How To Recognize my Ego And Become Truly Happy?

You probably heard it before. Ego is one of the main reasons we can’t reach our full potential. Why is that?

Ego’s main job is to keep us safe. This originates from ancient times when there was real danger lurking all over the place. Ego’s job back then was to keep us from harm ways so we didn’t do careless stuff like provoking a sabertooth tiger. Or walking into a bear’s den, which would probably end with our certain death. The responses to these kinds of dangers had to be severe, so ego kept us in check with the help of fear and our reptile brain. In case of danger, it shut down our brain by injecting fear into our veins which got us to run away from it.

On other occasions, it filled us with adrenaline to get us into the fighting mode, when it calculated, that we might take down the enemy. The third option was to freeze and present zero danger to the attacker so it wouldn’t consider us a threat and left us alone.

Human and Sabertooth tiger

New era old programs

In the modern era, we don’t have encounters with deadly beasts anymore. But we still get the same signals from our brain and body as we did in the past. We are programmed to sense danger in everyday life and the ego’s job is to avoid it. Running away from everyday problems, physically attacking our adversary, or freezing in the middle of a presentation aren’t the responses we want, but we get them because of our ego. All of these responses are accompanied by fear, which is in many cases unnecessary. Why are we like this? Why are we afraid of public speaking or afraid of telling someone we think their opinion is wrong?

We start programing our ego while we are very young with interacting with others. Like a computer, our young mind starts to test other people’s responses to our behavior. When we say something that others don’t like, our ego goes: “Let’s not do this again.”. When we get a great response from our audience ego’s response is: “We should do this more often”. The problem arises when we stop doing something because of a few bad responses.

Many of us are often taught by our parents, that we have a fixed mindset. This means that we are either smart, or we are not. We are not taught that we can develop our intelligence or talent. When our parents praise our intelligence when we are younger, they are actually doing us disfavor. We start to think of our intelligence as a part of our character instead of a skill that we can develop. Later this transfers to other areas as well. We convince ourselves that we are bad at something, and can never get good at it because we simply lack the talent.

One bad experience leads to another

Let me give you an example. We have our first presentation in primary school and we didn’t prepare well. Soon after the beginning of our presentation, we get confused and forget what we were supposed to say. Other kids from the class see this and start to laugh at us. The teacher gives us a bad grade and our disbelief begins. When we see our classmates who prepared for the task properly and deliver the presentation with greater confidence than us, we start to feel incompetent. When the next presentation comes, we already feel the fear, because our ego remembered our last experience and is already expecting a bad outcome.

This fear and our lack of understanding of our mind then sabotage our presentation again the next time. Maybe it gives us a so-called “blackout”. This time, we spent a lot of time learning, but fear kicks in and we don’t know how to handle it. Our reptilian brain goes to freeze mode and we can’t remember anything at all. Our ego has taken the wheel completely and it is handling the situation horribly. We leave the stage in shame and decide that we will avoid such exposures as much as possible. Our fear of public speaking has grown to something we can’t handle. Now we are sure, that public speaking just isn’t in our nature.

Later in life, it makes us nervous if we just think of us standing in front of a huge crowd. This fear is now a part of us and there are no quick tips or tricks that can change that.

We can change!

How do we overcome such fears?

The first thing that we should do is learn to recognize our ego and find a way to overcome our automatic responses to imaginary “danger”. We must feel excitement instead of anxiety. How can we do that? By taking control of our mind and body. Fear(False evidence appearing real) is our body’s response to uncomfortable circumstances and with the right training, we can easily overcome our body’s impulses.


Man and ego

By implementing the right habits we can make our minds stronger than we ever imagined. We can start attacking our fears and take complete control of our ego. We can do that by realizing that public exposure isn’t a real danger but only a response to an unfortunate series of events in our youth. I know, it sounds way too easy, but it is just a bad habit we developed over the years.

With practical psychology, we can train our minds and fix the automatic responses we get when in situations out of our comfort zone. We can change nervousness into excitement, fear into courage, and shame into pride. We can stop hiding our vulnerabilities, recognize them, and eventually overcome them.

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