The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines ego as ‘the opinion that you have about yourself.’ Based on that definition, it is safe to say that ego can be either a good thing or a bad thing. It can be a good thing, because if the opinion that you have about yourself is positive and correct, your ego can help boost your self-esteem. It can also be a bad thing, because if the opinion you have about yourself is negative and inaccurate, your ego can interfere with your happiness. But how does ego sabotage your life and prevent you from fully enjoying the things that are supposed to make you happy? Here are five ways ego can hurt your happiness.
Ego Can Paralyze You with Guilt
No power in this world can paralyze you better than guilt can. It is very effective in putting fear in your heart and stopping you right in your tracks every time you think you are rising. The trigger may be different for every person, but guilt works the same way in each of us – it reminds us of our past failures. How do you know if it’s your ego talking? Be very observant and watch out for the voice that says, “You can’t change.” or, “You will be addicted to that thing for the rest of your life.” These voices usually haunts us when we are on a mission to make a positive change in our lives, or when we attempt to try out something we have never done in the past. The ego will become even more persistent in paralyzing you with guilt if it knows the change you are trying to create will bring you joy and happiness.
Ego Can Use Insecurity Against You
We all have insecurities, but what ego does is it magnifies our greatest insecurity and use it against us. For instance, if you’d like to start a business, your ego would say things like, “You’ve tried that before and you failed.” or, “You have no experience; you’ll only end up bankrupt.” Your choice is to either listen to the lies your ego whispers to your ears, or tell the voice to leave you alone. Of course, it’s crucial to make plans and preparations when you’re out to do something big such as starting a business, but when the desire to pursue something arises and you are at peace with the decision you want to make, follow your heart no matter what your ego says. Chances are you are going to be happy with your decision and succeed on the path you choose.
Ego Can Hurt You with Self-Depreciation
Self-depreciation is the act of belittling oneself. It goes hand in hand with insecurity and is one of ego’s main weapon in robbing you of your happiness and hurting you. If you have a habit of using humor to attempt to hide your insecurities, it’s usually your ego whispering to you how ugly or fat you are, or how poor your memory is, or how such a failure you can be. One way to conquer this bad habit is to accept yourself for who you are and to realize that you are already beautiful. It may take time to master silencing the lies your ego tells you, but you’ll eventually overcome.
Ego Can Seize Your Power with Anger
You have to realize that you are a powerful human being. Sometimes, though, the energy you possess is converted into anger that hurts not only the person you are angry at, but also yourself. While anger is a natural emotional response, ego can use it to allow you to lose control of yourself. Ego does it by creating a fear inside of you, a fear of losing and an unusual need to protect yourself. This usually leads to rage or uncontrollable anger. Ego uses it to seize the power that you are supposed to use to control your thoughts and emotions. This results to broken relationships that lead to unhappiness.
Ego Can Manipulate You through Feelings of Offense
Having feelings of offense is an ego-based reaction that is usually born out of fear. It can usually lead to you being too critical and judgmental of others. The thing about having a critical spirit is that it imprisons you and lets you see only the negative side of things, so that all you do is complain about what’s going on in your life. We all know that complaining cannot solve anything, but simply makes matters worse. It also makes us bitter and unforgiving, and this, as we also know, can lead to a lot of unhappiness in life.
Ego can be a good thing, but if we don’t know how to separate the truth from the lies that our egos whisper in our ears, we can end up living a life full of unhappiness and dissatisfaction.