The word happiness is defined in most cases as a feeling of contentment, or as a feeling ranging from contentment to intense joy. Happiness is an innate desire of the human being, and indeed it is our birthright. The universe in which we live is arranged to provide for our happiness through the dynamics of the law of attraction. That is, we draw to us that which we place our intent upon. If we focus on people, activities, even things that we love, or positive outcomes that we desire, we will draw them to us because our thoughts are a form of energy that act upon the workings of the universe.
This seems simple enough, right? Why is it then, that so many of us are unhappy, discontent, even depressed? Because ego gets in the way. That voice in your head, that one that talks incessantly, the one you listen to because you think it’s actually your voice, is actually the voice of your ego. It is the voice of fear. Ego hijacks your life by creating fears of every kind.
Allowing ourselves to be motivated, manipulated even, by those fears is what causes us to stray from the path of our purpose. That is, when we listen to the ego voice as if it is our own we remain unaware of our power and lose track of our purpose. We begin to focus on what we don’t want, what we don’t like. The ego has, at that point, succeeded in side tracking our happiness.
The ego is crafty and insidious. What follows is only five of the tactics ego uses to sabotage us:
#1 Guilt is incredibly effective at paralyzing our forward momentum. The ego knows this. It knows just what to say to us to stir up our guilt. The triggers are different for each of us, but no matter because ego knows our subconscious better than we do; it knows our past history, it knows everything. So be watchful, listen carefully. When you get the impulse to make a change, to do something that you’ve never done before, or something that you used to do that brought you joy, listen to what comes up in response to that impulse. If it’s negative it’s more than likely your ego talking.
#2 Insecurity – we all have more than enough of it and ego not only creates it, but uses it against us. For example, I’d like to take a yoga class. Ego says, you’re overweight and not only that but you’re too old. I have a choice. I can listen to that silly, mean voice, or I can tell it to leave me alone. When the impulse comes to you to pursue an interest, and is accompanied by a pleasant sensation and a compelling energy, you must follow it no matter what that ego voice tells you, because it’s the universe talking to you, assisting you to your path and your purpose and thus, happiness.
#3 Self-Deprecation is the handmaiden to insecurity. Many people use self-deprecating humor in an attempt to hide their insecurities. Self-deprecating comments are one of the ego’s mainstays for keeping us small and we listen to them all day long. They start when we look in the mirror in the morning and continue all the livelong day. Even when we try to not engage, we still do. For example, one of my goals for the day is to be more aware of negative thoughts towards myself. At the end of the day what do I hear myself saying? You have such a short attention span you can’t even remember to listen to yourself! Oops. I could remind myself with compassion, instead. You were so busy that you forgot to listen for the ego voice today.
#4 Anger takes us away from ourselves. It balls up our energy and hurls it at another in a defensive response that is most often intended as a form of protection. Or, those of us who avoid conflict stuff that ball of energy deep down where it sours and burns us from the inside. Our ego creates our fear of losing, our need to protect. It is sometimes difficult to identify the fear underneath the anger, but frequently the issue at stake is power itself, or said another way, control. When confronted by the anger of another allowing that person some control will diffuse the anger. On the other hand, when you feel anger flare up inside, you must ask yourself what you are fearful of losing. Anger is just another mask that ego wears to usurp your power and your happiness.
#5 Judgment of others presupposes separatism and disallows the belief of connectedness and oneness. It is an ego-based response and is always born of fear. Engaging in the act of judging others – their beliefs, behaviors, lifestyles, clothing, how they earn their money, or don’t earn it, or how they spend it – keeps us from our own lives. It distracts us from focusing on the intent of staying on our path and our purpose.
Happiness can’t co-exist with fear. In order to create more happiness in your life you must learn to identify the voice of ego and its manipulations. Ego has a lot at stake, which is why it is so determined to keep us off-balance. If in fact we become aware of our power, accept the connectedness of all life, learn to live with self-compassion and compassion for each other; if we trust the Mystery, however we choose to name it, to reveal to us our path and our true purpose for being here in this life; if we were to divest ourselves of ego – well, it would cease to exist.
Elizabeth Lehl lives in Vancouver, WA. She is the author of Journey From Ego, The Path To Healing. She can be found online at her blogs, www.elizabethlehl.com and www.journey-from-ego.com, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/authorelizabethlehl and via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Her book is available for purchase at Amazon, Barnes and Noble and Balboa Press.