In self-help literature, we often read about the benefits of diminishing or eliminating the ego. Many write as though the ideal existence involves giving away all their stuff and doing away with attachment to anything. If that’s truly your calling, then go for it!
But what if you want to just be a regular person and feel good about yourself? What if you want to have a rich and exciting life, whether or not you have material abundance? Is there a way?
Instead of associating ego with detrimental personal traits, you could associate a strong ego with strong character. With a developed ego, you learn to have a healthy sense of self. And a healthy sense of self helps you be a person of character.
You can also work this in reverse: act like a person of character and you’ll learn to have a healthy sense of self. In other words, you’ll develop your ego in a positive way.
“The moment you become aware of the ego in you, it is strictly no longer the ego but just an old, conditioned mind patter. Ego implies unawareness. Awareness and ego cannot coexist.” Eckhart Tolle
What Is Character?
How do you act like a person of character? Here are some attributes to start with. Maybe you can think of some more that you’d like to demonstrate in your everyday life.
- Courage: The ability to move forward when uncertain or fearful. This gives you a lot more options than you have when you feel too timid or fearful to take action.
- Charity: When you help others, you help yourself even more in the end.
- Discipline: Asserting control over yourself and your daily habits will strengthen your ego.
- Adventure: Explore the world and its abundance of offerings. By having a better understanding of the world, you’ll understand yourself and others better.
- Honesty: People who act or speak dishonestly often do so because they’re trying to hide the truth about themselves. Be honest and upfront in all your dealings.
Expanding Your Mind Strengthens Your Ego
In addition to practicing good character, expanding your mind contributes to a happy and full life, strengthens your ego, and gives you more opportunities to demonstrate your character.
Consider these ways to use your mind for your benefit:
- Evaluate your model of the world. How do you act in response to your model of the world? Can you reshape your actions to bring about more desired results?
- Create a social support system that best serves you. Humans are social animals. Our interpersonal interactions and our environment have a significant impact on us. Fortunately, to some extent we all get to choose those around us. Include people in your life that support your highest vision of yourself.
- Become more capable. The mind can take us all sorts of places, whether we want to go there or not. Ultimately, though, we can choose where we want to direct our mind. Use your innate intelligence to tell your mind where to direct attention. Choose your focus wisely and you can strengthen your character and lessen your fears.
Eliminating the ego can involve withdrawing from and rejecting life as a whole. But growing your ego will result in engaging more with life. By building your character and your intellect, you’ll be able to bravely push forward and create the life you and your loved ones deserve.
“The ego is always looking to find something – the spirit can see what’s already there.” Marianne Willamson