Third Essential Life Skill: Let Go, Transcend the EgoBy:
The third of the five essential life skills is “Transcending the Ego and Letting Go.” This concept always brings up the question, “What are we letting go of?” The answer is, “anything that is not in alignment with your true essence, your values and your goals." You are choosing to transcend the ego.
It isn’t really that the ego is “bad,” rather it is misguided. Unfortunately, most of us think we are our egos, rather than recognizing a deeper, more substantial aspect of our beings. The ego is the part of us that gets jealous, possessive, anxious, judgmental, fearful and self-conscious. In reality, the ego wants to protect us, but it manages to do so in unhealthy, often painful and inauthentic ways. Much akin to an overprotective parent who keeps their child in the house rather than letting them go out to play at the risk that they could get hurt.
In my experience, “who—or what—we really are”” is love. We are here to love and be loved. However, we have allowed our egos to define what that means, instead of our souls. Our egos get a hold of the concept and turn it into a need to be loved and a need to love, rather than just being love. Through the filter of ego, the essence of being loved turns into the ego need for approval. When we think we need love, we are suddenly feel lack or scarcity and thus, we turn into energy vampires trying to suck approval out of everyone we meet in order to fill that need. Through the filter of ego, the essence of being loving turns into a need for control. When we think we need to be loving, we try to change everyone around us so that we can fulfill our need and love them. While we all experience both the need for approval and the need for control, we tend to make one of them our “home base,” and ironically, we attract partners with a the opposite need. We form the perfect approval/control dysfunctional relationships.
Consider magnets with two polarized ends—positive and negative. If you put them together positive to positive, they will repel. If you put them together positive to negative they will attract. If left in close proximity, the magnetic pull will cause the magnet to flip around in order to attract to the other. Our egos are a bit akin to this. One end of the "ego-magnet" is the need for approval and the other polarized end is the need for control. We all have both, but we tend to lead in our relationships with one or the other and we tend to attract the opposite or evoke the opposite in others. A person with a strong need for approval will attract another's need for control. A person with a strong need for control will attract another's need for approval. Then we hook up in relationships that are, ultimately, an ego dance instead of a "realationship".
I call this an ego dance instead of a real relationship because when we are operating from the approval control drama we are operating in an illusion. We have no control over anyone else...try as we might. And, it is impossible to get true approval when we are not being authentic, putting on a facade to try to get someone's approval.
Whenever you find yourself in conflict with someone else, while remembering who you really are, observe yourself and notice what you are feeling and thinking. Notice whether you are experiencing a need for approval or a need for control. If you find that you are judging or trying to change the other person, your ego is flaring in a need for control. Take a step back and realize that this is your egos misguided attempt to love them and that your ego is exactly what is blocking your ability to love them—and what is blocking creative solutions to the problem. Take a deep breath and let go of your need for control., Return to who you really are, return to love and compassion. Often we find that when we let go of our need for control, we are able to suddenly accept others and allow them their own choices and consequences on their life’s journey. However, once you have let go, if change is still necessary, you will be able to address it in a healthier way.
“Control people” often get so caught up in the need for control that they don’t take a step back to see if it is really necessary for the other person to make the changes. I remember once telling my housemate that he was putting the dishes in the dishwasher wrong, when I self-observed and noticed that this was an ego flare of control, rather than something that mattered. When I let go of control, I could see that while it isn’t the way that I would load the dishwasher, there was nothing “wrong” about it.
If instead, you are always wondering if you are doing it right (or wrong), and are concerned about what people think of you, your ego is exhibiting a need for approval. Remember, this is your desire to be loved, but your ego’s neediness actually blocks your ability to be loved. Take a deep breath and let go of your need for approval. The only approval you need is your own and Spirit’s. When you are in alignment with your higher self, truly authentic, the world will love you.
The Fourth Essential Life Skill is Realigning with Your Authentic Self and will be the topic of the next blog. Please keep in mind that right now, as you learn the skills it seems like a lot to remember and laborious. But in truth, once you know and understand them, this practice is as swift as a breath and absolutely effective as an immediate path to peace, love and harmony.
Intellectual Foreplay Question: Which do you operate from most, a need for approval or a need for control?
Eve's Love Tip: Ego is always what blocks love. The solution is to realign with your authentic self where love, acceptance, forgiveness and compassion dwell.
Eve Eschner Hogan is a relationship specialist, and author of several books including The EROS Equation: A SOUL-ution for Relationships. In Real Love with Eve, she shares skills, principles, and tools for creating healthy, harmonious relationships—with friends, family, lovers, co-workers, and the world at large. Her uncommon approach to common sense will help you sail away from ego battles and into the calmer waters of real love. Learn more about Eve's Heart Path retreats at sacredmauiretreats.com.