The Ways the Ego Creates Unhappiness
The ego is the cause of your unhappiness and unhealthy relationships and can even create sickness in your body. So during this month, we will explore through our Daily Wisdom posts how the ego works in our lives and why we must awaken within to our union with God to enjoy healthy relationships and thus live our best life.
The ego is on a quest. It needs to feel special and stand out among its peers. Therefore, the ego looks for ways to be superior to others to cope with the inner loneliness and aching subconscious feeling that I’m not good enough the way I am. By establishing lack in someone else and boasting about its own value, the ego is strengthened and concludes its own unique superiority.
The early years of life determine many of the pursuits of the ego. Family, tradition, religion, and culture all influence our perception of what we consider the highest good. While family, tradition, and religion play important roles in determining how the ego pursues its own uniqueness and specialness, culture also has a significant influence on selfhood.
Here in the United States (and in many of the most prosperous nations), the culture lends itself to ranking people based on net worth, power, and fame. Therefore, inherent in the collective psyche is an ambition to succeed on Wall Street or in Hollywood, seek power through what we call higher office, or attain recognition and applause through sports or music.
I’m not suggesting that everyone who runs for office, uses their talents on the big screen, or is engaged in any other high-profile dream is any more under the ego’s grip than someone who works at the local animal shelter. But, ultimately, it’s not the nature of what we pursue that matters, but rather the motivation behind it that determines whether it will lead to suffering or peace.
What I mean is that the ego pursues whatever validates and strengthens its sense of self — a pursuit that ultimately ends in suffering.
To be continued tomorrow…
Adapted from section 2 of Awakening To I Am Love by David Youngren
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