Three Ways Ego Sabotages Your Growth

Are you where you want to be, doing what you want to do? In other words, are you content with your life? Do you feel fulfilled and fully present? Are you the hero of your own life?

Granted you may be tired, exhausted even, but when you go to sleep at night are you able to congratulate yourself on a day well spent, at least most of the time? Sometimes? Or do you fall asleep planning a new venture, or thinking about an ambiguous point in your future when you will…well, maybe you aren’t quite sure, but something will be different.

Or maybe you are sure. Maybe you know exactly what you want to do instead of what you are doing, and you fully plan to – someday. Or perhaps you feel that you are exactly where you are meant to be, moving along your path, but quaking in the boots you wear as you walk along.

The angels whisper to us, they provide us with inspiration, passion even, to help us find our path, and synchronicities to assist us with staying on it while we move forward in our lives. The ego, on the other hand fights for control. It prefers that we move away from the path that leads us back to ourselves and away from ego, away from its control.

Here are a few of the tactics that ego uses to control your process:

The ego preys on your sense of inadequacy and uses self-deprecation to further its agenda. It is masterful at knowing your weak points and using them as gaps to flow into your psyche in order to remind you that you are not smart enough to go back to school, or that you don’t have the financial wherewithal to start that business, or that public speaking is terrifying.

The ego voice engages you in self-talk that is typically negative in nature. It tells you that you don’t have a “math brain”, so there is no way you could master the accounting classes necessary to successfully run a small business; that in order to compete for that position you’d have to first lose thirty pounds, at least; that you’re not an artist, so taking a painting class it just too frightening. The ego-voice is commonly confused with that of your own voice.

Another way ego sabotages you is by using the S-word against you. SELFISH! That is, your ego voice will not only tell you that you are being selfish, but it will do its best to convince you. Most of us were taught as children that selfishness is not an admirable trait, which is true. But somewhere along the way the line between self-care and/or personal growth, and selfishness became blurred. Most of us (especially women) believe that self-focus and taking care of oneself is synonymous with “selfishness”. Your ego-voice will often be only the first of several voices to let you know that you are being selfish. This occurs in anticipation of being asked by those you are the closest to, “What about me?” “What about the kids, (your job,) (the mortgage)?” Because you know you will be, right? These are the questions you ask yourself before anyone else does. Only it’s not you asking, it’s ego.

Following the initial assault of the ego-voice, you have the terrain of the egos of others to navigate. The opinion of selfishness, born of the fear and insecurity of the other, is frequently posited without pretense and with much emotion as in, “You can’t be serious. You’re being so selfish!” Or, “You’re only thinking of yourself!” AND THEN, “What about…” Ego loves that. Now it can say, “Told you so.”

A third mechanism is guilt. Guilt has got to be one of the most motivating (read paralyzing) of all of the emotions we experience, and ego counts on that. Growth creates change. It’s inevitable. (Imagine a comic strip; one person speaking to another saying, “I just wish change didn’t have to be so different.” Not funny perhaps, but so true.) When your personal growth bumps into the life of another person something in that person’s life changes and when that change is met with resistance guilt is the outcome. Resistance can take many forms – anger, sadness, jealousy to name a few, but at its most basic level resistance is fear. And fear is the voice of ego. It’s a circle. It’s a trap, an ego trap.

So how do you find your path, or continue to move forward in your life? How do you avoid being sabotaged by that ever-ready ego? How do you know the ego voice from that of your own?

  • You take the time to practice quieting the chattering voice in your head in order to hear the softer, quieter voice of your heart. Your angels speak from your heart, not your head.
  • You take the time to feel your emotions. Ego-based emotions are fear-based and destructive. Angel whispers are compelling, inspiring, light-hearted. They lift you up and carry you forward.
  • You silence negative self-talk and walk away from negative input from others.
  • You listen for angel whispers and watch for the synchronicities that will lead you to, or propel you forward on your path.

How does your ego-voice influence your growth?

Angel Energy

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The angels want you to know that we are always with you and are always watching over you. We never forget about you or leave you on your own…    – Journey From Ego

When one invites the angels in, life is blessed by their energy. They are always near and available to assist us in our daily life, but are able to do this only when their assistance is requested.

There is no single manner in which people will appreciate, or recognize the presence of angels. This is a personal matter and the angels will make their presence known in a manner that will be noted by each individual. For example, if a person notices or collects feathers, a feather might be found in a wholly unexpected location. Or if one is very interested in music, a song lyric may suddenly carry a new meaning, that is, it may be interpreted in a new or different way than previously. Likewise, a person who reads a great deal may come across a message in print. There is no limit to the ways in which the angels make their presence known to us. These simple examples, a feather, something unusual out of place where there is normally order, a word, a number that begins to appear frequently, are typically the initial signs that angel magic is beginning to occur in one’s life; even an unsolicited comment from a stranger.

Just as there is no single method used by angels for making their presence known to us, there is also not a specific way of inviting them into our lives or of conversing with them. “Please become a guiding presence in my life. Thank you,” will do. Or, “I ask the angels to bless my life with your presence. Thank you.” That’s it. Soon you will begin to experience angel prints.

One simple way of inviting the angels in is to request assistance with finding a “lost” item. A clear request is all that is required. “Please help me locate my/the _________. “ A time span can also be added if it is important, as in, “I really need to use it tomorrow.” And always remember to say thank you. “Please help me locate my/the _________, I really need to use it tomorrow. Thank you.” Leave this with the angels and know that it has been taken care of.

The exact manner in which an item will be recovered also varies. Sometimes when I’m looking for something in my home I will make a request and then just pause for a moment – and then act upon the first thing that comes to mind. Often I find the item where I’ve been led. But not always. Sometimes I send up a request and I get no impulse at all. When that occurs I stop looking and go on about my day. Usually within a day or two I run across the missing item in a random place, or it just seems to appear out of nowhere.

A friend told me recently that she’d lost one of a recently purchased pair of earrings, which she’d worn only a couple of times. Although she’d searched her house it was nowhere to be found so she asked the angels for help. As she was driving home after work the next day she had a sudden thought. She wondered if it might have fallen off as she was grocery shopping. She stopped at the store and asked if anyone had found an earring “like this one” as she held it out to the clerk. The clerk told her, “Oh we’ve had that here for a couple of weeks. We were hoping that someone would come back for it.” One could argue that this was simple logic, but in my experience it’s a clear example of angel magic.

When one begins to notice “angel signs” the question of how to respond, what to do next, is raised. The answer is, do nothing. There is nothing in this instance that needs to be done. Just keep noticing. The more you look, the more you will see.

Please share your experiences with angel magic in “comments”.

Practice

Avoiding the affects of the ego is similar to avoiding the wrong foods. The more you are aware of it and able to avoid it, the greater its presence will become…Practice noticing the perspective of fear before the action or reaction, and practice changing it to one of love.  – Journey From Ego

Do you believe you get what you ask for? I do. That’s why I recommend, when making a request of the universe, or of your angels, or of whatever God you pray to, that you be specific in your request. I do not recommend asking for patience, for example. Rather I’d suggest requesting patience in a particular situation, or with a particular person in a specific situation, on this day, at this time and at this place, etc. In my opinion one cannot be too specific with a request such as one for the attitude of patience. Lack of specificity in this respect lands me in a traffic jam, or on hold with Century Link for who knows how long.

I am well aware of this rule, and yet… I wanted to write a blog post, and boy was I blocked. So on my drive to work a few days ago I threw up a request to whom ever was listening. Please give me something to work with here. How’s that for non-specific?

Without going into detail let me say that the very same day I reacted to a situation in a manner that I instantly regretted. I was up close and personal with my ego in less time than it takes a heart to beat. I did not take a breath as is recommended in order to avoid these ego-traps. I did not pause. I reacted. BLAM! I upset someone. I apologized – several times in fact – but I couldn’t undo what I’d done.

A friend told me recently that the intent behind an action is more important than the action itself. I believe she was referring to something that Pema Chodron had said, and since Pema Chodron knows what she’s talking about I did my best to hold myself in that thought. I most definitely had not set out to intentionally trigger another person’s defenses, but the truth is I spent days feeling awful about my knee-jerk reaction. My heart hurt, my gut hurt.

As pausing in retrospect is better than not pausing at all, I did so several times. I sat down and took time to breath, to ground myself, to let the hurt drift through and away from me. I sat in that moment of instantaneous response to the situation I’d been in. What I learned was that what concerned me most was not my action, but the manner in which my action had upset the other person involved. Did I really believe my response was so very wrong? Actually, no. I will own that I over reacted, but that didn’t make my action wrong. I believe my response to the given situation was the right one. Should I have paused? Yep.

As a child I was not allowed to express anger, while the adults around me engaged in excessive angry discourse. I was disciplined for it and frightened by it. I became an adult who is fairly skilled at avoiding conflict, but that only goes just so far. I became an adult who is nearly as frightened by the anger and upset of others as I was when I was five. Those old tapes don’t just run out, they rewind and play all through our lives.

As an adult I have a choice. I can continue to run the old tapes, discipline myself for my perceived bad behavior, or I can practice compassion for the small child within while I stand firm in my convictions and my truth. I can listen to the voice of my ego telling me stories about what I did wrong, how embarrassing my behavior was, how I should have handled myself. Or I can hold myself in love and listen to my heart. My heart tells me that I’m human, far from perfect, but essentially a giving, loving person who intends to do the right thing. I am here to practice. I’m not what my ego insists. I am my soul, a holy point of light, as are each of you.

Bruises

Ego will interfere in your process in order to move you away from love. It will try to convince you, through negative self-talk, of many things. You will have to learn to be vigilant about the self-talk in which you engage. If it is not positive and loving, it is from ego, and you must stop the flow.   -Journey From Ego,

 I read an essay written by one of my favorite authors a couple of days ago that made me smile at her use of words and touched my heart like a finger gently probing an old bruise. This particular essay led me to a website that was new to me where I read a post that so clearly stated my very own experience that it brought tears to my eyes. This morning I read some statistics about the number of new blogs that had been started in 2014 and how many new posts are posted every day, and that was when I felt myself begin to slip.

It was a whisper, not even a fully formed thought, more of a feeling, really. But it wasn’t until I had a moment to sit still that I caught the image of being pulled under water. I wasn’t panicking, or thrashing. I was just being tugged by my feet, a little bit at a time, my head going under a little more, a little bit more. My hair (it was long for some reason in this image,) was floating around me.

I heard it then, the whisper. It told me that I was fooling myself about being a real writer. It told me I didn’t have enough years left to practice, that I’d never be really skilled at writing. It told me that my blog would never be seen by more than a handful of people, that it would never have any real reach. And then my head popped up out of the water and I heard it clearly, my ego voice messing with me.

I wish I could say that the recognition of that ugly, mean voice nullified its affect on me, but the sadness lifted slowly, slowly as I intentionally placed my attention in gratitude. “Thank you my angels, for helping me to be aware. Thank you.”

And I take the risk again, to share my words with whoever chooses to see them.

Risk

“You are creating yourself, your life, and the world around you in every moment. Thoughts are actions.” – Journey From Ego

Question #1: How many of you are happy with (the direction of) your life?

Question #2: How many of you wish to change your lives, but feel stuck?

Question #3: Are you aware of your passion, that which brings you joy?

Question #4: Are you willing to take a risk to follow your passion?

I ran across this quote from Henry Ford again recently: “If you think you can do a thing, or you think you can’t do a thing, you’re right.” It got me thinking about the manner in which we create our lives. Do you engage in those activities that bring you joy, or that whisper to you, Come Play? I will admit that I let fear get in my way sometimes. There are things that whisper to me that I’m still resisting, to my own demise, I know. To my credit I will say that although I never had been inspired to participate in the Portland to Coast relay, (in truth I thought everyone who did it must be insane,) when the opportunity was presented to me, despite my reservations I did, and I had so much fun I did it three years in a row! I include this example here only to make the point that I believe we are better off in the long run when we follow the whispers and the synchronicities that appear and  which facilitate growth, rather that to allow fear (ego) to influence our decisions and to limit our lives.

Henry Ford, born in 1863, grew up the son of a farmer. He left his father’s farm, risking his security, at the age of 16 to pursue his fascination with machinery. He took a job as an apprentice at the Michigan Car Company, a manufacturer of railroad cars in Detroit. Over the next few years Henry moved between jobs when he thought he could learn more somewhere else. At the age of 28, now married to Clara Bryant, Ford moved to Detroit taking a job as a night engineer for the Edison Electric Illuminating Company. He knew little about electricity, but again perceived this as an opportunity learn.

Within five years Henry had risen to chief engineer of the Illuminating Company. But this was not his passion. His passion, the one that had drawn him from his home, was machinery. When he learned of people across the country working to build horseless carriages he became one of them. In 1896, with the help of a team of friends he completed the Quadricycle, his first self-propelled vehicle.

After completing his second car in 1898 he began to convince other people to sign on and help him achieve his vision. Knowing nothing about business, his first two companies failed. However, being no stranger to risk he took even greater ones building and even driving racing cars. The success of these cars attracted financial backing and in 1903 Henry incorporated Ford Motor Company.

Of course Henry’s story doesn’t end there, but if he hadn’t followed his passion, hadn’t been willing to take a risk, had worked in isolation, had been afraid of failure, Ford Motor Company wouldn’t exist today. And I don’t believe the world would have been a better place for its lack of existence and I don’t believe our climate would be any different than it is now, because someone else who had a similar fearless passion would have gone and done it anyway. It just wouldn’t have been Henry Ford. And I don’t believe Henry had Ford Motor Company as his goal at the age of 16, or even 25. I believe that following his passion, taking the risks he took, and trusting in his God allowed him to follow his path and in doing so to create the life he chose, despite the difficulties he encountered.

We can create our lives too. We do create our lives. It’s sometimes an uncomfortable truth to admit that we are responsible for being exactly where we are in our lives. If we don’t like it we can change it. The moment we decide what we want that change to look like, the universe begins to act upon that thought.

“I believe God is managing affairs and that [S]He doesn’t need        any advice from me. With God in charge, I believe everything will work out for the best in the end. So what is there to worry about?”

– Henry Ford

What passion is calling to you?

The Un-Resolution

Here it is, New Year’s Eve, eve. We’re standing on the threshold of yet another new year faced with the question many of us entertain each time this milestone bears down on us – what do I want to change in the coming year? But really the question that begs answering is how do I want to change in this New Year?

I gave up the practice of making New Year’s resolutions sometime ago. In the past they typically included eating less sugar, drinking more water, getting regular exercise, re-establishing a yoga practice and meditating every day, writing everyday and getting more sleep. The usual. Every year. I was never able to follow through with any of them for more than a few weeks, much less all of them. This inability inevitably felt like failure so I gave it all up. Publicly I gave it up. As in, “Are you making any New Year’s Resolutions?” “No,” I’d answer. “I gave up that practice years ago.”

But privately, of course, I still think about it. After all, edging up to a fresh year gives me the opportunity to make a fresh start. It seems a shame to look it in the eye and take a pass. Then I saw this on my Facebook page (Thank you Sundari):

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And it poses an even better question. How can I change the state of the Union? Heck, let’s go for broke. How can I, lil ol’ me, change the world? By changing my perspective. By changing my focus. By changing my intent. If I change my perspective from judgment of others to one of love and acceptance, the need for defensive posturing will abate. If I change my focus from one of fear of another to trust in the love and support of God, (you can substitute the word you use to name the Mystery here,) I will inform the Universal Consciousness with love rather than fear, which will in turn inform the perspective of each individual on earth. If I change my intent to one of compassion in each encounter I will take one step closer to a compassionate world in each of those encounters.

And just as importantly, if I listen to that voice, the one that says, Come play! (That little voice we discussed last time, remember?) – really listen – I will be entertaining angels! The angels are always with us, always guiding us, constantly providing us whispers that will set us on our path, or keep us there. That voice, I swear, is the one that says, “Drink more water.” “Go for a walk.” “Quiet your mind so you can hear us more clearly.” It doesn’t take resolutions. We just have to learn to listen, and then of course to follow through. That’s where ego gets in the way and trips us, on the follow through. But hey, we’re here to practice. And we have a whole new year available to us to do just that.

How do you deal with the practice of making New Year’s Resolutions?

 

More information on ego interference, Self-Sabotage, changing your perspective, hearing your angels, and so much more can be found in my book, Journey From Ego, The Path to Healing available at Amazon.com, Balboa Press.com and your favorite book dealer.

Come Play!

I follow a number of blogs. Most of them are related to writing in some way or other, how-to’s and what-not-to-do’s when writing short fiction, novels, blogs. Jeff Goins at Goin’s Writer focuses on grabbing the ring as a writer, that is, acknowledging to others our avocation as  writers, and on blog writing and how to create a tribe for yourself and how to gain subscribers to your blog. And he’s good at it and he’s making a living by writing these days. Joe Bunting over at The Write Practice remains more focused on writing fiction, and he also is living on his writing. Christi Krug’s blog, Kindling encourages us to just sit down and write something – anything because if we’re compelled to write, to be writers, then what’s stopping us?

Steven Pressfield Online answers that question. Resistance. In his book, The War of Art he explains how resistance keeps us from our work, writing, that one activity that writers are compelled to do, but tend to avoid. It’s a dilemma we all seem to face. We want our words to be read, but we’re afraid to share them. So we let that voice in our heads, the one Mr. Pressfield names resistance, the one I call ego, talk us out of sitting down.

There are always tasks that are more important than writing for the person who is not making a living with his words, and there is an infinite number of reasons for placing what we love most at the bottom of our to-do list. It makes absolutely no sense. I learned, in one of Ms. Krug’s classes a couple of years ago that I was a “perfectionistic procrastinator” – not her words, but those of a guest speaker. I laughed out loud. Actually, I think I guffawed. People looked at me. I clapped my hand over my mouth. I was that person. I had to have the perfect spot to sit in order to write, the perfect journal, the perfect pen – no, pencil because what if I messed up and needed to erase? All of those needs effectively kept me from writing much of anything. When I finally did start writing, thanks to Christi, I then had to acknowledge my fear of being heard.

Fear. That word again. Resistance. Ego. That pit-in-the-stomach, dry-mouthed, clammy-handed thief. It steals our POWER! It usurps our CONTROL! Ego keeps us living small because we allow it to. We believe it when it tells us that our writing isn’t good enough, or original enough, or smart enough, or funny enough. That voice keeps us from engaging in the activity we love the most.

Until we stop listening.

What is ego/resistance keeping you from? What is it that sits on your shoulder and whispers, How about now? Come play! How will your life be enriched when you start listening to that voice instead of the ego-voice?

 

 

 

Ego: The Voice of Fear

I recently began following the a blog called Zen Habits, written by Leo Babauta at www.zenhabits.net. His most recent post, the one I received in my email this morning is titled, “Finding the Motivation to Change Your Entire Life”. In it he included the following list of issues that get in the way of making the changes we wish to make in our lives, whether they be great or small:

  • Fear of change
  • Not wanting to be uncomfortable
  • Fear of uncertainty
  • Being tired
  • Fear of failure
  • Fear of not being good enough
  • Not having time
  • Being busy with all kinds of things
  • Waiting for something to happen
  • Perfectionism
  • Being overwhelmed with all that you have to do
  • Not knowing how

Leo acknowledges that habits can be challenging to break and provides strategies for dealing with the fears that keep us from changing. (You’ll have to look him up to see the rest of the post; I can’t give it all away here.)  He encourages us to face our fears and not be overwhelmed by them.

I encourage you to examine that voice of fear, the one that talks incessantly in your head, the one that tells you that you are tired, afraid of failure, not good enough. The voice is real. It is the voice of your ego. It messes with you. It keeps you living small and responding to life in habitual patterns that lock you in and keep you from making the changes you desire.

The voice of ego is not you. Ego usurps control over you and keeps you enslaved to it. I ask you, just for today, to listen, really listen to the voice that you hear talking in your head all day. Pay attention. What does it say to you? How does it influence you? How do you feel when you hear its words?

Leave me a comment. I’d love to hear from you!

 

Change Your Perspective. Change Your Life. Change Your World.