Ego, transition and the need to know
Most of us have a need to know what’s going to happen next. The same goes for your ego! Last week we kicked off talking about what the ego is and how it causes trouble when change is coming. If you have not read the post yet, I highly recommend you check it out here.
This week we’re going to dive straight into the first of the 6 needs of the ego – the need to know. Over the next few posts we’ll be exploring the other 5 needs as well, but I find this one a powerful one to start with.
The first thing to know about the ego is that its job is to keep you safe and alive. Back in the caveman days it was a lot easier for it to spot life threatening danger, but today our challenges and fears are a bit more complex. To make things easier, your ego has adopted one basic filter to manage in the modern world: it does not like change.
Because it’s driven by the need to know what’s going to happen, the ego does not like it when you grown and stretch. Growth means uncertainty and could even mean danger, so why risk it? That’s why the ego sends you thoughts and impulses from what I often call below the line thinking (or effect). You can read more about cause and effect in one of my previous posts here.
The paradox here is that every human being will have a need for growth on some level, so what you inevitably end up with is the internal conflict that part of you wants to move forward and the other part is scared, unsure and not keen to look like a fool if it does not work out.
The idea here is not to get rid of your ego, because you can’t. The fundamental things to remember:
- Know that the ego is there for a reason and be grateful that it’s trying to help you
- Notice what type of thoughts and feelings it triggers (especially during times of change)
- Communicating with yourself (and our ego) to move past the need to control and into a space of curiosity.
Ultimately we want to acknowledge the “red flag” that the ego is waving around and say “thank you for the warning, but I’ve got this“. Change can’t happen in a tight space of control. It happens when we back ourselves and tap into the certainty that “whatever happens, I can handle it“.
You might have heard the saying that “a confused mind will always say no“. Well that comes straight from your ego!
It will always be easier to say no and stay the same, because it doesn’t involve doing, feeling or thinking anything new. The thing I notice in many of the clients that come and work with me is that they’ve experienced too much pain from not changing and that’s why they have decided to shove the ego out of the way and move forward however loud its been screaming.
Awareness is the first step to create powerful and lasting change in our lives, so I hope you’ve found this a useful read. Next week we’re going to unpack the ego’s need to judge, another really interesting pattern to be aware of!