The word ego is often viewed as a negative word. We tend to describe people who have an ego as “big headed”, “always think their right”, “think they are the best at everything”, “too much confidence”, “cannot back down”, “don’t realize when to back off”, the list goes on.
According to google the meaning of the word ego is: a person’s sense of self-esteem or self-importance, self-worth, self-image and self-confidence. If this is true, then we all have an ego. We all have a sense of self-esteem, self-image and self-confidence. We can have days that we feel like shit and our self-esteem is ground level low, on other days when we feel great our self-confidence can be at an all-time high leading us to do things we thought we never could.
This is where we can use our ego in a positive way. I am not saying we all go around thinking we are gods gift to the planet, but we should use our ego to drive us to become better.
When we find ourselves in a difficult situation can we use ego to help push us through to the end? Yes, I believe we can. We need to draw on our ego to help us push further when our mind and body is telling us to quit. Having positive inner conversations that feed our ego is important. Telling ourselves that we are smart, confident, focused, committed, beautiful, caring, loving………. will help us build up our ego over time. Having a solid ego will help us achieve all the big goals and ambitions we have for ourselves. Ego will push us through to the other side when our goals seem impossible, ego will pull us up when we have fallen face flat to the ground, ego will help us see failure as a learning experience, ego will tell us we are worthy.
This weekend myself and George went on a long hike. We had done the hike in the past and enjoyed it. We normally do it much later in the year when temperatures are a little cooler. The day was a scorcher. On a normal day I would not be out in heat like 31°C.
Honestly, I struggled the whole way on this hike. The heat really got to me. I have a habit of constantly checking in with myself on climbs to see how my legs are feeling, are they strong or tired. My legs and body felt strong, but my head was hot, and no amount of water would get rid of the headache. We ensured we ate small snacks often. The only thing that kept me going was my ego on this climb. We had done it before, I knew I could do it, I had climbed bigger mountains in my life.
We were about 60min from our destination when I just felt l couldn’t go any further. The thoughts of climbing for another hour in the heat was unbearable. I had reached my limit, I still needed to climb back down the mountain safely. However, I knew George wanted to reach the top and his momentum was brilliant at this point (the man turns into a mountain goat!) I told him to keep going and he would catch up with me on the way down.
This is where I was beginning to let my ego get the better of me. I didn’t want to ask George to come back down with me because I didn’t want to look weak. I never want to be that person who drags other people down with them. We split the water and food between our bags and I was going to head back down until I realized, oh George really is going to go on without me. Then again, my ego got the better of me I decided to continue climbing up with George instead of turning back. I didn’t want to be the person who turns back, who didn’t reach the top, who failed.
We continued climbing 30 more minutes and then I finally said to George I had enough, and would he come back down with me. Of course, he did. Did I feel bad we didn’t reach the top, YES. Was I glad we turned back, YES. We needed every once of energy we had to get back down the mountain safely.
My ego helped me get much further than I thought I could on that hike, but it also pushed me too far. The challenge is knowing when my ego has served me in a positive way and knowing when it is adding no value. This is something I hope to work on for the rest of my life. Finding that balance of using my ego to drive me further but also knowing the right moment to pull back, knowing when enough is enough.
I hope you enjoyed my rambles.
If you have any thoughts on ego, please feel free to share.
Until next time,