Advertising
Advertising

What Happens When Ego Closes Our Mind but We Aren’t Aware of It

What Happens When Ego Closes Our Mind but We Aren’t Aware of It

Protests. We see them. We discuss them. Some of us even participate. The world seems to have fallen into a state of dis-contentedness, as the rise of the outspoken individual or group takes center stage in our modern politics. The true phenomena however, isn’t the high number of people exercising their right to free speech. The phenomena is the effect that open expression is having on practitioners and spectators alike.

We like to think of ourselves as open-minded, no matter how askew or jaded our perception may be. Though there are undoubtedly some whose action is pure – other’s have taken the idea of open-mindedness, and used it as a form of discrimination all their own.

They double down on their beliefs, regardless of what additional information may be received, and ostracized those who oppose them. This ironically causes the opposition to react in the same way.

The once steadfast and just cause, can now take the form of a close-minded prejudice. This effectively leaves all persons involved defensive, angry, and striving to prove themselves as valid. This is commonly referred to as the backfire effect.[1]

Advertising

We’re not born to be open-minded.

Doctor Saul Levine of Psychology Today believes that this developed bias may stem from our internal desire of strictly positive and agreeable information.[2] Levine states that –

“…This Denial is akin to Stephen Colbert’s “Truthiness,” in that these deniers adamantly refuse to accept verified scientific facts because they get in the way of their own rigid ideas”.

Every individual wants to believe or hold something to be true. At that time there is still a sane and rational response to added information, and therefore an ability to alter an opinion.

It’s when we forge an emotional connection with the idea or belief, that logic is no longer a factor. The goal is to be right, despite what information may be learned.

Advertising

When this happens the individual in question is no longer fighting for a just cause, but rather for their ego, stability, and their personal understanding of truth. This in turn causes them, to close themselves off from anything that may stand to the contrary, creating an endless cycle of misappropriated frustration and a general stagnancy in mental and emotional growth -i.e. close-minded thinking.

But this doesn’t mean we can’t become open-minded.

When we allow this to happen to ourselves, not only does it harm our personal growth, but also hinders the education of, and willingness of others to see an opposing point of view.

Once emotions are brought into a rational dispute, the feud tends to become displaced from a field of reason to an ego, and self-propelled motive.

If we can stop ourselves before getting carried to this point – we may have a chance to not only have our voices heard, but hear others as well, and possibly gain some insights on why there is such a hostile disagreement in the first place.

Advertising

There is no solution to an argument once you refuse to accept the entirety of it. We should – at the very least – attempt to understand and reconcile our ideas with that of the opposing side.

At the very least, a tad bit of sympathy, can open the door to a conversation that can truly lead to a solution.[3]

Be willing to step outside of yourself, and you will be granted the gift of understanding.

So before you glue together your picket sign, run to Twitter to complain, or rant for hours to an agreeing friend, keep in mind-

  • You can’t solve a problem, without fully understanding it.
  • Ego can get in the way of what’s right or just.
  • Not everyone is an enemy, they may just be misinformed.
  • Sympathy, will win you an ear. Vindication, will cost you a voice.

It’s great to be right, it’s okay to be wrong, it’s best to understand and to be understood.

Be calm, and truthful in your endeavors. Be open to the opinions of others.

Advertising

Stay out of your own way, and allow reason to intervene when your emotions begin to pry.

Become truly open-minded.[4]

Reference

More by this author

Antwan Crump

Novelist, blogger, essayist, podcaster.

What Happens When Ego Closes Our Mind but We Aren’t Aware of It The Hardest Part of Being a Minimalist That Most People Have Overlooked 5 Ways to Beat Procrastination How to Survive the Holidays. 5 Productive Ways to Multitask

Trending in Psychology

1 How to Detect a Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing 2 How to Be Happy: Why Pursuing Happiness Will Make You Unhappy 3 The Desire to Be Liked Will End You up Feeling More Rejected 4 Why a Life Without Pain Is the Guarantee to True Suffering 5 How to Do Meditation at Home to Calm Your Anxious Mind

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising
Advertising

Last Updated on May 7, 2019

How to Detect a Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing

How to Detect a Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing

Work in any competitive field long enough, and you’re bound to run into a wolf in sheep’s clothing. It’s a powerful image. A shepherd watches over his flock to protect them from harm. He’d chase away any predator that tried to make its way into the flock. A clever wolf wearing the skin of a sheep as a disguise can sneak by the vigilant shepherd and get into the herd undetected.

The story isn’t just a colorful description–it’s a warning to all of us to beware the wolf in sheep’s clothing. They may seem innocent, but they have ulterior motives. They’ll use different tactics to camouflage their intentions.

The person who is kind to you, but undercuts you when you aren’t around is a wolf in disguise. A wolf in sheep’s clothing might pick your brain for ideas and then pass them off as their own to get a promotion. They’re always looking out for themselves at the expense of everyone around them.

Wearing a Disguise Has Its Advantages

People don’t go out of their way to manipulate others unless they’re getting something out of it. Hiding their intentions gives wolves the chance to manipulate other people to advance their own agenda. They know that what they’re trying to do wouldn’t be popular, or it might cause struggle if they presented themselves honestly.

Advertising

    They’ll be able to do what they want with less interference if they put on an act. By the time people figure out their true motives, the wolf has what it wants.

    Signs That Someone Is a Wolf in Disguise

      Advertising

        1. They live to take power instead of empowering others. A wolf uses people as stepping stones to get the things that they want. They don’t care what happens to anyone else.[1] A wolf at work might make you look bad during a presentation to make themselves look amazing in front of the boss.
        2. Wolves seem sweet on the outside, but they’ll show you their teeth. If wolves revealed their true identity, people wouldn’t associate with them. They develop a friendly or kind persona, but they can’t keep up the act 24/7. Eventually, they’ll reveal their aggressive tendencies. A wealthy person who likes to break the law may make sizable charitable donations to convince people that they are kind and thoughtful. These donations largely keep them out of trouble, but if someone calls them out, they destroy that person’s reputation to stifle the criticism.
        3. They manipulate through emotions to get what they want. Wolves know that they can get ahead by appealing to your emotions. They find out what you want and need, and they give you just enough to keep you quiet and compliant. Imagine that your boss is a wolf in sheep’s clothing, and you want to ask for a vacation. She might try to play on your guilt and feelings of insecurity to get you to skip vacation or take fewer days off.
        4. A wolf will charm you first. Wolves are experts at manipulating the people around them. They appear interested in whatever you’re doing, and you’ll get the impression that they care. After they get you where they want you, they do just enough to keep you on the hook. This is the coworker who may start out being your friend, but they end up dumping responsibility onto you. When they see that you are growing frustrated, they’ll surprise you with something to charm you some more. Then, they’ll continue to do whatever they want.
        5. Their stories are full of holes.  Calling a wolf out is the surest way to make them squirm. When this person tries to come up with a story, it won’t make much sense because they are improvising.[2] The classic example of this is the significant other that you suspect has cheated on you. When you ask them why they came home so late, they’ll either become upset with you, or they’ll make up a weak explanation.

        How to Spot a Wolf

          Know What’s Real So You Can Spot the Phony

          Do some homework so that you have as much of the story as possible before you work with them. Research how they respond in certain situations, or give them hypothetical problems to see how they respond.

          A job applicant might tell you that she’s always positive and thinks of herself as a team-player. That’s what every employer wants to hear. During the interview you ask applicants to work in groups to solve a problem to see how they handle the situation. The applicant “positive team-player” is bossy and negative. You’ve spotted the wolf.

          A wolf will tell you something that ultimately benefits them. Gather evidence that proves or disproves their position, and see what happens. Chances are, when you choose the side that supports their agenda, they’ll act like your best friend. If you disagree, they’ll become aggressive.

          Spotting a potential wolf–especially if you are one of the sheep–can present you with some challenges. If your gut tells you that a wolf is lurking among all the other sheep, pay attention, and make sure you take the next step.

          Advertising

          Ask Questions, the More the Better

          There’s nothing wrong with asking questions to uncover the truth. The safety of everyone in your group is at risk. Since wolves often make up stories, you may be able to call them out when their tales lack details.

          When they state an opinion, ask “Why do you think that?” or “How do you know it’s like that?” They’ll have trouble coming up with enough information to pull off the lie.

          Since wolves are always pretending to be something they aren’t, they don’t usually have a clearly thought-out reason for what they say. In a debate, they won’t understand the root of an issue.

          They may also tell you what they think you want to hear, but when pressed for more information, they won’t have anything to add. Their knowledge is superficial. No matter how much you try to encourage discussion, they will not be able to carry on a conversation about the subject.

          Advertising

          Wolves Are Everywhere

          As much as we want to believe that everyone has the best intentions, it isn’t always the case. Some people only do things to benefit themselves, and they don’t care who they hurt in the process.

          Wolves in sheep’s clothing can be found in almost every setting. You can’t get rid of them, but if you can spot them, you can avoid falling into their traps.

          Reference

          [1] Association of Biblical Counselors: Three Ways to Spot a Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing
          [2] Power of Positivity: Beware of a wolf in sheep’s clothing

          Read Next