Unworthiness & Ego Management
I think most people would think that it is a feeling of value or high esteem about yourself that results in a large ego...interesting enough that is not my experience at all...my ego is directly related to my level of unworthiness. It is like there is some sort of internal scale that is constantly seeking to balance itself.
If I feel worthy, whole, complete as I am, my ego is really fairly small. I can let others be who they are, I do not need to flail about for recognition or praise or shy away from blame. I can really just take it on the chin whatever comes.
But when I am feeling unworthy, worthless and poorly about myself, my ego becomes larger in this defensive strategy to protect this inherently wounded child that seems to reside deep within me despite years of therapy, recovery and an honest appraisal of the past and forgiveness of all of the “terrible” things that occurred. It is then that I feel that others are stupid, inferior, not worth my time, beneath me...It hurts to admit that...but it is true. I do really feel that way sometimes...thankfully, it is not nearly as much as I used to, there is improvement.
So what is this about? Why are my feelings of unworthiness driving the proverbial bus of my life? Why are the worst parts of me, or better said, the parts of me that I fear are the worst parts of me, driving this whole ego trip anyway?
It is simple, really.
When I am feeling valued, worthy, loved, honored by MYSELF, there is no place for ego to take over. But when I am feeling unvalued, unworthy, unloveable, dishonored by MYSELF, I need a boost, an ego boost and my ego is more than happy to oblige. Immediately the internal focus subsides and I look outward for acceptance, love, forgiveness and worth. I am immediately off the Erin game, and onto the anyone-but-Erin game.
My ego loves to jump in and re-direct my thinking and then feeling towards you, something and someone over which I cannot do shit about. Ever. It is interesting that my ego pulls me off of the honest self appraisal that makes me worthy and lovable, and sets me on a task which is dishonest and full of dysfunction, which leads me away from having the focus on me, what I am doing, how I am showing up in the world and distracting me with all of your bullshit. And it isn’t always bullshit, but really it is to me, because it is yours and whether or not you are behaving according to spiritual principles, is really NONE OF MY BUSINESS!
At the end of the day, my ego is jumping in to make up for what I inherently think I lack, or perceive that you think I lack, and make up the difference, which is actually really nice of my ego if you think about it. BUT, as with everything in my life, I have a tendency to overdo it, and so it goes with my ego. It takes loosely based facts, minimal feelings and weaves it into a story that makes me feel better about myself...immediately.
It is very helpful for me to realize that while my ego is always there to lend a helping hand, it is this feeling of unworthiness that always precedes my ego springing into action. It is my own unworthiness that actually maintains the ego.
I am not sure about you but this is super helpful to me on my spiritual quest...now, instead of falling victim to the bolstering and cajoling and blaming others, my ego’s chorus of responses, I can instead stop and see that perhaps I can deal with the feelings that have caused my ego to launch in the first place...
How do I deal with this fundamental and sometimes pervasive feeling of not being good enough? To whom do I feel unworthy? Why? Is it even true?
For me, I have begun to ask myself, regardless of the statement I make (good or bad) whether or not I could make the same statement about my child, parent, or friend. Could I say the same thing about them and conjure up a similar conclusion of their inherent unworthiness? So far, I haven’t been able to one single time. Which leads me to the conclusion that this undercurrent of lack of worth is a river that springs from the well of my character defects, practiced and honed over years on the whetting stone and meanders through my life as a corrosive tide that undercuts all that I do, all that I actually am and all that I might be. The stream of lack of worth goes nowhere...and I can see that very clearly now.