When you think of someone with a big ego, what comes to mind? We often equate a big ego with a domineering presence. For me, it’s men with puffed-out chests, exerting their loud and always right opinions about almost anything and everything.
This very notion that the ego is “big” leaves us with a certain image of how the ego manifests in our lives. We often view the ego as a very masculine trait. Comments like, “He’s got such a big ego” really demonstrate this.
We equate ego with largeness and an over domineering presence.
When it comes to women and our egos, it more often looks and feels like we’re shutting down and not using our voices. We’re playing small. Because we’re afraid, we don’t share authentically. We don’t allow ourselves to be seen for exactly who we are – a soul housed in a physical body.
I’ve spoken with a lot of women who tell me how they don’t use their voices. They say it’s better to keep the peace and wise “to pick my battles” even when it’s not always a good idea to go with the flow.
When we avoid conflict at all costs, that’s as much the ego at play as when we decide to get loud and overbearing with our opinions.
I also hear from women who feel stuck because the discomfort created by changing keeps them from moving forward.
With women, our egos tend to have us approach life from a place of fear. The underlying motivation is to avoid those things that make us uncomfortable, like fear of not being liked or accepted.
Our egos keep us stuck because that is what the ego thrives on – being stuck.
The ego doesn’t like to change, grow, evolve or even thrive for that matter. The ego wants us to stay secure and in our comfort zone.
In all these situations, it’s the ego that has us puffing out our chest in some situations and shrinking and playing small in others.
The ‘puff your chest out’ type of ego rubs countless women, including myself, the wrong way. And yet we often fail to see the ‘stay safe, stay small’ ego that is showing up in our own lives.
Our ego’s need for predictability and safety triggers every thought, feeling, or action that originates in fear.
At times we outwardly express our ego as a reactive response, and at other times inwardly express it by shutting down.
Whether the ego is making us play big or small, it’s all the same ego. It’s equally as destructive to our spiritual growth and thriving in our lives.
I had a discussion with my husband, Mark, about the difference between how the ego is expressed through him compared to how it’s expressed through me. For both of us, the root message from the ego is “I’m not good enough, just the way I am.” One thing we both agreed on is- The soul is gender-neutral.
In every situation, we are either coming from a place of fear (which is always the ego) or we are coming from a place of love (which is the soul). No matter how you look at it, with women and our egos it’s always edging out the life force that seeks expression through each of us.
So what are we meant to do with our ego?
Do we continue to allow it to keep us feeling and playing small or puffing out our chest?
We observe how the ego is showing up within ourselves on a moment-to-moment basis. In other words, we practice mindfulness. We witness our egos without judgment. Because as soon as judgment enters, our ego is judging our ego.
The problem is not that we have a fear-based ego. The problem is that we’re not aware of how it rules our life. It cuts us off from a life based on love, expansion, and growth rather than fear, constriction, and hiding our souls.
What if each time someone else’s ego triggers us, we then turn the spotlight on ourselves? How would things be different?
I don’t usually quote from the bible, but this one says it all:
“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?”
The truth is, it’s much easier to focus on how others need to change, even if it’s wrapped in the context of caring.
When we focus all our attention and energy on “helping” someone else change, we don’t put our energy and focus on how we, ourselves, are meant to change.
Changing ourselves is an invitation from our souls.
An opportunity to find our voices, know that we’re worthy of our own hopes and dreams, and step into our most authentic selves.
When we do, we’ll be honoring our souls and our lives will become a lot more expansive and peaceful.
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