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We can improve our personal development program by managing our ego March 24, 2007

Posted by Dennis Mellersh in Ego Management.
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Our progress or forward momentum in our personal growth or development program can be held back when the ego takes control of us and interferes with our goal-directed activities

The ego, or that part of our minds that constantly thinks in terms of “I”, “Me”, and “Mine” is one of the buttons that people can press deliberately or unintentionally and can result in our being taken off-course from our desired path of effective personal development or self improvement and onto a road of frustration.

One of the conscious efforts we can make to avoid this is to try to control our ego, or the ego’s reactions, particularly in terms of our inner responses to events triggered by other people’s behavior that we normally find irritating, depressing, or critical in nature.

We all know at least some of the circumstances that can rile us up.

Someone says something to us that we find disparaging or insulting:
Somebody disagrees with one or more of our beliefs or opinions; or somebody says something critical; or someone pulls ahead of us into the exact parking space that we have been heading for at a shopping center

Our normal reaction to events like these normally could range from mild irritation to an intense anger coupled with constantly reviewing the disturbing events or comments over and over again in our minds and thereby disrupting our enjoyment of life for hours, and perhaps even days.

“He/she can’t say that to me!”
“How could anyone possibly disagree with me on (name the belief or opinion)?”
“How dare someone beat me to that parking spot!”

And our efforts at personal development temprarily go out the window. This is the ego at work, making our thoughts run in directions that we really don’t want them to. The ego can thereby hinder our personal development efforts. One of the tools we can use to reduce this tendency is to make a deliberate effort to control the reactions of our ego. But it’s not easy.

Controlling or managing the ego does not mean we become doormats and put up with unacceptable behaviors from other people. But it does mean that we try to keep our reactions to untoward events in perspective so that we are managing our thoughts rather than having our thoughts manage us.

There are many behavioral options to work with, ranging from simple anger management, to a concentrated program of inner work to reduce our dependence on “self” and gain more awareness of what constitutes our true inner consciousness. When we know ourselves better and can manage our ego, a personal development plan and our general self-improvment efforts are easier to envision and implement.

This has been an introductory short post to discussions expressing a personal view about the ego in relation to achieving personal development goals — a topic I hope to write about  in more detail in future articles.

Two excellent books with detailed discussions of the negative power of the ego are by Eckhart Tolle: The Power of Now, A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment; and A New Earth, Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose.

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