Calming the ego is the most effective way to achieve personal well-being, have balanced self-esteem, be more productive and enjoy life. An unbridled and artificially elevated ego, on the other hand, is often a source of problems.
Our ego is very noisy, it imposes itself too much and often pushes us to engage in useless discussions with the sole aim of winning, whether our ideas prevail, regardless of whether we are right or not. This attitude takes away our mental balance and inner peace, although we are not always aware of it. Something that Albert Einstein also felt when he said: “the more you know, the lower your ego is. The less you know, the bigger your ego. "
“The ego is not who you really are. The ego is the image you reflect, your social mask, the role you play. That social mask thrives on approval. He wants control and stays in power because he feeds on fear, ”wrote Deepak Chopra.
Alan Watts has a similar idea of the ego: “It is a social institution, not a physical reality. The ego is simply the symbol of yourself. Just as the word "water" is a sound that symbolizes a certain liquid, but it is not, the idea of the ego represents the role you play, who you are, but it is not you as a person. "
The ego, therefore, is a construction with a strong social imprint that experiences an inexhaustible need to see itself in a positive light because it implies the roles we play in front of others. This is why we can come to confuse the ego with our authentic "me". Wayne Dyer warned us of this danger: "the ego is just an illusion, but a very powerful illusion, if you allow the ego illusion to become your identity you will not be able to know your true self".
There is no doubt that our self-awareness, self-reflection and self-control are essential to achieving the goals we have set for ourselves. But if we are not careful, those same psychological processes will turn against us because the ego will do anything to avoid looking bad, it means that it can put in place some defense mechanisms that prevent us from recognizing our mistakes and pitfalls. That we tend to ourselves.
A noisy ego, too immersed in itself, spends a lot of time defending itself and does everything necessary to reassert itself, so it is not uncommon for it to turn into an obstacle to achieving the goals we have set for ourselves. The pride and stubbornness that keep us from apologizing when we fail, for example, are the expression of that ego. And these attitudes can cause us to miss out on great opportunities or valuable people in life.
The silent ego
In recent years, a group of psychologists from the University of Northern Arizona has developed a research program called the "silent ego" based on the principles of humanistic psychology and Buddhist philosophy. They discovered something paradoxical: calming the ego is much more effective for cultivating well-being, growth, health, productivity and a balanced self-esteem that focuses only on self-improvement.
In their studies it is appreciated that a calm and silent ego really contributes to balancing the needs of the self and of others, thus breaking the dichotomy between personal needs and those of others that creates so many conflicts. A quiet ego is associated with self-transcendent values, such as universality and benevolence, as well as self-direction and fulfillment. But it has no relation to conformism.
This means that calming the ego does not mean crushing it, but just making it speak in a lower tone so that you can hear other things besides its voice and take a more balanced perspective. In fact, the quieter the ego, the stronger the ego emerges.
The main goal of calming the ego is to develop a less defensive posture, it is not about denying it but to cultivate an authentic identity that incorporates others without losing the ego, abandoning the imperative need to win in a kind of narcissistic competition .
A calm ego is synonymous with a balanced and solid self-esteem, which recognizes its limits, so it does not need to constantly resort to the defensive attitude that is activated when a weak and scared ego feels threatened. After all, we must not forget that a disproportionate ego is the shield behind which we try to protect our weaknesses.
How to calm the ego?
Psychologists Bauer and Wayment consider that in order to calm the ego it is necessary to cultivate these four things: detached consciousness, inclusive identity, change of perspective and growth mindset, which help us to develop a balanced posture that allows the ego to grow in communion. with the others
- Detached consciousness. To calm the ego it is important to develop a detached consciousness, which involves not clinging to anything, neither to circumstances nor to our thoughts or emotions. This mental detachment will allow us to see reality from a clearer and more global perspective, helping us to analyze our past reactions in a more objective way, to learn from those experiences.
- Inclusive identity. To calm the ego it is important to develop a balanced interpretation of the "I" and the "others", integrating the two apparently dichotomous worlds. This means that we need to understand other perspectives and identify with the experiences of others. It is about developing an inclusive identity in which others also contribute their grain of sand.
- Change of perspective. The ego makes us think that everything that happens to us is something personal. As a result, we take our problems too seriously and lose our sanity. Changing perspective and reflecting on other points of view different from our own, allows us to shift the attention outside the ego and get out of the vicious circle we have created.
- Growth mentality. The growth mindset is essential to calm the ego because it starts from a basic principle: we are apprentices of life. When we assume that we are continually learning, in a process of constant rebuilding, the ego is minimized because we do not give it the opportunity to grow out of all proportion by thinking it possesses the absolute truth.