The concept of ego is typically associated with being bigheaded and proud, but it is really just a mask.
For instance, if someone is driving a cool sports car, they want you to pay attention to the vehicle rather than themselves.
Your ego comes from your mind’s fight, flight or freeze response. Its main job is to keep you safe, but sometimes, it comes from a place of fear.
The man driving the sports car may be fearful of people seeing him inside the vehicle as he probably thinks they won’t like him but get impressed by his expensive, shiny car.
If we can understand and recognise the needs of the ego in our thoughts and actions, we can start to do something about them.
If we are in a place of fear, it would be a welcome change to move to a place of safety.
As a Leader it is critical for us to be able to calibrate ourselves and others and to recognise when the fear level is high, because we will see the needs of the Ego starting to show.
Doing the inner work can help us recognise egotistical behaviour in other people. Even more, understanding Human Behaviour, of which the Ego is just one area, will help us to be a better Leader.
Here are 6 interesting needs of the ego.
Need to Know
We like to know many things, often including those that do not concern us. If this happens, you know you are coming from a place of ego.
A simple example is when news stations broadcast scandals and other gossip.
They do this because it appeals to people’s ego and makes them think how they are “too good” to ever do what a certain celebrity did.
During conversations with people, you can easily detect whether someone is being egotistical.
For instance, if you are asked something, respond by questioning why they need to know and quickly add that you are just curious.
If the person quickly answers, it is just a genuine question..... but if they hesitate, then you know they are coming from a place of ego..... their ego wants to know more than they really need to know.
Need to Justify
We come from a place of fear when we feel we are being judged.
For instance, if you are late, you will apologise and give an excuse right away, basically the excuse is given immediately as a way of appealing to the other persons better judgement to excuse you and therefore not judge you.
Justifying is an example of fear-based behaviour.
A better response would simply be something like, “I’m sorry I’m late. It won’t happen again.”
Need to Judge
To keep ourselves safe, we need to make several judgements in our daily lives.
For example, while driving a car, you need to judge distance and speed.
However, when we judge others, it is usually a fear-based response.
For instance, you see an overweight person at a fast food outlet and think wonder what they were doing there, but the truth is they are there for the same reason you are.
We can monitor our judgmental behaviour by putting ourselves on judgment watch.
Simply give yourself a time window, say, an hour, and catch yourself whenever you find yourself judging someone.
This will help you gauge your ego and help you move away from fear and towards acceptance.
Need to be Right
This is the fear of being judge when we are wrong.
Nobody risks coming across as fake or fraud.
Know that it is okay to be wrong.
We fear being wrong because we are scared of disconnected.
Humans want to belong to a group by nature, and do not want to say or do anything that would tarnish their image.
Understand that you don’t have to be right all the time.
If you always appear to be right, you may come across as a know-it-all, which would lead to disconnect anyway.
Need to Look Good
The need to look good comes from the wish to fit in.
For example, even if you are visiting a new city where no one knows you, you feel the need to keep your appearance in check when you are going out in public.
People fear looking odd because they don’t want to be judged. In this case, ego arises from the fear of not being able to belong.
Need to Get Even
Often when we have been wronged, we want somebody else to be wrong as well.
Some people strongly believe in karma and think that if someone did something wrong to them, they will eventually suffer.
Look at the bigger picture and realise that life is a series of ups and downs.
When we see karma coming at someone, it is actually a moment when they are down in a dip while you are on your little hill.
Believing in karma is simply a fear-based behaviour to make us feel good about ourselves.
Most of the time when we come from a place of ego, it is fear-based behaviour because we feel are not enough.
We should not completely eliminate ego from our behaviour because it is essential in keeping us alive.
There is simply a need to be more aware and make fine adjustments to move from fear and judgement to love and acceptance.
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