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Personal development goals can be frustrated by the ego February 23, 2012

Posted by Dennis Mellersh in Ego Management.
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In our quest to understand personal development and thereby improve ourselves through reading and general research, the ego and its role within our personality patterns is something that constantly surfaces.

The more we read about the psychology of self-improvement, self-help and personal development in general, the more definitions and explanations of the ego we will uncover.

Some of the explanations of the role the ego plays in personality and human behaviour are quite complex and technical. Whatever the explanation, however, we know that the ego is a force to be dealt with and our research often leads to us look for answers in how to manage the ego, how to control anger with the ego, in general, how to deal with the ego and its influence on us. We seem to realize intuitively that the ego is a somewhat independent force living within us.

One of the interesting views of the ego is that of Eckhart Tolle, who (and this is a very simplified paraphrasing) regards the ego as the constantly chattering voice in our heads that will not shut up no matter how hard we try to focus and “stay in the moment.” For Tolle, the ego does not like being satisfied, with, or just accepting the present moment, but rather tends to focus on the future or the past.

The ego in this view tends to look at what should be and what should have been, rather than on dealing maturely and objectively with what is.

In his book, The Power of Now, Tolle makes the following observation: “The basic ego patterns are designed to combat its deep-seated fear and sense of lack. They are resistance, control, power, greed, defense, attack. Some of the ego’s strategies are extremely clever, yet they never truly solve any of its problems, simply because the ego itself is the problem.”

In Tolle’s view the ego’s tendency to focus on the past and the future, and to avoid dealing with the present moment, makes us slaves to time with the result that: “The more you are focussed on time – past and future – the more you miss the Now, the most precious thing there is.”

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