“Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I am changing myself.” – Rumi
If you have reached this level of actualization, what’s you’re secret!?! Seriously, I want to know! Honestly, I’ll always be working on enlightenment. And if you care about what I am tackling currently, read on. If not, stop here. Anyway, the other day I was trying to figure out what causes my backslides (let’s face it, we all have them). I realized personal growth is not simply about mindset, but about how Ego fucks it up.
Ego has no place in the world of relationships of any sort, let alone marriages and online dating. You are going to be ghosted, bullied, clung to, used and sometimes loved if only for awhile. If you’re lucky, you may meet a few nice people who feel your openness, honesty and ability to “BE”, refreshing. Ahh, then Ego creeps in and suddenly they aren’t ready for you. Which translates to “I’m not used to someone being open and honest with me and calling me out on my crap without worrying if I’ll call them the next day,” which leads you to question your existence, again. Because…Ego. I’ve probably been on more first dates in the last 12 months than the whole of my adult life. It’s really good practice for the stuff I’m spewing here. Maybe that’s the lesson. If you think back, no one really taught us how to fight or love without Ego or expectation. But I’m convinced there needs to be mandatory classes in it.
Ego isn’t “bad,” rather I like to think of it as a misguided force. Unfortunately, most of us believe we “are” our Egos, rather than recognizing a deeper, more substantial aspect of our beings. Ego is the part of us that gets jealous, possessive, anxious, judgmental, fearful and self-conscious. Generally very negative emotions. But truly, the Ego wants to protect us, but it manages to do so in unhealthy, often painful drastic ways. What we really are, is LOVE. We are here to love and be loved. However, we have allowed our Egos to define what that means, instead of our souls. Our Ego gets hold of the concept and turns it into a need rather than just being love. Through the Ego filter, the essence of being loved turns into the Ego’s need for approval. When we think we need love, we stupidly turn into energy vampires and suck approval out of everyone we meet in order to fill that need. Through the Ego filter, the essence of being love and loving turns into a need for control. When we are ruled by Ego we sometimes try to change everyone around us so that we can fulfill that need and ironically, we tend to attract partners with a the opposite need. Hello dysfunction!
Consider magnets with two polarized ends. If you put them together positive to positive, they’ll repel. Positive to negative they’ll attract. However, if left in close proximity, the magnetic pull will cause one magnet to flip around in order to attract to the other. Our Egos are a bit like this. One end of the “ego-magnet” is the need for approval and the other is the need for control. We all have both, but we tend to lead in our relationships with one or the other and we tend to attract the opposite or evoke the opposite in others. A person with a strong need for approval will attract another’s need for control and vice versa Then we hook up in relationships that are, ultimately, an Ego dance which doesn’t serve anyone.
We have no control over anyone…try as we might and that’s how we get hurt. It’s also impossible to get true approval when we are not being outselves and instead put on a facade to try to get someone’s approval. Interestingly, those who have dared to live fully, who have dared to follow their dreams and allowed themselves to love without Ego in the lead, have more from which to grow on. From a life well lived, there is a lot from which we can mature into the wisdom Rumi was speaking of. Pretty fracking enlightened for a 13th century guy.
Are you living fully? And if you’re not, why not?
At times we all come to a crossroad. It should never be seen as an impasse, but a point from which we can go deep, reflect, complete unfinished business, grow and further our state of transformation. This may happen at several points in our lives. This may involve a change of career, end of a relationship, children leaving home, a new relationship, recovery of illness, the onset of disease, or when grieving a death. Many people go off looking for themselves in far off places. The top of a distant mountain, a deep forest, a retreat or Wausau. When in fact all they needed apart from a great travel experience (because honestly we all need those) is to come out of everyday distractions and simply allow themselves to BE and not necessarily BE doing something.
Distraction is fine and meditation is wonderful and I wouldn’t be who I am today without it, but it is important to remember that we have been born into this body and this life here on the planet, for a purpose. One of our tasks is to find that purpose, though it may have many spokes. So escaping our body and the rudiments of everyday living is perhaps not really the point here. Rather we should live in an enjoyable way and make the most of what we create at present and connect, rather than continually seeking to escape it.
Perhaps the best way to live our life is to make it ‘heaven’ now, by coming to peace with yourself and learn to enjoy what is available to you, while simultaneously creating what you would like to experience without Ego. Without seeking approval. In becoming more clear about who you are, it’s necessary to acknowledge and come to peace with where you came from. This requires humility and compassion and letting go of the Ego; though many of us may not be ready for this level of growth. While most seek personal development to help with motivation, goals and achievement, soul development leads to deep connection that can open the door to peace of mind, acceptance, love, and helps us see the patterns that we create repeatedly in our lives. Taking Ego out of the equation allows for presence and peace.
Whenever you find yourself in conflict with someone else, while remembering who you really are, observe yourself and notice what you are feeling. Notice whether you are experiencing a need for approval or control. To be present you need to take a step back, take a deep breath and let that shit go. Instead return to who you really are, full of love and compassion. Amazingly, we are able to suddenly accept others and allow them their own choices and consequences on their life’s journey.
If you are always wondering if you are doing it right (or wrong), and are concerned about what people think, stop. It’s really your Ego exhibiting a need for approval. Remember, the Ego’s neediness blocks your ability to BE. So my friends, family, anyone who soaks up my enlightened bullshit, take a deep breath and let go.