Ego or Belief in Self ~ What is the Difference?
How can we make sense of all these spiritual sayings? On the one hand we are told to have faith and belief in ourselves and in the next breath we are told to let the ego go! How can we do both and what is the difference?
When one speaks of ego, it is the part of the self that builds us up to have the belief that we are capable of anything that we achieve, it is the part of us that likes to be told that we are doing an excellent job and it is the part of us that likes to think we are the best at what we do, whatever that may be. Muhammad Ali would not have been the same guy had it not
been for his huge ego that made him really believe he could win the fights that he faced. He built himself up to the top of his game, believing that he was the ultimate boxer, and by psyching out his opponents with his taunts that he could ‘float like a butterfly, sting like a bee’. Of course he had the skill to back up his claims and he was an exemplary boxer with amazing talent. It became the ultimate challenge for all other boxers to beat him in the ring, because he was known to be the best. The way he received this fame was by not only his skill as a boxer but by his over the top ego and his constant boasts that not only enabled him to believe he was impossible to beat, but eventually started to sink in to his opponents that he was impossible to beat. He built himself up at the expense of the other boxers. Today, we see others who use the same tactics in their promotional displays and it seems to be the ‘done thing’ in that kind of sport. However, we are not all in that profession, and when we are talking about spiritual matters and passing on spiritual gifts I think a less aggressive approach is better received and the message seems more appropriate when it is given in a much gentler manner.
There are many reasons for following a spiritual path, but to me the most obvious reason is to better yourself every day in the service of others. By that, I do not mean to put your own needs on the back burner, but to develop yourself in a way that you can be happy with your choices, whilst at the same time being considerate of others feelings and emotions. There is really no need to trample on others emotions and sensitivities in order to push your way through to the front of the queue.
When we are on a spiritual path we can sit in our own power and have faith that we are living our lives in a manner that is agreeable to us whilst allowing others to live their lives in a manner that is also agreeable to them. We are each of us individuals yet we are also part of the same whole. In order for the whole to be happy, each of its components must be able to work in harmony, whilst carrying out their own needs and achieving their own goals.
When we have belief in ourselves, we can embrace the idea of helping others to achieve their own goals, knowing that in doing so we are progressing down our own chosen paths. We can work from a place of love and gratitude, sharing the knowledge that we have with others that can benefit from it. We have no desire to be better than anybody else, we can be happy in the knowledge that we are bettering ourselves every day. We can be happy to see other people succeed and do well for themselves, knowing that if we keep working we will achieve good results ourselves.
When ego comes into the equation we start to create problems for ourselves, and often for others around us. Because ego is a very insecure master, it tells us that we have to be better than others, and that we have to be sure to tell everybody how good we really are. It becomes more about how we appear to others, rather than actually becoming a better person. Ego is jealous, insecure and sometimes can be quite unkind. Have you ever seen an advertisement for somebody that states that they are “The best in the business, all the rest strive to be this good” This statement comes from Ego; it does not come from a place of love, gratitude or giving. This statement raises the perception of self at the expense of everybody else. This statement makes the person feel better about themselves, while quite frankly insulting everybody else. This person may well be the best at what they do, but, would it not be better to make a different statement, such as: “Professional service to satisfy all your needs” This way, you are saying that yes you can do the job very well and the customer will be happy, but you are not insulting everybody else who does the same work.
I would much rather work from a place of gratitude and love. I really enjoy helping others, I am happy with my achievements and I plan to learn more every day of my life. I love to see others achieve their aims and I feel so very happy for them when they do. It is my personal belief that working from a place of love makes your own life so much more enjoyable. Imagine you do not have to deal with your own jealousy; you do not have to be angry with yourself when you are not the very best, and instead, it gives you insight into how you can better yourself and an opportunity to set goals to achieve this.
We all have freewill, and to truly let go of ego is not the easiest thing in the world, but setting the intention to do so is a positive step in the right direction. Only you can decide what is right for you, but I have made my choice and I feel my life is more blessed because of that choice.