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Courage for the ego

Why do we live in a society where it seems to be okay to keep moaning, complaining, belittling yourself, but on the other hand praising ourselves, being happy and curious for no reason is not okay? Many people try to overcome their ego, to weaken it or to shake it off. I take care of mine. For good reason.

Healthy ego = healthy self-esteem

A few years ago, right after giving a lecture, I received feedback from one of my former teachers. She said: "I don't see it that way myself, Janis, but there are some people who think that you are sadly cannibalizing your story in your lectures."

Phew, that came as a shock! I still remember feeling slapped. This statement from a familiar person made me feel deeply insecure. Was I too much in love with myself? Was I arrogant? Was I a crowd-pleasing egomaniac who filled halls with his victim-hero-story?

Switch into the now

Today I wouldn't let such feedback unsettle me anymore. If I were confronted with such a rating, I would neither feel slapped nor attacked. I would probably even have to grin a bit and answer: “Yes, of course I use my story to convey something to people. There is no other experience I can refer to as well as to my own. "

When I think back to that moment today, I see the development I've gone through in terms of my self-esteem and a balanced ego. My path, my experiences and my courage have led to a feeling of relaxed security. I know what I want and where my strengths lie. My tree of self-esteem has taken root. Such feedback would be a little breeze, but no longer a storm that would make me doubt myself, my drive for my work, for the stage and for speaking in front of people. I know what I am capable of and even, what I am not.

This is me

We live in a society in which we constantly criticize and belittle ourselves and where this seems okay. We say: “I didn’t do that well”, “That was wrong”, “That looks stupid”. But don't you say: “I'm proud of myself because I just did a great job!” Or: “I feel great, I am happy.” Then one of the stupid beliefs will probably strike you right away: “Self-praise stinks" or "Don't put yourself in the center of attention "- possibly said behind closed doors.

Try walking through a German pedestrian zone on a gray November day, grinning happily. It may only be seconds until you meet the first disparaging look, thoughts along the lines of: "He did drugs!"

Fun fact on the side: If you're in a wheelchair in this situation, it'll be even more fun. Now you know what I spend my free time doing...

Why can't we praise ourselves when we've done something well? What is wrong with a little self-praise or about finding yourself attractive? Why do we quickly tell curious children: “Don't be too nosy” or: “No, you don't ask why the man has no arms”? Yes, that's exactly what you do and ask! In all honesty: I find this cultivated behavior not only wrong, but dangerous. Especially when it comes to our self-esteem and better co-dependance, which is characterized by acceptance, appreciation, and respect. We should finally say goodbye to our beliefs, taboo subjects, etc. They don't do us any good and they limit us.

Because of these restrictions, the "ego" was downgraded to an absolute bad word. Society is fighting a real battle against the ego. To suppress it, it was interwoven with terms such as "arrogance", "selfishness", "haughtiness" and "pride".

The ego in a healthy balance.

For years I have taken care of my ego - my ME -, watering it carefully like a plant that grew small and tender in the beginning and is now firmly anchored in the earth with its roots. But you shouldn't do the same as I did with my houseplants, which have all died down miserably since my parents no longer declared themselves responsible for them.

Many people think that empathy and selfishness are at odds with each other. On the other hand, I believe that only a person with a healthy ego, who is at peace with themselves and able to keep an eye on themselves, can also take care of others.

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© 2024 Janis McDavid