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What is ego?

Since childhood, I've encountered the word "EGO" often. There is significant weight to this word. Its presence or absence tells a lot about a person. We select friends and life partners based on it and it influences how people connect with us.

The ego dwells in every thought of us, it drives our actions, and it defines our personality. But it is so subtle, that we remain oblivious to its existence. Hence, we are unaware of its effects on our lives.

Without clearly knowing what it really is we cannot work towards managing our ego. Instead of telling you what it is, let me show you.

If you become agitated when others touch your belongings, claiming, "These are mine; I don't like anyone taking, breaking, or using them," it's a sign of ego. This is attachment to material possessions.

If you feel upset when someone abuses or hurts your parents, siblings, or friends, that is ego regarding people in your life. You would say, "These are my people, I love them. I don't like when someone hurts them." It is attachment to your parents, siblings, grandparents, relatives, friends, etc.

If someone tries to spoil your image, abuses you, points out your mistakes, blames or criticizes you, you feel worried. This reflects your ego. It is your attachment to, "What people will think of me."

On the contrary, if someone praises, appreciates, thanks, follows, listens, and agrees with you, you feel happy and fulfilled, that again is your ego. Your pride nurtures your ego.

In essence, ego revolves around anything that elevates your sense of "me, mine, or ours."

Some typical examples of where your ego dominates your rational thinking are:

When the people you love embarrass you, like your child failing in exams, your spouse complaining about you, or your parents telling silly things to your friends, you feel even more irritated. Even if the person hurting you is your loved one, you still feel equally distressed. That is your ego overshadowing your love.

When a five-year-old toddler laughs at you, you feel agitated at the kid. This happens because your ego fails to recognize the innocence. The same goes when a dog barks at you. A dog's nature is such that it will bark at unknown people, it is not targeting you.

When you are trying to find a suitable boy or girl for your relative's child, if their rejection of the prospect makes you angry, that is your ego your ego disregarding that the rejection pertains to the prospect, not you personally. The same reactions come when your ideas, resumes, or pitches get rejected, your friend is not taking your advice, your colleague doesn't agree with your statements or some citizen has a different opinion about politics. It just means that your ideas and their requirements didn't match. It has nothing to do with you as a person.

When you swear that, "I will never ever forgive that person or I will never ever forget what they said to me," that is your ego holding onto resentment keeping you away from compassion and forgiveness.

Tell me in the comments what is ego according to you.

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