Time and time again I've come across clients and friends who say "How do I get rid of my ego?" or "This is your ego speaking". It is especially common in spiritual circles. It is essential to know that you can't get rid of your ego, but you can work on having a healthy ego. It is your ego, saying that it wants to get rid of itself.
Getting rid of your ego would mean being like an empty shell unable to say yes or no, unable to think, unable to do anything. Imagine personality breaking down and not functioning; that would be a harmful scenario. However, this does happen, and there are countless books about it and of the recovery too. Two that I highly recommend are "Breaking Down Is Waking Up" by Dr Russell Razzaque, and "Spiritual Emergency When Personal Transformation Becomes A Crisis" by Stanislav Grof, M.D., and Christina Grof.
However, you can have a healthy ego, and that is a life work in itself.
What is the ego?
We all develop a personality (ego) that over time changes and the healthier your ego, the easier it will deconstruct and adjust to life's natural transitions in development.
I know; easier said than done. We begin to develop our little personalities as we grow, and that is a joy to watch. We have brothers, sisters, friends and no two of us are the same. That is the beauty and uniqueness that we all share and is a universal paradox. We also share thinking that we are different, everyone that I've met in my practice desires to be "normal" or more like those ordinary people who they don't know that well. We share thinking that we don't belong; we share our rejection.
Then we also admire those who have embraced their uniqueness, quirkiness, the so-called free-spirited, the brave.
Here are some examples of unhealthy ego:
- resistance to change
- avoidance of responsibility
And for some of those on a spiritual path:
- denial of darkness
The ego has many faces and can also mask as "poor little me" or the "I am not good enough" and many other usually limiting games. I bet we all recognize this one.
I see all of the above in myself and have seen this in others. The good news is that we can work on these distortions.
When you decide to work on everything (step-by-step) that is limiting your self-expression, for some, it might come as a surprise to learn that what they need is strengthening and building up their ego. They will discover that their development was "arrested" at some point in their life. And that they have some catching up to do, and that is OK. We all have a different kind of wounding, and support available or not, to process what life brings our way.
So my spiritual friends work on your ego, so it is a healthy expression of yourself. Understand the necessary movement in life, personal to transpersonal, to universal, to One, and beyond.