5 Common Ego Traps that Might Be Preventing Your Happiness
“The ego is the single biggest obstruction to the achievement of anything” – these are the words of the American esoteric philosopher, poet, and author Richard Rose. Indeed, the ego is a deceitful enemy that leads you into an endless circle of nothing. It exhausts you until you are weak, and it takes you to nowhere.
The discussion on the ego is heavily credited to the observation of the Austrian neurologist and founder of psychoanalysis, Sigmund Freud, on the relationship between the id, ego, and superego. According to Sigmund Freud, the ego serves as the mediator between the id (the most basic part of personality that impels people to satisfy basic desires, needs, and urges) and the super-ego (the moralistic part of personality that is formed as a result of upbringing and social influences).
Veering away from a too technical definition, the ego is basically your self-image working against the true image of your soul. In essence, it is the mind’s constructed and false identity. It is made up of all the beliefs that you have about yourself. According to Eric Alsterberg, an untamed ego – both spiritual and psychological – can lead to a life full of anxiety, fear, and hatred. These spiritual and psychological egos can keep you in separation and limitation. It can prevent you from achieving true happiness in life.
In order to live a contented and positive life, you need to escape from the ego traps that are made by untamed spiritual and psychological egos. Below are some of the most common ego traps that might be preventing your happiness.
Refusing to accept criticisms
Refusing to accept negative or constructive feedback is a sign of an inflated ego. When you ignore criticisms, you are also ignoring what they can do to enhance your character. You consider yourself too great of a person to waste your time accommodating the opinions of others. You refuse to be corrected because you think you are not capable of committing mistakes. This is self-conceit. You have an undue and excessive pride in yourself that renders you unable to see your errors. If you feel enraged whenever you receive criticisms, then you may be possessing uncontrolled spiritual and psychological egos. To put it differently, you have a distorted vision of your perfection.
Constantly reliving the past
Almost everyone has experienced being betrayed, cheated on, taken advantage of, and more. All people make mistakes. Everyone has been hurt and has hurt others as well. Oftentimes, these painful experiences leave marks on people. They often lead to anger, grudges, grief, and regrets that consume people even in the present. This is toxic and destructive. The ego loves to dwell in the past. It loves to relive the past over and over again. It is difficult for the untamed spiritual and psychological egos to forgive because they love to harbor emotions and resentment. When your ego does not allow you to let go of the past, it is impossible for you to enjoy all the beauty that each present moment has to offer.
Judging people who are different from you
An uncontrolled ego loves to look down on others. It loves to render uncalled for judgements on superficial basis. When you have an untamed spiritual and psychological egos, it is easy for you to form an opinion about others based solely on prejudice. You love to make yourself look better and assert moral ascendancy, so you judge those people who are different from you or who holds different opinions from yours. When it comes to spirituality, for example, some people love to call themselves ‘saved’ and ‘chosen’, and look down on others who are deemed ‘unworthy’ and ‘unchosen’. This is, of course, condescending and prejudicial. More so, it runs counter to what most spiritual religions teach: profound humility.
Wearing a mask of excessive positivity
Optimism is good. It helps people see new opportunities, learn from different situations, and continue on with life. However, the same cannot be said with false optimism. Oftentimes, when people try so hard to project a perfect life and please their ego, they resort to wearing a mask of excessive positivity. Such is unhealthy. Whenever you use the words amazing and wonderful to describe your day even when it is far from stellar, then you are not allowing yourself to be honest with your emotions. You are more concerned with what others would think about you than with what you are actually feeling. There is no better word to describe this but vanity. When you refuse to be honest with your emotions and accept the fact the everyone has bad days, you are allowing your ego to encage you.
Being blinded by materialism
Ego makes people materialistic. People who have untamed spiritual and psychological egos tend to anchor their happiness on the amount of money that they have and on the material wealth that they possess. Since the invention of televisions and computers, the world has been flooded with commercials and advertisements that aim to make people crave material things. The commercial world has designed what the successful and perfect life looks like. The ego, in its effort to put on a show, tries its best to achieve such successful and perfect life at the expense of anything. This is unhealthy, however, because it only breeds greedy people. If you allow your ego to decide what you need and want in life, you will never know real happiness. Your untamed ego will only want more, more, and more, and satisfaction will never be possible.
In life, it is easy to slip into any one of these common ego traps. Indeed, spiritual and psychological egos, when untamed, can become blinding and suffocating. Nonetheless, compassion, humility, and patience can help you pull yourself out of these traps. So, begin changing your state of mind now! Do not let your ego run the show. Start achieving happiness and getting rid of your anxiety, fear, and hatred by being in control of your ego. Remember, your ego is not the limit.