Recently, I came across this post on Ego from Frank Sonnenberg, an award-winning author.
Here he speaks about confidence spilling over, translating into egotism. Sharing 16 ways to keep our ego in check, he explains the difference between the two – “Confident people believe in themselves and their abilities, while egocentric folks have inflated opinions of themselves and care only about their personal interests.”
As someone who personally struggles with this tendency, I have always believed that more than confidence, ego stems from lack of security in our own abilities. After reading the article, I wanted to seek more from Frank. I realised that the best way to engage with him is by leaving a comment on his blog, which gets prompt replies.
Here is a snapshot of our brief exchange (including his very profound succinct response):
“Boosting one’s public image won’t help when the problem is self-image.”
This one sentence impacted me more than the whole of his article. How often do we say or do things to look better in the eyes of others? Very. But nothing can be more misdirected. No amount of external adulation will fill the gaps that lie deep within. Gaps that we even refuse to acknowledge.
No wonder, we’re unhappy and we don’t even know why.
In fact, ego is the direct result of one feeling threatened; which by definition showcases our weakness. We don’t particularly feel threatened by those things that we know hold no strength to harm us. Then wouldn’t this make insecurity, rather than confidence, a closer cousin of ego? Deepak Chopra, author and public speaker says, “The ego fears being made humble. The “I” is insecure and does not welcome being taken down to a lower position.”
I cannot recount the number of times I have felt my ego flare up because my ‘authority’ or my decisions were questioned. Not just that, I’ve seen so many times – not just in my life, but with friends and family also – pain mutating into ego. Maybe it was again an unpleasant awareness of how fragile our hearts can be, leading the offensively protective monster of ego to come out.
With the 16 ways mentioned in Frank’s article to keep the ego in check, we can take a step forward to become a more whole individual; who makes genuine efforts to live a humble, more inclusive life. Because it is only through filling these inner gaps, that we will be able to eventually break free from this prison of ego that we subject our own selves to.
You can read more of Frank’s work here. Happy reading and keep engaging!