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5 Hacks to Overcome Your Ego

5 Hacks to Overcome Your Ego

“We either make ourselves miserable, or we make ourselves strong. The amount of work is the same.” 
― Carlos Castaneda

The ego, as Juan Matus describes it, is a dragon with one thousand heads. It is a destructive, blinding creature that forces us to believe that we are what we are, only in comparison with others. We spend energy believing this fiction, energy we could be using to enjoy life. What do you have to do to cut the heads of this dragon, overcome your ego, and claim your power back?

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1. Define your motivation

What drives you to take on a challenge? Most of us, most of the time, are excited to explore, learn, and sense. As we seek a source of motivation in life we will encounter an antagonistic fight between our higher self and our ego. The ego will force us to be motivated by what we achieve and conquer, whereas our higher self wants us to learn, experience, and live. The big difference between learning-based motivation and accomplishing-based motivation is that failing to accomplish leads to a crisis of self-worth. A learning-based motivation is the best way to overcome your ego and your unreliable accomplishment-based motivation. We can always learn even when we don’t succeed!

2. Focus on the process

Life is a process, not a trophy case. As Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “Life is a journey, not a destination.” When we start acknowledging life and its true essence we will realize that what really matters is what we experience during life and not its outcomes. In the process of life we find all the beautiful and unforgettable experiences. We find all the laughter, tears, kisses and troubles. We find our real passions, interests, and worries. In the process of life we find all that really makes life meaningful and magical. Our ego will automatically make us absorb an attitude where all we want is to arrive somewhere and achieve something. Our ego does not care about the process as long as it achieves and feels superior. If we follow our ego, we will never enjoy the present moment and all the adventures we can be part of. If we don’t arrive somewhere or achieve something, our ego will make us feel useless, demotivated and purposeless. Overcome your ego so you can enjoy the now, focus on the process.

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3. Don’t compare yourself to others

Your ego will always compare yourself with other people. That is its main source of power, the power that we want to claim back. When we compare our achievements and past performance with our present, sometimes we fall short. Sometimes we won’t succeed at something we had previously done or someone else has done. Our ego will punish us and make us fell inferior and useless. Our self worth will be affected and we won’t have a stable source of confidence. If we succeed and overcome others, our ego will make us believe we are superior and invincible, something which is certainly an illusion. Our self worth is totally subjective and should never be compared to others. This is what the ego wants to hide from us. We all have a value which is unmeasurable and unredeemable. Not comparing ourselves does not mean that we will keep a mediocre mentality with no goals. Not comparing ourselves means that we focus on becoming conscious about ourselves, destroying our unconscious habits and really knowing what we are made of.

4. Forget the habitual system

We are all part of a system, a big dominating system. But more specifically, we are part of a reward/punishment system, or as I like to call it, the win-or-lose mindset. Since we were little babies, we have been always punished when we make mistakes. This continued into school, high school, university, work and probably even death. Heaven or hell, reward or punishment? This system is just a way of feeding our ego and completely destroying our capacity to value ourselves. Our ego will make us feel superior if we win and we will always expect a reward from our successes. If we lose and fail, our ego will crush us down and make us feel like an ant in Manhattan. Forget this system and start noticing that we are not circus animals who need a reward to feel valuable and a punishment to learn. We are independent beings, fully conscious and aware. We learn through experience. The only real reward we should look for is the knowledge and power we acquire throughout our lives.

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5. Stop the boastful talk

Occasionally we mention our achievements, adventures and goals in conversation. Certainly it is a good icebreaker or conversation material but if we want to have dragon meat for dinner we will have to reshape the way we talk. As we talk with someone, our ego will automatically measure itself with this someone. As this happens we will start naming places we went, things we achieved, things we have, stuff we have done, and so on. The ego will fill all the missing spaces in our talk with personal material, material that obviously does the job to make us valuable and hopefully awesome and superior. We are awesome and valuable without the need of telling everybody our achievements, posting on Facebook, or replying to someone´s brag with our own glorifying speech. By acknowledging that our achievements are ours, we will notice that what other do does not really matter. We will obtain personal power and become independent from our ego and the different opinions about us!

Featured photo credit: Grimace/RyanMcGuire via pixabay.com

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Last Updated on March 30, 2020

What Does Self-Conscious Mean? (And How to Stop Being It)

What Does Self-Conscious Mean? (And How to Stop Being It)

Have you ever walked into a room and felt like your nerves simply couldn’t handle it? Your heart beats fast, you start to sweat, and you feel like all eyes are on you (even if they’re really not). This is just one of the many ways that being self-conscious can rear its ugly head.

You may not even realize you’re self-conscious, and you may be wondering, “What does self-conscious mean?” That’s a good place to start.

This article will define self-consciousness, show how practically everyone has faced it at one point or another, and give you tips to avoid it.

What Does Self-Conscious Mean?

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, self-conscious is defined as “conscious of one’s own acts or states as belonging to or originating in oneself.”[1]

Not so bad, right? There’s another definition, though — one that speaks more to what you’re going through: “feeling uncomfortably conscious of oneself as an object of the observation of others.” For those of us who regularly deal with extreme self-consciousness, that second definition sounds about right.

There are many different ways self-consciousness can spring up. You may feel self-conscious around people you know, like your family members or closest friends. You may feel self-conscious at work, even though you spend hours every week around your co-workers. Or you may feel self-conscious when out in public and surrounded by strangers. However, you probably don’t feel self-conscious when you’re home alone.

How to Stop Being Too Self-Conscious

When you’re in the throes of self-consciousness, it’s nearly impossible to remember how to stop feeling that way. That’s why it’s so important to prepare ahead of time, when you’re feeling ready to tackle the problem instead of succumbing to it.

Here are a variety of ways to feel better about yourself and stop thinking about how others see you.

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1. Ask Yourself, “So What?”

One way to banish negative, self-conscious thoughts is to do just that: banish them.

The next time you walk into a room and feel your face getting red, think to yourself, “So what?” How much does it really matter if people don’t like how you look or act? What’s the worst that could happen?

Most of the time, you’ll find that you don’t have a good answer to this question. Then, you can immediately start assigning such thoughts less importance. With self-awareness, you can acknowledge that your negative thoughts are present and realize that you don’t agree with them.[2] They’re just thoughts, after all.

2. Be Honest

A lie that self-consciousness might tell is that there’s one way to act or feel. Honestly, though, everyone else is just figuring life out as well. There isn’t a preferred way to show up to an event, gathering, or public place. What you can do is be honest with your feelings and thoughts.[3]

If you feel offended by something someone says, you don’t have to smile to be polite or laugh to fit in with the crowd. Instead, you can politely say why you disagree or excuse yourself and find a group of people who you relate to better. If you’re nervous, don’t overcompensate by trying to look relaxed and casual — it’ll be obvious you’re putting on a front. Instead, nothing is more endearing than saying, “I’m a little nervous!” to a room of people who probably feel the exact same way.

On the same note, if you don’t understand why someone wants you to do something, question it. You can do this at work, at home, or even with people you don’t know well. Nobody should force you to do something you don’t want to do.

Also, even if you’re willing to do what’s asked of you, there’s nothing wrong with asking for more clarification. People will realize that you’re not a person to be bossed around.

3. Understand Why You’re Struggling at Work

Being self-conscious at work can get in the way of your daily responsibilities, your relationships with co-workers, and even your career as a whole. If you’re facing some sort of conflict but you’re too nervous to speak up, you may be at the whim of what happens to you instead of taking some control.

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If you’re usually confident at work, you may be wondering where this new self-consciousness is coming from. It’s possible that you’re dealing with burnout.[4] Common signs are anxiety, fatigue and distraction, all of which can leave you feeling under-confident.

4. Succeed at Something

When you create success in your life, it’s easier to feel confident[5] and less self-conscious. If you feel self-conscious at work, finish the project that’s been looming over your head. If you feel self-conscious in the gym, complete an advanced workout class.

Exposing yourself to what you’re scared of and then succeeding at it in some way (even just by finishing it) can do wonders for your self-esteem. The more confidence you build, the more likely you are to have more success in the future, which will create a cycle of confidence-building.

5. Treat All of You — Not Just Your Self-Consciousness

Trying to solve your self-consciousness alone may not treat the root of the problem. Instead, take a well-rounded approach to lower your self-consciousness and build confidence in areas where you may struggle.

Even professional counselors are embracing this holistic type of treatment[6] because they feel that the health of the mind and body are inextricably linked. This approach combines physical, spiritual, and psychological components. Common activities and treatments include meditation, yoga, massage, and healthy changes to diet and exercise.

If much of this is new to you, it will pay to give it a try. You never know how it will impact you.

If you’re feeling self-conscious about how your body looks, a massage that makes you feel great could boost your confidence. If you try a new workout, you could have something exciting to talk about the next time you’re in a group setting.

Putting yourself in a new situation and learning that you can get through it with grace can give you the confidence to get through all sorts of events and nerve-wracking moments.

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6. Make the Changes That Are Within Your Control

Let’s say you walk into a room and you’re self-conscious about how you look. However, you may have put a lot of time and effort into your outfit. Even though it may stand out, this is how you have chosen to express yourself.

You have to work on your internal confidence, not your external appearance. There’s nothing to change other than your outlook.

On the other hand, maybe there’s something that you don’t like about yourself that you can change. For example, maybe you hate how a birthmark on your face looks or have varicose veins that you think are unsightly. If you can do something about these things, do it! There’s nothing wrong with changing your appearance (or skills, education, etc.) if it’s going to make you more confident.

You don’t have to accept your current situation for acceptance’s sake. There’s no award for putting up with something you hate. Confidence is also required to make changes that are scary, even if they’re for the better. Plus, it may be an easier fix than you thought. For example, treating varicose veins doesn’t have to involve surgery — sometimes simple compression stockings will take care of the problem.[7]

7. Realize That Everyone Has Awkward Moments

Everyone has said something awkward to someone else and lived to tell the tale. We’ve all forgotten somebody’s name or said, “You too!” when the concession stand girl says to enjoy our movie. Not only are these things uber-common, but they’re not nearly as embarrassing as you feel they are.

Think about how you react when someone else does something awkward. Do you think, “Wow, that person’s such a loser!” or do you think, “What a relief, I’m not the only one who does that.” Chances are good that’s the same reaction others have to you when you stumble.

Remember, self-consciousness is a state of mind that you have control over. You don’t have to feel this way. Do what you need to in order to build your confidence, put your self-consciousness in perspective, and start exercising your “I feel awesome about myself” muscle. It’ll get easier with time.

When Is Being Self-Conscious a Good Thing?

Self-consciousness can sometimes be a good thing[8], but you have to take the awkwardness and nerves out of it.

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In this case, “self-aware” is a much better term. Knowing how you come off to people is an excellent trait; you’ll be able to read a room and understand how what you do and say affects others. These are fantastic skills for people work and personal relationships.

Self-awareness helps you dress appropriately for the occasion, tells you that you’re talking too loud or not loud enough, and guides a conversation so you don’t offend or bore anyone.

It’s not about being someone you’re not — that can actually have adverse effects, just like self-consciousness. Instead, it’s about turning up certain aspects of yourself to perform well in the situation.

Final Thoughts

When you’re self-conscious, you’re constantly battling with yourself in an effort to control how other people view you. You try to change yourself to suit what you think other people want to see.

The truth, though, is that you can’t actually control how other people view you — and you may not even be correct about how they view you in the first place.

Being confident doesn’t happen overnight. Instead, it happens in small steps as you slowly build your confidence and say “no” to your self-consciousness. It also requires accepting that you’re going to feel self-conscious sometimes, and that’s okay.

Sometimes worrying that there is a problem can be more stressful than the problem itself. Feeling bad for feeling self-conscious can be more troublesome than simply feeling it and getting on with the day.

Forgive yourself for being human and make the small changes that will lead to better confidence in the future.

More Tips for Improving Your Self-Esteem

Featured photo credit: Cata via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Merriam-Webster: Self-conscious
[2] Bustle: 7 Tips On How To Stop Feeling Self-Conscious
[3] Marc and Angel: 10 Things to Remember When You Feel Unsure of Yourself
[4] Bostitch: How to Protect Small Businesses From Burnout
[5] Psychology Today: Self-conscious? Get Over It
[6] Wake Forest University: Embracing Holistic Medicine
[7] Center for Vein Restoration: What Causes Venous Ulcers, and How Are They Treated?
[8] Scientific American: The Pros and Cons of Being Self-Aware

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