The Unmasking Of Ego

Posted on 27. Aug, 2013 by in Lead From Within, Leadership, Leadership Development, Life Skills, Personal Development, Purpose, Relationships, Self Help

Screen shot 2013-08-26 at 8.26.21 PM

Great leaders often pride themselves on having a great mind. They are often thought of as brilliant philosophers, scholars, savants, sages, intellectuals, or geniuses by the outside world.

But there is this thing called ego—and it can be the undoing of even the greatest thinker. It is part of your mind that protects its own thoughts and identity.

To manage our ego we must understand it intellectually, behaviorally, and emotionally.

When it comes to the ego there is a very distinct language, the language of separation. When you feel separate from others and isolated within yourself, you are in the company of ego.

The language of ego creates fear and judgment. It pushes you in the direction of making other people wrong, even though you know that self is about inclusiveness.

Edging Greatest Out is the center of ego.

 

Ego can even separate you from yourself with damaging thoughts like I am not good enough or I am not deserving.

At its other extreme, it gives us an equally damaging feeling of superiority and selfishness that counter the security, trust, openness, creativity, and willingness to share that come from the authentic self.

Leadership isn’t about being better than someone else. It’s about being better than you were, reaching for your own best self.

That means disconnecting from the attachments and bonds of the ego and understanding how poorly they serve you.

It means replacing the mind of your ego with the heart of your authentic self.

The self is everything the ego is not: secure, seeking, selfless, self-reliant, sensitive, serious, service-oriented, sharing, silent, simple, single, still. It is waiting to be filled with meaning and gratitude and to fulfill its purpose of sharing and giving. It is waiting to set you free.

Unmasking of the ego is getting to the heart of what matters.  

 

The ego wants you to believe you have somewhere to go, but the self says you have arrived.

Lead From Within: The essence of who we are, is seeking our true self, the parts of ourselves that is made  up of heart and soul.

For coaching, consulting, workshops and speaking. Please feel free to contact me.

© 2013 Lolly Daskal. All rights reserved.

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

48 Responses to “The Unmasking Of Ego”

  1. Karin Hurt

    27. Aug, 2013

    Lolly, Such an important post.

    We must listen closely to who we and emerge and evolve from that beautiful place… leaders lead and guide others on that journey as well… too often I see leaders so proud of who they have become, that they forget the most important part of their role… tapping into the greatness of others.

    Reply to this comment
  2. Tom Eakin

    27. Aug, 2013

    Ego is the seed of Hubris.

    Reply to this comment
  3. lollydaskal

    27. Aug, 2013

    Karin,

    As leaders learn to tap into their own greatness, then they will be able to tap into the greatness of others.

    Leaders sometimes are so busy being leaders, they forget to pay attention to the moments of leading self.

    Ego keeps us busy, shame keeps us busy. Pride makes so much nice. The heart keeps us humble. Leading From Within slows us down to pay attention to self.

    When we slow down, when we pay attention. we can then learn how to lead others, to their greatness, we can help others, guide them to their own best selves.

    why because we have learned on how to do if for ourselves.

    Thanks Karin for stopping by, you know I always look forward to your insights and wisdom.

    I appreciate you.
    Lolly

    Reply to this comment
    • Siva

      27. Aug, 2013

      Another good post from you Lolly. Very well said Karin, and your explanation is really good. Leaders sometimes are so busy being leaders, they forget to pay attention to the moments of leading self.

      Reply to this comment
  4. lollydaskal

    27. Aug, 2013

    once we start the journey within. it becomes an endless journey of discovery- Lolly

    Reply to this comment
  5. Martina

    27. Aug, 2013

    Excellent post, Lolly. Yes, ego can be a great friend or our fiercest self-enemy. Egos as not an evil part of us, any more than our id. It must be managed and periodically examined, just as most other parts of our internal lives.

    We must stop and ask ourselves often, what is my true motive? What does my heart say is the best for everyone, and not just for self. Our hearts and spirits know the correct answer, even if our minds and egos csnnot see it clearly.

    It is in balance that we can pursue and hold on to our best selves, and as you have said, our greatness.,, in ourselves and in others.

    Reply to this comment
  6. lollydaskal

    27. Aug, 2013

    Martina

    how do you find the ego to be a friend?

    PLEASE explain…

    Lolly

    Reply to this comment
    • Martina

      27. Aug, 2013

      The ego has a function. It is the mediator between the id (the instincts, passionate drivers) and the super-ego (the critical, moralizing and judgmental side of us).

      The ego, not the super-ego, helps us see reality. It helps us to organize our thoughts and make sense of them and the world around us, and to deal with it.

      Ego is part of our self-esteem, sense of self-worth,the conscious-thinking self, part of our conscious of what is, the common sense. These are important elements in making our way in the world.

      But, left unchecked, our super-egos rule us, as you have described, and place everyone beneath us, and evertyhing and everyone outside of who we are.

      We are complex creatures who attempt to live in some kind of balance.

      Reply to this comment
      • lollydaskal

        27. Aug, 2013

        the ego as i see it has a function of keeping us separate from ourselves.

        if we are separated, we are not together and the truth is as you know we are all one.

        self esteem self worth —- those elements I don’t believe they stem from the mind- i feel they are felt in the heart.

        if we feel loved, grateful, mindful, heart felt, there is NO space for the living entity of ego.

        i know FREUD spoke about super ego and ego.

        And from the studies of the heart and the science of leadership.

        where there is any ego there is no friend.

        Reply to this comment
        • J. P. Lucas

          27. Aug, 2013

          Thanks for the post Lolly! It’s clearly inspiring some great conversation.

          This conversation prompted me to review the definition of “Ego,” since (I must admit) I was confused.

          The primary definition of Ego is “Self”, derived from the literal Latin translation of Ego – “I.” Secondary meanings of Ego include forms of Egotism, Egomania, and Egocentricity. I think that this post is written in the context of Ego = Egocentricity.

          This would help clarify Martina’s comments above, regarding “ego as a friend.” This could also be expressed as “seeing yourself as a friend,” something I could not agree with more.

          And to your point, Lolly, egocentricity is NEVER healthy as our thoughts are separate from our values and from our environment.

          We can not reject Ego because Ego is Self, but our Ego should always be validated through the lens of the Heart.

          - J. P.

          Reply to this comment
          • Martina

            27. Aug, 2013

            Thanks J.P. for that enlightening answer.

          • lollydaskal

            27. Aug, 2013

            Thanks JP for the distinction …. Appreciate you.

            the ego that we speak of is the ego that brings us to the awareness of self.

            The process of transcending to the highest levels of enlightenment is one of letting go of the identification of a personal self.

            The belief in an “I” or “me”—a central processing unit that has its own body, mind, and emotions—is a hindrance to realizing one’s true nature.

            the self (with a small “s”)—the composite of ego and mind—presumes there is a centralized “inner primary causal agent, for example, the ‘doer’ of deeds, the ‘thinker’ of thoughts, and the ‘decider’ of decisions.”

            We start by exploring the nature of the ego and the mind—the sense of a personal self— so we are better prepared to transcend this misidentification.

            thus we unmask our ego.

            Lolly

  7. joe arrigo

    27. Aug, 2013

    An effective way to help tame the ego is by resisting the urge to correct people, especially if it’s not that important. There’s nothing that delights the ego more than correcting someone.

    Reply to this comment
  8. Ammanuel Melaku

    27. Aug, 2013

    So true! Thanks for sharing Lolly.

    Reply to this comment
  9. Alli Polin

    27. Aug, 2013

    The self knows that the ego is protecting us and it’s when we can let go of our ego, truly and deeply connect within ourselves and to others our true heart and self emerges. I’m always inspired when I can see the heart, the truth, the core of others and not just the slick veneer that their ego presents to the world.

    Appreciate you, Lolly for always leading from self and from the heart.

    Reply to this comment
    • lollydaskal

      27. Aug, 2013

      the ego protects only its own self. its own self preservation.

      if we lead with heart, we don’t need protection. that is the truth that the ego does not want us to find out.

      to lead with heart is to lead with truth, love, kindness, compassion, and when we lead with heart we are connected. ego creates our separation. there is no need for me to be separate of you or you of me. no need at all.

      ego wants us to believe there is a reason to separate.
      it is no friend of mine.

      Reply to this comment
  10. Jon Mertz

    27. Aug, 2013

    Lolly, Great perspectives. It is essential to understand our own ego. In understanding it, we become more self-aware of the good it can do as well as the harm. Self-awareness enables us to make that distinction and lead and live in more conscious ways.

    Also, in case our self-awareness fails, we need good people around us who will call us out when we are missing the impact of what or how we are doing things. We need people as another level of ego check.

    Great post! Thanks. Jon

    Reply to this comment
    • lollydaskal

      27. Aug, 2013

      Jon,

      I feel the dance with ego is a life time endeavor. We are forever unmasking the faces of ego and it helps when we have good people around us to help us keep in check.

      It is well to keep in mind at all times that the ego/mind does not experience the world, but only its own perception of it.

      Thanks for stopping by and adding your wisdom.

      Lolly

      Reply to this comment
  11. Panteli Tritchew

    27. Aug, 2013

    Hi Lolly et al:
    I agree that ego is the part of our mind “that protects its own thoughts and identity.” Protection is good, but we shouldn’t forget that when we operate to protect, this is defensive operation—ultimately, when we are protecting, we are defending, and when we are defending, we are operating from a place of fear.

    I agree that that the language of ego is a language of separation. Our words are the magic that shapes our world, and fear-based language creates a dangerous slippery slope.

    When we fear, we fall into an Us/Them world > Us vs* Them world > Me/Not Me world > Me vs* Not Me world. Translation: Me Against The World.

    Much better, as you say Lolly to replace the mind of our ego with the heart of our authentic self and to remember that “The ego wants you to believe you have somewhere to go, but the self says you have arrived.”

    John Milton wrote: “The mind is its own place and in itself, can make a Heaven of Hell, a Hell of Heaven.” The title of the poem is telling…“Paradise Lost.”

    Good discussion everyone. Panteli

    Reply to this comment
    • lollydaskal

      27. Aug, 2013

      Brilliant comment Panteli

      Ego is derived from FEAR

      And as you say: When we fear, we fall into an Us/Them world > Us vs* Them world > Me/Not Me world > Me vs* Not Me world. Translation: Me Against The World.

      Truth and added wisdom to the discussion

      very worthwhile THANK YOU.

      Lolly

      Reply to this comment
  12. Farrukh Siddiqui

    27. Aug, 2013

    Thanks Lolly for the inspirational quotes and messages. As with everything in life, it is important to find balance. Ego is no different. It is needed to give us confidence and courage to engage in our life’s work and passions. But the self (heart) must counterbalance the ego so we engage not only for our own self betterment but for the benefit and advancement of our fellow human beings, environment, etc. There is nothing wrong with striving for individual achievement as long as it does not adversely impact our immediate and greater surroundings.

    Reply to this comment
    • lollydaskal

      27. Aug, 2013

      ego is never about confidence

      ego is not about serving others.

      the balance we have to live with is the duality of life. mind/heart

      because ego is ever present. we must unmask it and call it by its name.

      thriving for achievement is self
      thriving to make a difference is self

      i still stand by the words that ego keeps us small – edging greatness out and self wants us to tap into our greatness.

      Thanks for your comment.

      Farrukh

      Reply to this comment
  13. LaRae Quy

    27. Aug, 2013

    A very important article, Lolly. Ego is very difficult for us to understand…when it befriends us and when it becomes our enemy, and the difference between the two. It is that intertwined and complex relationship that makes it so difficult to recognize…friend or foe! The word EGO has a negative connotation (well deserved) but most psychologists agree that it forms in childhood and then rushes to protect us as adults. The problem is that the ego still acts like a undisciplined child…unless as adults we know how to train it to behave.

    I believe this is part of our inward journey…discovering how to keep ego bridled and yet vigorous. I’ve found working with the enneagram is a tremendous tool to better understand our own ego and recognize when it’s sabotaging our efforts to be authentic.

    Have a great week!

    Reply to this comment
    • lollydaskal

      27. Aug, 2013

      if ego is developed in early childhood it does explain why it acts out in the way it does.

      as a child we used the words MY

      “my” memory, “my” senses, “my” thoughts, “my” emotions, “my” property, “my” success, “my” failure, “my” expectations, “my” feelings, and so on.

      Identification presumes ownership and authorship; thus, the ego sees and believes itself to be a personal, separate causal agent and the inferred source of its own existence.

      With compassion, one realizes that the structure of the ego is such that it cannot know what lies beyond.

      Reply to this comment
  14. Kemetia Foley

    27. Aug, 2013

    Wow. Such an important message to share and so grateful you shared it. Wonderful post.

    Thanks, Lolly.

    Reply to this comment
  15. Dan

    27. Aug, 2013

    The ego to me is the part that likes to create an argument about itself — and then takes that argument to the outside world. The heart doesn’t attempt to win the argument, only to heal the need for it, to remind the parts of their wholeness, to offer grace and humility, acceptance and joining.

    Tomorrow is the anniversary of MLK’s “I Have a Dream Speech.” It’s stirring and wise, aiming to bring everyone together with amazing power, love, self- and social leadership. “Ego” didn’t make that speech — and that is why we admire it so much. The grace it offers, imperfectly human and truly formed, fearless, humble, proud — we just know it came from a different Source.

    We don’t actually unmask the ego, I believe. The mask IS the ego. What we unmask is the heart and its power to heal all divisions within and outside ourselves.

    Reply to this comment
    • Dan

      27. Aug, 2013

      Thanks, Lolly. A beautiful and wise post.

      ~Dan

      Reply to this comment
    • lollydaskal

      27. Aug, 2013

      the unmasking dan is the illusion because ego is based on illusion of self.

      There is no such thing in reality as an ego; it is merely illusory.

      It is made up of a compilation of arbitrary points of view supplied by mental processing and powered by feelings and emotions.

      These desires represent the attachments that the Buddha spoke of as the bondage of suffering.

      With absolute humility, the ego dissolves. It is a collection of arbitrary mental processes that gain force only because of vanity and habit. If one lets go of the vanity of thought, it dissolves.

      All thought is vanity. All opinions are vanities. The pleasure of vanity is therefore the basis of the ego—unplug it and it collapses. The ego is neither bad nor an enemy, but merely an illusion to release so that something far better can replace it.

      And what we replace it with ….. is heart.

      Lolly

      Reply to this comment
  16. Mario Sergio Alves

    27. Aug, 2013

    Lolly,
    A beautiful text for reflection! Thanks!

    Mario

    Reply to this comment
  17. Simon Harvey

    27. Aug, 2013

    Very courageous post Lolly, and a hard one to wrap one’s head around in such a limited time as one life.

    Unmasking or unwrapping the ego is very hard to do, as perhaps in nature an ego could be likened to a shell, or a skin/ camouflage, and can we survive without it.

    In dressing each morning who is dressing you, making you up, and putting on those final touches on before stepping out to meet the world. Your authentic self, your ego, or a mixture.

    Some may say that a door is no longer a door when it is ajar. Are we no longer who we are when our mask is on, or is it part of who we are. Is our authentic self once seen at birth then moulded and painted as we grow, never to be seen again, but only to been experienced by the self within.

    Is perhaps the point of dedicating a life to a single purpose of helping others a life without eog, or is the ego still required as a mask/ camouflage to help get past those that may wish you ill.

    Without the ego can we survive in the world that is full of egos ? Can we interact, be taken seriously, make change happen.

    Perhaps in a world of no weapons, no material possessions, no predators, no internet (eeek!), there would be no need for the masks of ego. But that is not our world.

    Humans are creatures of discovery, as Daniel Gilbert wrote “Our brain accepts what the eyes see and our eye looks for whatever our brain wants.” He made the observation (not that we can confirm this with other animals) that humans are the only animal that thinks about the future.

    Whether we believe this or not, it is an interesting point in so far as the ego. Is this the ego talking to our authentic self, is our concern for the future driven by our ego, a mask of leadership, a hat of command ? Or is it about balance and the ego is just part of who we are, just as markings on some animals are there to confuse and camouflage their real self.

    I think I have to go back to the balance of nature and the planet we live on to see that while it is important to know what you are wearing, you should also be able to see how this can change outcome and affect.

    There is no setting sun, it is what our minds have created and accepted. Leaders are leaders because we have made them so. When we stop following they are no longer a leader, this is why MLK is and still is a great leader, because so many people still follow his examples and ideas.

    Did he have an ego, does it matter to anyone but him whether he did or did not, I don’t think so. I like the fact that you put the EGO as a mask, because like a mask it does not change who the person is behind it. It just allows that person to do somethings that they may not have had the strength to do otherwise. It may give them the extra inch needed for people to stop and take notice and in this crazy ever flattening world and inch may make a lot of difference.

    Get to know your ego, learn from it, study it, be comfortable with it. It may save you one day, it may make a persons day, it may create an event that changes the world for the better and you may just find you no longer need it and put it away.

    Who knows, the world is an amazing place to spend a life.

    Love your post, and my ego says you are one awesome lady!

    Reply to this comment
    • lollydaskal

      27. Aug, 2013

      Great points Simon a lot to process, I love your passion of conviction it speaks to me on many levels of my heart.

      The ego’s addiction and survival are based on the secret pleasure of negativity, which cannot be abandoned until it is first recognized, identified, and owned without shame or guilt.

      One has to see that this is just how the ego—which everyone inherits—operates, and recognize that it is not really personal at all.

      as in the world, The ego’s rigidity and resistance to correction are based on narcissistic egotism, pride, and vanity. The collective egos of whole nations bring about their downfall and destruction.

      The ego is a victim of itself.

      The ego defends its own limitations with prideful denial, thus becoming its own victim.

      The ego is a complex entity one that can be quite destructive if we do not pay attention.

      The ego is not the actual reality or source of life or existence, and is therefore vulnerable to dissolution. It is primordial but not essentially sovereign. It is dominant only until its illusory quality is recognized.

      THE EGO must be unmasked to move forward with greatness within Self.

      Lolly

      Reply to this comment
  18. Chantal Bechervaise

    27. Aug, 2013

    Great post Lolly! And some great comments and insight too!
    I see ego as a mask that we put on to protect ourselves and use as a self defence mechanism. Leaders seem to be under a lot of scrutiny, more so than other employees/staff, so it is important to recognize when our ego takes hold and we start making decisions, judgements and statements from that part of ourselves. We have to be in tune with ourselves to know when the ego is taking hold and step back and reflect. Reflect on the moment to see why we are reacting that way (triggers) and then re-focus on leading from the heart.

    Reply to this comment
    • lollydaskal

      27. Aug, 2013

      Great comment Chantal.
      It is the stepping back that helps us unmask the ego, for we see it for what it is… as you said, triggers, and then we need to refocus as you said to the heart.

      A person identifies with their emotions/ triggers because their mind is experiencing their triggers.

      and in actuality, the ego doesn’t have to die at all: life doesn’t come to an end; existence doesn’t cease; and no horrible, tragic fate is waiting to end life at all.

      Like the ego itself, the whole story is imaginary.

      One doesn’t have to destroy the ego or even work on it. The only simple task to be accomplished is to let go of the identification and to unmask the ego to see one’s real self!

      Through self-examination and inward focus, one can discover that all states of consciousness.

      Reply to this comment
  19. Terri Klass

    27. Aug, 2013

    A very poignant post, Lolly about the conflict between ego and self.

    Ego prevents leaders from discovering their true gifts and talents as it hides the genuine nature of people.

    We do need to put our egos aside to connect more deeply with others.

    We need to just be with others and allow them to enter into our lives as they are and as we are.

    Always appreciate you challenging us to be better and more in touch with ourselves.

    Reply to this comment
    • lollydaskal

      27. Aug, 2013

      Reality becomes self-evident when the obstructions of perception and mental activity are removed, including all belief systems.

      It is not really necessary to subdue the ego, but merely to unmask it and to stop identifying with it.

      Reply to this comment
    • lollydaskal

      27. Aug, 2013

      We are addicted to our thoughts. We cannot change anything if we cannot change our thinking.

      we cannot change our lives if we allow our ego to lead our living.

      Reply to this comment
  20. Daymond

    27. Aug, 2013

    Self-control to control ego

    Reply to this comment
  21. Greg Marcus

    28. Aug, 2013

    Lolly – great post.

    An ego out of balance leads to narcissism–we think we are the greatest think ever invented, or we think we are worthless. Both are unhealthy preoccupation with the self.
    There is a story about a famous Rabbi who walked around with two notes in his pockets. One said “I am created in the Divine image.” The other said “I am dust.” Together, they helped him maintain a balanced ego.

    Reply to this comment
    • lollydaskal

      28. Aug, 2013

      I know that story well. I love that you reminded me of it.

      what a beautiful addition to the idea of unmasking the ego!

      Thanks Greg.

      Lolly

      Reply to this comment
  22. Ajay Kumar Gupta

    29. Aug, 2013

    Dear Lolly,
    I appreciate your insights and agree with your concept about ego. I believe the ego comes from ignorance. Ignorance of not knowing oneself. The moment one starts knowing oneself, it start making distance from ego. One of the major reason to develop ego is getting more that what was expected. Or when someone acquire the position that he or she does not deserved, it creates ego.
    Yes, I agree that ego keep other people out. Egoistic people generally try to show their knowledge by various means. Sometimes through external appearance or possession. Sometimes, pulling someone down, or sometimes speaking more than what is required etc.
    Actually speaking such people influence the good culture by spreading the virus and making deserving and honest people uncomfortable for time being.

    Reply to this comment
  23. Stephen Lahey

    04. Sep, 2013

    Interesting conversation. I wonder, can anyone here think of a national political (elected) leader or C-Level corporate exec whom they feel is not an ego-driven personality? I can’t, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t any.

    Reply to this comment
  24. Raghunandan

    27. Oct, 2013

    Fantastic thought Lolly, its an eye opener for the leadership team.

    Reply to this comment

Leave a Reply