We all know the answer: we create our own ego.
As we saw in the earlier post, ego is essentially our attachment to ourselves—everything related to 'me' and 'mine.'
You can see the earliest trace of ego when we are as small as 1-2 years old.
We often playfully tease kids with statements like, 'Your mama is mine,' 'This is my chocolate,' 'Mama loves me more,' or 'I am stronger than you.' The most common responses of kids are: "No! mama is mine," "Chocolate is mine," "Mama loves me more," "No, I am stronger!"
We applaud their reactions and cute expressions, saying, 'See, they are so small yet they already realize the difference between what belongs to them and what does not.' However, these are the initial manifestations of ego—the sense of 'I' and everything related to it begins to form. We start shaping our identity in our minds. We start painting a picture of ourselves. We start creating a movie where we are the only main character, the only hero of our movie: 'I am a girl. I am an Indian. I go to school. I love drawing. I love my parents. My parents love me.' and so on.
The imaginary plot of this movie gets altered, revised, and edited by life experiences. As we age, the plot gets exciting. We get so engrossed in it that we start perceiving everything as the creator of the movie. Our only intention is to make the hero shine. We want to build a strong image of ourselves so we see everything through the lens of 'I' and 'me' only. We don't see the reality as it is.
When something good happens we add engaging narratives that make the hero of 'I' dazzle. When something bad happens we hide incidents to protect the hero. When something neutral happens that doesn't affect us, we add twists that will reinstate the shrewd hero. We always say, "You wouldn't believe what I just saw? I saw two people fighting and ... (adding mirch-masala to a small incident)," "I think you should not do this but do this," "I knew this was a bad idea."
Every experience, emotion, observation, taste, touch, or sensation influences our self-image. Everything that enters our mind influences our story, our identity.
The creation and modification of ego is such a natural process that we navigate life through the lens of ego. Our actions are influenced by how the hero, 'I', is impacted. We can't completely halt the process of ego formation, but we can become aware of what we are creating. We can develop a wise image of the hero that never breaks or flourishes.