Do you ever wonder if you are emotionally mature? If you don’t, then there’s a good chance you’re not.
Because emotional maturity is indicated by emotional awareness, or, intelligence. That will require humility and a befriending of ego. Befriending of ego is a sure sign of maturity. But what does that mean?
How often have we been told that the ‘ego’ is bad, something we must master or even detach ourselves from. And we wonder why it seems such a battle to ‘fulfil our destiny’, elevate our vision or attain success…it’s like trying to climb a mountain with one eye, one ear, one leg, one arm and only half our wits about us. Our ego is part of what makes us human, what allows us emotional expression, part of our drive and our motivation and our determination. It helps us relate to others and to the world at large. By its very definition the ego seeks to realise our fundamental needs while still taking into consideration our spiritual or more elevated desires. It is the co-pilot on our journey through life, and if we are constantly trying to push it out of the car, no wonder it eventually wants to get into the drivers seat.
It is so easy to clump together all that is ‘good,’ all that is ‘bad’ and then address your energy accordingly, but in doing so you only feed into the bad stuff by starving it of your care and attention. I openly admit to enjoying praise, particularly for the things I really care about, my family and my work for example, and I like to think when it comes to work, that yes I do a good job and that I have a talent for it, however I also know that this has come about, and is able to be realised, because of the support of others, the kind words and encouragement they share…so I do greatly appreciate and value the praise and joy of others. Here my ego does a lot to support my self-worth and self-esteem.
Perhaps nurturing the ego is as much about being grateful for the positives it brings as keeping the negatives in check.
Maybe the most holistic approach to this question of dealing with our egos comes with the realization that there is no separation at all. It is all about perspective. We will all fall down at some point, we will all succumb to feelings and thoughts that bear little light on the truth, and it is exactly at that point that we must embrace the darkness for only then can it begin to heal and provide the setting against which our lights of inspiration, empathy, compassion and forgiveness can be seen.
The part of you that helps to push through against the odds, that lifts your chin and allows you to face the winds of change and stand firm, the part of you that smiles at the pleasure you give to others through your talents, or just your presence, the part of you that helps you to thrive in life, to finally succeed after many failed attempts… that part of you is not ‘bad.’
The parts of you that make up your ego, should you still wish to see them as such, are like your inner ‘Eden’ – a garden that when the soil is aptly prepared, the seeds are well sown, the plants are watered and the weeds are kept at bay, will offer a bountiful harvest in life, year after year. Leave it to dry out or be overrun by the weeds, then it will inevitably seek water and nourishment elsewhere and leave you nothing in return. As with all things ‘internal;’ the choice is yours, tend to your garden well. Do the weeding.
Brennan Manning states it this way: “I and my false self constitute one person. Therefore, hatred of my false self, is self hatred.”
Befriend your ego, befriend God, befriend yourself.
BH/ Sources: Dr. Nicole LePera, Kate Osborne