Many of us struggle, not only with the definition of ego, but also of whether or not we are acting from the ego or from the heart. Those who insist their actions were not based on ego, most likely are either in denial or they simply don't know what it means to act from a place of ego.
Ego is the act of putting importance on your self worth or self esteem. We want people to acknowledge and see how magnificent we are, or how grand our gesture was. That would be ego. Even athletes or competitors who are doing grand things do it for the love of it, the medal or award may or not come (at least most of them do would be my guess). They do what they do because it drives them, it's their passion and they love it.
So when our ego rears its ugly head, how do we silence it or keep it in check? Here are some ways to tame the monster and feel good about yourself in a heart centered sort of way.
1. Why are you doing this?
Whatever it is that you are doing, whether it be baking cookies for your neighbour or holding the door open for people. What big or little thing are you doing or did you just do and why did you do it? Were you looking for recognition and appreciation? If it was something you did from your heart, tell your ego to shut up and remind it that it was your decision, from your heart, to do this nice kind act. You did it because you wanted to, not because it was expected from you or demanded from you. Are you doing business or acting from a place of love. All too often we perform tasks at work that we aren't recognized for or appreciated for. It's shitty when that happens but remember, you are at work. It's your job, it's business.
2. Who doesn't appreciate you?
Most of us like to be appreciated. It's a great feeling to know that your actions don't go unnoticed and someone completely loves and appreciates you for it. Unfortunately, many of us live or work where we are seriously underappreciated so we actually crave it. We long for it. Can't one person just say thank you? I get it. It's frustrating. Remind yourself of your surroundings. Are the people you are dealing with operating from an entitled state? Do they always expect things from you? Maybe it's time to cut back on some of the things you do that aren't expected of you but you do them anyway. Maybe some of these people can do these things themselves and it's about time they did. Maybe some of these people simply don't know how to show true appreciation or are embarrassed because they can't do or be the things that you do. If you're doing these things out of love, keep doing them.
3. We are all equally important in this big wide world.
We like to think we are more important than the other guy. We like to think because we are more educated, better dressed or better at communication, we are better than the other guy. We want people, everyone in fact, to recognize the fact that we are awesome and magnificent. Reality check for you. We are ALL important and magnificent. Even the homeless guy at the corner of the street. He's just as important as you are. remember we are all in this together and our purpose should be to love each other and treat each other with the same level of respect. You aren't any more important than anyone else.
Ego truly is such an ugly thing and we all desperately long to shut it up but at times, it's difficult. Why can't anyone appreciate us ever? The bottom line? Give yourself a pat on the back or a big hug and remind yourself of the awesome act you just performed or the great job you did. And then go celebrate yourself.