusual to only have one parent. And hard. God knows how Mum survived 19 years of me! I know how adults judge single mothers now so I doubt I could imagine how it was for women back then.
I angrily eyed him across the classroom. I was never one for misbehaving in class but there was something deep inside me that wanted to win this battle. I shouted across the classroom to my enemy with whom I had been fighting with for most of the morning, “Well, my Dad is rich and high up in the nuclear industry. Your Dad is just a wee no-one pleb. Who is your Dad again? I can’t remember. I don’t think anyone can. No-one has heard of him.”
Kids don’t understand how much words hurt us. Their effect on our mentality and the length of time we can hold these words close. It frightens me. I held something my Mum said to me for twenty years close to me and it hurt like a burning pit of unhappiness until I finally talked to her about it and let go. She couldn’t remember saying it. Of course she wouldn’t as a parent. You say things and don’t really think about it. I always encourage Alex to speak his mind. Some of the things I’ve said in my youth to people I still feel guilty about today.
As the bell rung we all charged outside as children in a school would. The thirst for the outdoors and being unshackled to the pain of having a history lesson seemed somewhat potent to us. Us we rampaged outside like a football stadium emptying their grounds after a derby game some of my friends grabbed hold of my enemy. Kept him there in a lock for me to pounce on him. We were both angry. Both hurting inside that both of our fathers in some fashion had been absent in our lives. We blamed ourselves fully, but we weren’t mature enough yet to understand the anger and hatred that lived inside our bellies and it was thrust forth onto people that we disliked.
He managed to break free from my friends and as he was passing me gave me an almighty kick in the stomach. He then went in sobbing to tell the teachers. It wasn’t fair on him. Wasn’t fair that I was taking my anger out on him. In his eyes HE was the one true victim here. In essence we were both victims. Both victims of a game played on a higher level between two adults that didn’t understand the effects their issues were having on their children.
That was an old story. I was 10 then but it was definitely relevant. The pain that giving in to your ego causes can sometimes be horrible. I’ve recently viewed my male ego as an internal fragile little feather. It won’t break, but the breath of air from a few words to you can send it flying soaring in the air or hurtling down to the ground with a thud. That is, if you listen to your ego all the time.
I have for most of my life been in some of the most pointless arguments I’ve ever had because someone has said something that I’ve disliked. There was the time I argued with my friend over a computer processor for the better half of a day because I didn’t think it was better than the one I had. And I’ve seen myself miss out on really nice days away because I’ve been too angry and hurt to make friendly friendly.
There have been times when I’ve managed to get myself into fights because “he said this, and she said that” or because someone did something that I wasn’t in agreement with. Then there’s other things like religion, science and the arts that I’m regularly discussing yet can’t come to an agreement because my big ego gets in the damn way.
What would happen say, if I decided to let all of that go? How easier would my life have been if someone called me fat, or that they didn’t like that I smoked or that my Dad was a wanker and I could have just said, “Sorry” or something similar and walked away? Removed myself from the situation entirely? Some of you may read this and think this is an impossibility, but think of this:
If you were to let all of that wash over you like water from a ducks back how easier would your day be? Instead of fighting with some random dude over the internet wouldn’t it be more fun and so much simpler to do something exiting with your day? You could be getting stuck into something really exciting at work, or you could be out taking some lovely photos, or writing your life story, or planning your next trip to Mexico. SO much to do, yet wasted on arguing and bitching and fighting and making life impossibly hard.
Think of the story I told you at the beginning. What if that boy and I had came together and discussed family issues instead of taking our hate out on one another? Instead of arguing constantly and being an eternal enemy we could have connected. We could have sat there and chilled. Embraced each other for the shit lives that we had instead of trying to be better than one another. Life just isn’t at all about being the best. Perhaps my family shouldn’t have raised me so competitively?
It’s why when I can see someone becoming egotistic, or their ego’s flaring right up in the attacking position, I change roles. I sit there with my masseuse’s towel ready to massage that ego. Ready to agree, and to compliment and to massage. Because then that action settles them back down again. It opens the person up into a receiving position. It enables them. And then we find common ground.
I don’t do negativity any more and I let people judge me in the way that they see fit. Who cares if Joe Bloggs doesn’t agree with me on x, y and z. I’m absolutely sure we will agree on more things than what we don’t. Most people, if not all, want to feel like they are good people. And I expect they are. That’s why I don’t do ego any more. Ego gets me into a lot of trouble. I usually keep ego locked away for night time when I’m speaking to my nearest and dearest. She is able to massage the bruises away from the day if there are any at all.
This article was originally published on The Relationship Blogger.