Self Discovery

The Self vs The Ego: Which Are You Acting Upon?

We all are entities of love

We often get so caught up in how we feel and acting upon it, that we don’t take the time to uncover why we feel these ways and take part in these actions. Often our initial responses and thoughts aren’t based upon who we actually are, but who we feel we need to be in order to protect our raw, authentic identity. This is the battle between the ego and the true self.

Two Components

Our actions, thoughts, and beliefs ultimately root themselves in two components of our being: the ego and the true self. Separating these two elements is the first step toward internal and external understanding of the world around you and those that inhabit it. Learning to do this is strange at first, but once you get the hang of it, can alter your life.

The Ego

When you’re offended, angry, or experiencing vanity or insecurity, that’s your ego at play. The ego thrives in moments of uncertainty and risk.

Any situation in which you feel the need to be shielded from someone or something, this part of yourself surfaces. It is comprised entirely of cover emotions, which are mostly negative in nature.

Societal expectations and pressures and voices indicating that you’re not enough shape and mold the ego. Repetition of these thoughts then lead to indulgence in the polar opposite mindset of vanity to shield you from the pain of the cultural “reality” that is inadequacy.

We compare ourselves to others to check our own egos and occasionally indulge in comments to bring others down and inflate ourselves. The ego takes part in many small and large actions within our lives.

Contrastingly, the ego is also the same voice that submits to the societally-induced negative self perception you may harbor. Those days you just feel awful about yourself and resort to comparison by means of validating these thoughts, that’s the ego again masking the true emotion of fear or pain.

When you act upon the ego you’ll feel frantic, hot-natured internally and externally, and uncentered. The ego only worries of the negative outcomes of uncertainties.

Acting in accordance to the ego is often much simpler than digging deeper to find the true cause of your feelings and subsequent actions.

The ego’s voice is much louder than that of your true self, so you must lend an attentive ear to the more positive, enlightened counterpart.


Everything Has a Purpose

While you shouldn’t fully listen to and obey your ego, there’s no need to condone it. This part of ourselves comes from a place of self-defense and therefore self-love.

Instead of following what your ego believes, recognize those thoughts and extend gratitude for their concern.

Respond to ego-thoughts with something along the lines of:

Thank you for your concern, but everything is okay. I don’t need to subscribe to those thoughts or actions. Everything is effortless and exists in positive abundance.

Your Highest Self

Now, acquaint yourself with who you truly are, your highest self.

The feelings and thoughts deep within you that the ego aims to drown out, that’s your true self. When you listen to her/him, they speak in calm tones of reassurance and truth.

Often this part of you surfaces in positive actions. Those times where you’ve indulged in the ego, snapped at someone, and then apologized after reflection and the realization of your wrong-doing and true emotions: that’s the real you!

We all want to act in kindness, we all want to love and be loved, it’s really quite simple. However, our ego feeds on the fear of acting in accordance to these desires and not receiving them back.

To react and act with your highest self, focus only on what is, that’s where this part of ourselves blooms.

Don’t concern yourself over possible perceptions, uncertain outcomes, or the ways you may fall short. Focus on the beauty around you and in all that you are. Focus on the magnificence of everyone and everything that surrounds you in this moment.

You can reflect upon what might be, but while simultaneously knowing it will be exactly what you need, when you need it.

Your true self barres no judgement against yourself or others. It only observes, even when encountered with ego-centric tendencies.

Embrace Freedom

At first, navigating your life in this way may seem odd and intimidating. Perhaps you’ve been lending an ear to the ego for longer than you’d like.

Don’t judge yourself, but instead extend gratitude for becoming self-aware. The ego sometimes comes about as means of survival and there’s no shame in that.

Focus on today. Embrace the newfound freedom of realizing the oppressive shield that exists as negativity and anger isn’t apart of you. You can remove this barrier whenever you like.

You have the power to free yourself from the societal ideas of inadequacy and thrive in the honest desires of your soul.

We are all in our entirety entities of love. If we all lend an ear to that self, we, and those around us, will prosper in incomparable, authentic compassion.

Cover image via Stanford Graduate School of Business


Also published on Medium.

Sarah is a sophomore studying journalism at the University of Miami. She...