It is important to be physically healthy. Without our heart, lungs and skin working as it should we have trouble, otherwise known as disease.
We need a healthy mind too. Mental illness is a modern epidemic.
As to where ego sits, perhaps in a grey space between mental and physical. We all need a healthy ego.
I first learned about ego in relation to Freud and his Id, ego and super-ego. (Explained to me my my big brother, psychologist at large).
I have forgotten most of that stuff now.
Ego to my understanding is your sense of personal value, your belief in your right to exist that should be no greater or less than another.
With a health ego you can take knocks, you can challenge without appearing a threat, you can receive criticism without crumbling.
Ego is the hard-hat of the psyche; it protects and supports the vulnerability that sits inside us.
It is easy to get carried-away, imagining our unimportance, considering the span of history, the size of the cosmos, the eight billion others with similar needs to our own, to see our smallness, our insignificance.
Ego is like riding a bike, or, as I learned this morning when practicing my front-crawl at Manvers Lake, a balancing act. Too much charging ahead without looking and you are off-course and careening into another swimmer.
When I was younger, I used to be able to control my bike without the handlebars. My balance, perhaps poise was in a better shape than nowadays, perhaps I just cycled more. Over recent months I have practiced to regain my balance, it is a challenge, there is always the fear of falling.
My ego as a young man was perhaps healthier too. When we are in our teens and twenties we perhaps can feel invulnerable. Most of that is ignorance, failing to acknowledge or understand all that pitfalls that lie before us.
A diminished ego is perhaps closer to my own experience than its opposite – the overpowering, overbearing egotist; the me, me and more me person. The world perceived by them; others reflections of themselves. The Enter the Dragon hall of mirrors. Me, me and more me (or Bruce or Han).
Here is to the ego, slàinte.
Life is hard, the hours and toil are long. We are, most of us set to work, to labour within systems that don’t see us as individuals, more as part of the machine, the mechanism that drives forward change and improvement.
For the most we are happy with this, so long as we can have some time to ourselves or our families at the end of the day. It is a battle. It is an effort to maintain. The pressures, whether overt or not, the unreasonable demands, the pushing, pulling, bullying and intimidation inherent in many workplaces or the uncertainty of tomorrow, the zero-hours tightrope, all make us human, fragile.
It is important – if you are not an egomaniac / egotist to tend to your ego, to provide nourishment, succour. To allow it time to recover from insult to rest, to grow, like a plant, its needs are simple but essential. Water it and it will grow. Starve it of light and moisture and it will wither.
What are you doing to support your ego?
And yes, that, for a second made me think, where am I in all of this? And, I am sure there must be an online test… voila – check out www.zoo.com/quiz/how-big-is-your-ego
I can’t vouch for the validity of this test although this is what it said about me:
How did you fare?
Enough introspection for one morning.
Have a good day!