Most of us confuse ego as our pride or self-esteem and therefore, miserably fail to comprehend the damage ego inflicts on us! One would be amazed to note that this is more rampant in developed societies and countries!!
I have encountered enumerable times the paradox that this very ego of people prevent them even to understand real difference between their pride and ego. Let us clear this difference first.
Ego is not what Pride or Self- esteem is!
- Pride is feeling good about Self; Ego is feeling good in comparison to others.
- Pride makes you humble; Ego makes you harsh.
- Pride brings confidence; Ego gets you arrogance.
- Pride galvanizes you to be composed; Ego excites you to be controversial.
- Pride prompts you to give credit and praises to others; Ego encourages you to take credit and self praises.
- Pride inspires you serve others; Ego entices you to serve self.
- Pride motivates you to be a good listener; Ego imposes your will on others to listen to you.
- Pride promotes inquisitiveness to learn from others; Ego instigates you to expect others to learn from you.
From above, it becomes very clear that pride or self-esteem is all about feel happy /satisfied for self, own qualities and accomplishments with no recourse to others. On other hand, all attributes in Ego are about feel good in relation to others.
So, first drop your ego for a while, if you want to understand what follows now!
Ego – a malady
Judge for yourself, what kind of leader would you be if:
- You are more interested to hear your own voice and do not encourage your people to speak.
- You impose your ideas and do not encourage others to share theirs.
- You relish being respected; but reluctant to respect others or their sentiments.
- You like to enforce your likes and dislikes, instead of giving freedom to others to choose what they like.
- You have fractured empathy for your employees.
- You show your inclination to know others’ problems; with no intention to help.
Look at what kind of team spirit would you have, if:
- You have own agenda to follow.
- You resist consensus, if it is contrary to your wishes.
- You want to swim, regardless others would sink.
- You are argumentative on what you think is right.
- You don’t want to compromise in case of conflicts.
What a spouse would you be, if:
- You want to be always pampered and served.
- You can find flaws in your partner; but get furious, if yours are picked.
- Your taste matters more.
- Your wishes should reign supreme.
- You can spend; but your spouse should save.
These are only few examples and each one of these emanates from your Ego. “Egoists or Egotists” far outnumber “People with Pride”. Ego is a very common malady with successful bosses, artists, scientists, authors, celebrities etc.
Fine dividing line between Ego and Pride
When it comes to self as opposed to others, you would have 2 set of thoughts – “what you are” say in respect of your strengths, status personality and beauty and “what other/s are” in respect to same attributes. Your mind faces 2 options – respect/accept or react for “what other/s are”. Please note that all these come up at the same time and same space of mind.
If you have pride, you would automatically go for “respect/accept”; on other hand, if you have ego, you would react instantly. Conversely, if you respect/accept, it would attract your pride; whereas your reaction would make you egoist!
The way above “thoughts occur in same space of your mind and one option is selected over the other in flick of a second” makes the dividing line between pride and ego very fine. This creates 3 scenarios:
- People, who would most of time, tend to respect.
Such people would have high self-esteem and enjoy virtues of having pride of what they are.
- People, who would most of time, are tempted to react.
This category of people would suffer from vices of their Ego, not accept that they have any deficiency and refuse to own their mistakes!
- People, who would swing between respect/accept and reaction.
This category is most predominant everywhere. They have false notion that they have no ego and hence, defend themselves vigorously.
Category 2 may improve, since it is bound to get jolts and may take a U-turn or else it would junk itself in time to come.
But, category 3 has little chance to improve, because it lives in illusion that they do not have any problem or ego! This is what you can easily figure out in your own company or family or community!! One real life example – I have observed on more than one occasion that pride and resulting congenial behavior of my colleague was held against him by his supervisors and they persistently refused to understand, since their minds were shut. They would talk about change and improvements, which was just hogwash!
To nab your Ego, you have power; practice it!
- You are entangled with everyone around you, whether you like or dislike, they are good or bad!
- “What you are” has lot to do with the “Way others are”. So, it is futile to ignore Role and Relevance of others in your life.
- Therefore, only right thing is to accept/respect the way others are.
One may argue that if others are not good, you have duty to do something to improve them. Yes; but your first duty is to accept as they are and then do what would help them, without creating hurt or hate, without any intention to impose yourself or get into visibility and benefit from same.
- Only when you have stand-alone belief on self and happily respect/accept what others are, that you nab your biggest enemy – Ego!!