Ownership And Ego

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Ego is the immediate dictate of human consciousness.
— Max Planck

We all have egos.  There's no getting around it.  While the ego usually gets a bad wrap because it's associated with a feeling of superiority, it can also make us feel inferior.  The ego is the part of us that tells us how we view ourselves.  It is the self between our instincts, or id, and our morality, or superego. 

Too often our ego is based on external forces.  We look at others to validate ourselves.  We feel superior to others because we have a bigger house or we feel inferior because we're not as smart.  But something funny happens when our egos are formed by outside influences: we lose our self.  When the ego is out of wack we lose our agency because we see our situations in life as fixed.  

But your lot in life is not fixed.  By taking ownership over our ego we can use it to harness our instincts.  Freud compared the ego and id to a rider on a horse.  The ego must control the id the same way a rider controls a horse.  It takes awareness, practice, and strength.

We start learning how to ride that horse at a very young age.  A violent toddler has not yet developed the ego so he or she gives way to the id, punching, kicking, and crying when frustrated.  We as parents act as the ego early on, teaching our children how to relate to the world.  In the same way, our parents laid the foundation on which our egos were built.  But that is only the foundation.  We continue to build the house throughout our lives.  We build additions, second levels, redecorate and remodel from time to time.  Sometimes we do it consciously, but most times we're building subconsciously.  We let our ego lean toward our id.  We judge our success on superficial standards of society rather than what's really important to us.

Taking control of our ego means setting our own priorities.  Maybe that means having more time with the family rather than a little more money at work.  It could mean spending some time volunteering or taking care of your health. 

So take ownership of your ego and stop letting your ego own you.