When we stand firm in our intense resistance towards change to uphold and protect our "truths", this is our ego.
When we fight our personal battles in the name of what’s "right" while justifying all that we have sacrificed for the cause, this is our ego.
Our ego is in control when we put our energy into arguing for what’s right and wrong, when we place blame instead of finding resolution, and fight for justice instead of compromising. We get so caught up in the justification of our beliefs and actions that we don’t realize that we are actually the ones who are suffering the most.
The complexity, frustration, and stuckness of it all happens when we don’t know when to fight and when to let go.
We get heated when others don’t see our point of view. We become annoyed when others don’t perform to our standards. We are hurt when others don't acknowledge our efforts. We feel defensive when others don’t look or act the way we do. We get jealous of those who possess more of what we want.
Balancing our ego and identity feels like walking a fine line between caring and not caring. But where is the line drawn when fighting for our values vs. fighting for our pride?
Being human, developing our ego and identity is a natural progression in developing our sense of self. We are pack animals and the health and harmony of our pod is crucial to our survival and the quality of our lives. So it makes sense that other peoples’ opinions and following social norms is a large part of developing our identity and knowing where we fall in line.
We spend an exorbitant amount of time and energy building up the world around us. Making sense of which paths we decide to take, who we surround ourselves with, and which experiences we choose to participate in. And this all helps us understand who we are and where we fit in to this world.
These narrow definitions have helped shape how we fit into our families, our social circles, and our communities. But as we grow from childhood to adolescence to adulthood, the complexity of who we are changes, grows, and develops.
In some instances, when we are challenged with shifts in our ingrained definition of self, we have a visceral instinct to resist. Our egos double down and fight with conviction for what we have created in our world to be “right.” We want to justify the stories we created and all the decisions we've made.
This is our ego’s job and our egos are here for a reason because there are some things that are absolutely worth fighting for. But what we have to recognize is when the fighting does more harm to our mental state and physical health than the good of the cause. That’s when we have crossed the line and need a pause to ask ourselves what are we fighting for and what are we ready to let go of?
The pause is the key to go from awareness to behavioral change. The pause is the opportunity to go within and to understand ourselves more in order to find our true voice over our negative reels. We may feel like we’re walking a fine line between caring or not caring, but it’s actually about defining what you care about, understanding why you care and deciphering how much to care about it.
This process of understanding ourselves on a deeper level is challenging, uncomfortable and it can feel like a lonely journey without an end. It’s insanely difficult to go from caring about something to not caring about it especially if we define ourselves as a caring person. It challenges us to our core of who we are or who we want to be.
We get it because it’s our struggle too. We have found that attending ming+ming classes for our weekly pause has helped us notice where we are on that fine line between ego + identity. Step two and it's tools will help you unpack and better understand your ego + identity and how it might be hindering your progress towards making the changes you want in your life.
Ming-Wai + Ming-Cee