Ego Intensification

FB EgoI am walking on the cliff of the river next to my city… I’m absent-mindedly watching the sky and the small waves… I’m one with the experience, in total relaxation… Nobody wants anything from me… nobody needs anything from me… My mobile phone is switched off so that nobody can find me… I’m just me and myself and the sound of the seagulls above me…

Suddenly, my eyes notice someone I know approaching from the distance. He didn’t saw me yet. But I did. I am torn away from my mental peace. In an instant I feel some sort of emotion that is violently intensifying. My mind starts to ramble. I double check the guy. Yes, I know him. I check my way of walking. I’m ok. I check my clothes and shoes. Are they neat and tidy? Yes, they are. Do the colors fit? Yes, they do. Am I dirty from the melting snow? Yes, but I’m fine. Do I have something on my head? Yes. But he’s a guy so I can leave my hood on my head. If he would have been a woman, I should have lifted it and my hair is not combed well. Why it isn’t? I don’t know, it should be! I don’t look after myself well enough! Why, I had enough time to do so… And a quarrel between several voices erupts in my head… At some point I’m no longer listening to them, but I remember I don’t have a job and the guy will surely ask me about this. What will I tell him? Nothing. I begin to feel guilty. Guilty for not doing anything with my life. A wave of sadness and remorse hits me in my solar plexus. I feel a powerful pain in my stomach, like a knife. In the meantime, the voices have finished their quarrel, obviously with no result. However, as the guy is approaching, I begin to look at how my body begins to straighten. Unconsciously I try to become bigger and stronger. Defiant maybe. I double-check my clothes and, again, painfully, my shoes. I think that I have an excuse because it snowed and the snow is dirty. Another thought is replying that it is not my fault. A third voice is beginning to count the steps until the guy will be next to me, while I frantically try to find an excuse for not being employed and for walking at that time in the morning on the cliff. A fourth voice is telling me that it’s weekend and it’s fine to walk along the riverside at that hour when people go to their jobs if it would be a working day. I’m already tired and distracted by so many thoughts. And I’m pissed off because I couldn’t find an excuse for being unemployed. This adds to the shame, the guilt and the sadness. And my inability to find a quick solution adds a little anger – I’m always finding solutions, why I can’t this time?! And I feel I’m beginning to blush and I question myself what is he going to think seeing my red face… and I reply to myself that it’s cold outside so it’s normal to have a red face and…

… the guy is next to me and I’m absolutely tormented. In a blink of an eye, I turn my head towards the river, covering my face with the hood. The guy passes by me. He didn’t even notice me. It’s taking me 10 minutes to calm down. But I can’t find the peace and reconnect with the river, the sky and the waves… I became too preoccupied about my future…

This is a scenario I made up. It never happened in reality. But I’ve chosen it to illustrate what some people call ego intensification. It’s a mixture of thoughts, emotions, physical sensations and actions that steal our focus from the present time, aiming to protect a construct we like to identify ourselves with: our ego. Initially, we can’t separate ourselves from our egos. But with the passing of time, we develop an ability called awareness. We are witnessing what’s happening in our mind: several thoughts stating directives from our parents (neat and tidy, combed hair, cleanliness, etc.), emotions (shame, guilt, sadness, anger), sensations (the pain in the stomach, blushing) and actions (straightening the body, covering the face with the hood). Everything has a unique purpose: to look good in the eyes of the other and maintain a good image of ourselves in our very own eyes. When we’re alone, we don’t need to defend our image (usually), but at the smallest awareness that someone is watching, we’re recalibrating ourselves. Some of us are rarely doing this, others are doing it all the time… it’s not the same for everyone.

The entire mechanism works on a single currency: value. The bias is that our value increases or decreases according to what we think, feel, sense and do. Our society has worked tremendously to build this belief, thus resulting huge egos. No wonder why it takes years to unlearn everything we’ve been taught and notice the difference between valuing and evaluating someone. The value is intrinsic and equal for all humans: the value is the right to be born on Earth (at least this is how I personally define it for myself). The evaluation is comparing personal characteristics against a set of requirements or a scale. This simple difference value-evaluation is enough to break the ego mechanism for the first time but how many people told you about this?

People are running their entire life after value. They are tricked to believe that their value increases when people “Like” them, just like in the image above. This is how Facebook works: inflating egos. And this is possible here on WordPress as well. If you “Like” my article, I will probably feel “added value” to myself… In fact, I felt this until I found out about ego intensification. It took me a while a dis-identify myself from my ego. Now, if you “Like” my article, I will still be happy, but my value will (hopefully) not jump to a higher level. I feel I was fooled too many times…

– The situation I made up is obsessive-compulsive, if not completely psychotic. Before labeling it, try to become aware of your own thoughts and the way they appear in your consciousness. I guarantee you’ll be scared.
– A similar monologue is depicted by Samuel Beckett in Waiting for Godot. You should see the filmed performance.

4 thoughts on “Ego Intensification

  1. Rosie

    Well, I wanted to begin by saying you were suffering from schizophrenia but you put your note at the bottom! LOL However you are quite correct that this happens to most of us at one time or many. I also believe there are a lot of societal pressures that are put upon us humans which lead to our egos being big, small or damaged. These include having a beautiful spouse or significant other, having good clothes, having a fit body and of course the best job.

    These attitudes, I believe, fall particularly hard on poor people, physically disabled people, mentally disabled, homeless people to name a few. If one has been deemed by society to belong to one of these groups, one is in for big trouble. As a physically disabled wheelchair using woman, I have so many times gotten the messages. They are quite mixed. With some people I am nothing, with others I am nothing short of a saint. With some people I am looked down upon because I am physically imperfect, while others celebrate my physical beauty. When I was in the working professional world, some people acted as though I was taking a job away from them, while others seemed to think it was quite appropriate that I work. There was also always that lunatic fringe who felt that I should be on welfare.

    It is all really very difficult to deal with if you are a person who has issues to begin with. For myself, I spent all lot of time with counselors trying to figure it all out. Even though I had been disabled since 3 years of age and had grown up being taught and believing I could do anything if I put my mind to it, I was unprepared for the reality that there were people out there who did not agree with me. Ultimately I would have to say that once I realized that I had been right all along I did not seek counseling any longer. Once I understood that this is my life and it is up to me, and only me, to live it and it is up to me to dress and think and believe and love who and what and how I want.

    I am ultimately and above all. a spiritual being. It is as the saying goes: I am a spiritual being having a physical experience NOT a physical being having a spiritual experience.
    Peace to all!


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