Saturday, May 10, 2008

Is Ego a bad thing??

I was really hurt by comments/assumptions made by someone I respected (see previous post). I've spent a lot of time thinking about the issue and how (if at all) I should respond to it.

During this time I saw the end of an Oprah show about the Eckhardt Tolle book she is featuring in her book club. I erronously thought it was about the greenhouse effect and ways to reduce the impact of it in your everyday life. No idea where I came up with that!

Anyway, the book is infact a self help book ... and my initial reaction on hearing the man speak and listening to excerpts taken from the book was that it was too "new age" for me - and reminded me of a guy that Oprah featured years ago called ...umm, Gary Zukov (or something similar). I remember thinking at the time that he had a lovely "buddhist like" philosophy and was so gentle and calm - but also out of touch with modern living and technology. He didn't even have a TV. I knew that such a "simple" mindset and way of living wouldn't fit in our high tech home.

Back to Eckhardt. One of the key points mentioned was that people should strive for/accept peace in the moment. It suggested that most often we struggle with this because we are either holding onto thoughts of the past (what if/why etc) or plans for the future which block us from just being happy and at peace in the moment. The reason we do this - we can't forgo our ego.

Hmm ...

After hearing that I realised that continuing to focus on the hurtful words said to me I was just making the pain last longer, and I couldn't "be" happy if I was harbouring these negative emotions. The more I thought about it, the more it hurt. I realised that "retaliation" or rebuttal wasn't going to achieve anything. I needed to let it go. So I deleted the offending emails. I felt better, as I wasn't reminded of the feelings of hurt everytime I opened up my email account.

Later in the day I was on the bus with MrM and the thoughts drifted into my head again. At the same time MrM stood up on my lap, looked me straight in the eye, smiled, then gave me a GREAT big hug. At that moment I understood what "peace in the moment" meant. Talk about the weight of the world being lifted off my shoulders - I nearly started crying all over again ... just because of the joy and relief I felt.

So it felt good...

Then I started to wonder why the comments hurt so much in the first place. Was it pride in my professional status? Was it ego?

I never thought I had a big ego. I never thought I cared too much about what others thought of me. I thought I was a pretty relaxed and independent person. I don't have that many close friendships and that didn't bother me 'cos I was happy in my own skin. Then I started to wonder ... am I actually a typical "martyr" .... sacrificing everything for my kids and family .... giving all of myself to my work (when I am employed!).

I imagine Eckhardt would say that this is all ego. The need to be wanted and valued.

That's where I have a problem ... whats wrong with feeling wanted or valued?? We are not loners. We are not pack animals either. But we do live in communities and family groups. My sense of identity and sense of self is closely linked to the roles I fulfil within my community. I chose to work in a service related industry because it makes me feel good. Does that mean I only feel good when I am recognised for helping others and I constantly seek that recognition? And is that "good" feeling actually pride? I don't think so, but it is a part of me.

I think I need to spend some time on "me". I am feeling so beat up with this move - I feel like I have aged 10yrs in the last 2 mths. I need to take time to reconnect with myself ... and my family. DH has been talking about our new home being a "seachange" for us. I think we need to take the time to find out!