The Ego vs. Self-esteem debate is as old as the hills. It’s one of those fundamental questions that we are naturally born with. When was the last time that you did something well? Did you feel a sense of achievement? Or was it a case of, “I did what I wanted to do,” and “I got what I deserved?”
When we examine the concept from an evolutionary perspective, it makes sense. The ego is really just the human version of a parrot – an animal that preys on its own offspring. In comparison, humans are more evolved and have higher emotions and a better sense of self. We are not creatures who need to justify everything in terms of our own ego.
We don’t need to justify ourselves. For instance, when I am engaged in an argument with someone, the last thing that I would want to think about is my own self-image or ego. (The same goes for when I’m listening to an argument on TV.) I prefer to concentrate on what the speaker is actually saying and why he is saying what he is saying. And it’s only when I take this focus that I can truly learn something.
On the other hand, the ego has a very important role to play. It serves as the filter through which we experience life. The ego gives us a feeling of security – it tells us that everything is okay and that nothing bad will happen. But what happens when there is a perceived threat – either real or perceived? In the end, if we allow the self-esteem to get in the way, we will be much more likely to shut down, rather than take charge and fight back.
This is why I often recommend that students, particularly those who are under chronic stress, cut their losses and go back to school. Letting go of any concerns about how they will perform or succeed helps them get past their issues so they can achieve their full potential. It also gives them a chance to regroup. It’s okay to have an ego – it’s just not going to do you any good if you’re always worried that your ego might sabotage you. In fact, letting go of that concern gives you room to become a better learner and coworker.
It takes some work and practice to be successful at improving your self-esteem vs. ego balance. The first thing you need to do is determine what your personal and career goals are. Then ask yourself what type of person you want to become. Once you know what you want, try to figure out a way to be happy with who you are today – but don’t let it get you down. You might find that getting rid of some of your illusions about yourself is the first step toward getting better at handling whatever life throws at you.
When you are trying to determine how to build your self-esteem vs. ego, it’s also a good time to make a real effort to improve your interpersonal skills. For instance, if you are unable to compromise when it comes to your paycheck, do something to improve this skill – such as practicing good listening skills. This does not mean you should give in to every demand made of you. However, learning how to listen properly can be a great help. When you have a good grasp of this skill, you will be able to communicate better with others, which can only help you in all aspects of your life.
One final area to improve your self-esteem vs. ego level is to make sure you spend enough time with yourself. You don’t want to feel like you are being spent on by other people, so make sure that you take the time to focus on yourself. Exercising and sleeping well can also help you feel better about your outlook on life. Getting rid of those meaningless worries is always helpful when it comes to building your self-esteem vs. ego.