The ego can be quite an unreasonable perfectionist.
Recently, I met with my ego. This side of myself is familiar enough that it didn’t feel like a meeting, but it was the first extended meeting on paper in a long time.
I have been wrestling since this encounter to put into words just what the ego is all about and what you can do about it, but nothing seemed right. However, I will share the few thoughts I do have about this side of one’s self, and you can decide if it’s valuable or not.
The source of struggle, the part of you who fears death and desires immortality. He also looks down on those “simple people” who don’t pursue great things like him.
When you think about death, what are some of the thoughts that come up? This can be for yourself or others. Perhaps one of the thoughts in there goes something like this: “It isn’t fair, it’s not fair that I should die, that anything should end. I’ll find a way to avoid that kind of finality…”
The force inside you that those thoughts come from responds to death and loss with the desire to become immortal. It wants to become “somebody”, to make its mark on history, or to simply live on through the memories of others. I can come up with all sorts of ways to do this, too. For instance, say you have a hobby you like, such as Badminton. Maybe this part of you thinks about training to be an Olympic level Badminton player, and to win fame and fortune through that. THEN it will be remembered, THEN it will have surpassed death.
Had a talk with another one of my malcontents today, who I call “paranoia”. Found out several things about this guy:
His whole job, as he defines it, is to avoid death.
Since there is no room for error in this job, he can get pretty stressed out.
Also because of no room for error, he often extrapolates suspicions about what might possibly lead to death, and tries to make sure those paths are avoided. This can get pretty extreme, for example something like, “we’ve got to make sure we keep up good appearances to others so that we don’t get stigmatized and thus are more likely to fall into poverty and thus die early.”
Ultimately, his purpose for starting this in the first place was to preserve life. By doing his job right, he can preserve the lives of those who enjoy life.
By consequence, he is afraid of letting down those who enjoy life, for if they are ever endangered, he’s often the one to get the blame.
I finally got him to calm down a bit when I told him that if any of those he’s trying to protect ever did blame him, or ever did die – whatever might have happened is part of life – and he can rest in knowing that he did everything he knew to do possible. Anyone who still has a problem with this is being unfair to him. Maybe it’s a small change, but at least I got through to him. He was extremely paranoid, after all. And even if it’s a small voice within one’s self, that paranoia can make life pretty chaotic.