Have you ever looked back on your own behavior and thought;
Why the heck did I do that?
Maybe you’d had an argument with a friend or a loved one and you’d overreacted to something that was completely unnecessary. Maybe you were triggered by an old insecurity about relationships or you’re sitting here wondering why you’ve been so hard on yourself at work.
The reason we do these things that sometimes seem out of line with what we feel and believe is because of something that we all have, but that we could do with a lot less of.
In the West, the term ‘ego’ is typically used to refer to your self-concept, or more specifically in a Freudian context, the organized part of the psyche that mediates the drives of the Id and the super-ego. Sometimes we always use ego in a colloquial sense to mean the self of self-importance, usually over other people.
In Eastern philosophy, ego usually means the feeling of I, which is all past karma that may be imprinted in an individual.
Either way, however we define ego, we all know that it’s something that gets in our way. Typically we can agree that reducing our ego is a way forward towards better relationships, a more open attitude, and a healthier sense of self.
However loosening the grip we have on our ego can be difficult in a culture that is focused on inflating the sense of the individual through achievements and rewards, social media accolades and personal narratives.
For this reason, it’s valuable that we take moments to reflect on the ego; what it is and how it harms us, so that in our reflections we may develop a necessary degree of self-awareness.
So without further ado, here are 18 quotes about the ego to inspire self-reflection and self-awareness.
“The ego is not master in its own house.” – Sigmund Freud
“Ego is a social fiction for which one person at a time gets all the blame.” – Robert Anton Wilson
“Part of me suspects that I’m a loser, and the other part of me thinks I’m God Almighty.” – John Lennon
“There is nothing that strengthens the ego more than being right!” – Eckhart Tolle
“Your ego is your soul’s worst enemy.” – Rusty Eric
“Ego is to the true self what a flashlight is to a spotlight.” – John Bradshaw
“Anytime there is a struggle between doing what is actually right and doing what seems right, then your ego is interfering with your decision.” – Darren Johnson
“The instinct that pulls us towards art is the impulse to evolve, to learn, to heighten and elevate our consciousness. The Ego hates this. Because the more awake we become, the less we need the Ego.” – Stephen Pressfield
“Love is happy when it is able to give something. The ego is happy when it is able to take something.” – Osho
“When one is without ego, one becomes infinitely free of all personal judgements, and perceives life and the world with divine eyes and mind. Nothing is offensive to them and they remain in perfect serenity and peace always.” – Mooji
“Spiritual practices help us move from identifying with the ego to identifying with the soul. Old age does that for you too. It spiritualizes people naturally.” – Ram Dass
“When ego is lost, limit is lost. You become infinite, kind, beautiful.” – Harbhajan Singh Yogi
“All you need to know and observe in yourself is this: Whenever you feel superior or inferior to anyone, that’s the ego in you.” – Eckhart Tolle
“Have you ever wondered why the slang terms for intoxication are so demolition-oriented? Stoned, smashed, hammered. It’s because they’re talking about the Ego. It’s the Ego that gets blasted, waxed, plastered.” – Steven Pressfield
“If you learn how to make fun of yourself, your ego will go down.” – Nirmala Srivastava
“Your ego is an avid interpreter. It is so quick to interpret events as ‘bad’ or ‘good,’ or ‘right.’ It never fails to see the little picture.” – Robert Holden
“The decision to make the present moment into your friend is the end of the ego.” – Eckhart Tolle
“Egotism is the source and summary of all faults and miseries.” – Thomas Carlyle
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Ben is a freelance writer and the creator of Project Monkey Mind, a blog that looks at Psychology and Spirituality to find practical wisdom for the digital age.
To learn more about the Ego and how one may go about getting rid of it, check out his latest blog post: What is Ego Death?