Ego: Relationship killer!
One beautiful summer night, my girlfriend Stephanie, who happens to now be my wife, and I were driving home from a date. We were in her car so she was driving. After a few moments she turned and told me to put on my seat belt.
This happened to be a very introspective time in my life. I was on a quest to figure out this whole ego thing. Although I had read about it, for some reason that wasn’t enough. I needed something more, but I didn’t know what.
My inquiry about the human ego was like a pebble in one’s shoe. You carry on with your day-to-day life and yet, in the back of your mind, you’re always aware of the existence of that pebble. For months my ego inquiry was always just below the surface of my mind, waiting for answers.
I was living in a question, just as Einstein did when he watched clouds pass during months and even years of intellectual inquiry. Living in the question is simply the process of asking a question of no one in particular. It’s just sending that question out into the cosmos, the subconscious, or the source of all things, whatever you want to call it. It is the act of waiting for life to give you the answer or solution you seek.
Stephanie’s request for me to put on my seat belt was an entirely reasonable and legal request. I turned to her and said. “No.”
She looked over at me like I had lost my mind. She said, “Could you please put it on?”.
“No, I don’t want to put it on,” I defiantly responded to Steph’s second request.
“Will, you have to put it on, it’s the law, you’re in my car and I’m responsible.”
“I’m not putting on my seat belt,” I forcefully stated. “I don’t want to, and I don’t have to, so drop it.” Yeah I know, I was being a jerk. Now just so you know I am a seat belt wearer and always have been. I choose to wear one to save myself from becoming a human projectile through the windshield. But for some reason I took exception that night to being told what to do.
That incident, unfortunately, mushroomed into a larger argument between Steph and me. After the dust settled, an uncomfortable silence accompanied us on our long journey home.
At that moment in the dashboard illuminated darkness, the cosmos, the subconscious, the source of all things, whatever you call it, showed up to slap me upside the head! My quest to understand the ego had leapt off the pages of a university text book and become a real life movie with me in the starring role. I had taken the affection I had for the beautiful woman I loved, plus the affection she had for me, and traded it all in for my need to be in control, my need to be right and my need to win the seatbelt battle. I had come face to face with my own inner beast, my ego, and all of its scheming manipulations and pettiness. All for the sake of…ME.
In the exploration of your ego don’t judge it, simply become aware of this nature of yourself. You are simply shining a bright light of personal awareness on a hidden part of your existence that will eventually set you free of it.
Have you jeopardized relationships in your personal life or in your career for the sake of being right or wanting to win? When you really examine it are not being right and winning rather lonely victories at times?