The concept of the ego, a term that comes from the Latin word for “I”, is one of the aspects of personality that people talk about the most . The most common definition of ego is haughtiness or arrogance, a self-image. That being said, it’s still just another mental construct, an identity that you build with your internal factory that’s churning out ideas, experiences, emotions, and needs.

Your authentic self lies behind the artifice of self, behind the external mask.

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The Ego - The Boastful Voice that Drowns Out Humility - Exploring your mind

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In his book, The Critique of Judgment, Immanuel Kant explained that the ego collects every construct and mental representation that the individual carries out. Jean Paul-Sartre , for his part, had a very similar conception of the ego.

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Sigmund Freud, the father of psychoanalysis believed that human beings are subjected to three counter-opposing forces that determine how they act and respond to the world. These forces are the ego, the id, and the super id.

Freud argued that the ego is the representation you make of the world around you. Likewise, it’s the entity that tries to control your impulses and basic instincts. It tries to satisfy your desires in a socially-acceptable way.

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  • Buddhists believe that the ego is an incorrect conception of the self. It comes to you at birth and integrates your image, identity, nationality, passions, culture, education, and beliefs. We become attached to these processes, they hide your authenticity.
  • The ego is a false identity that brings suffering because it subjects you to whatever you lack.
  • Eckhart Tolle believed that people are overly attached to their thoughts, fears, needs, and desires. He believes that the ego causes suffering.

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The ego from a psychological perspective

The psychological construct that is the ego is a part of you that you’ve built to move around in the social world. This means that it’s possible to have a healthy ego.

The opposite, then, is also true. You might be co-existing with a psychological entity that’s desperately trying to feed off the external world, desperately seeing recognition and attention.

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This makes you feel as if you’re constantly lacking something. This reflects a mind obsessed with knowing what others think. This is the kind of gaze that looks out into the world with fear. It’s being afraid to fail, not being loved, disappointing your parents, and having fewer money than others, etc.

Those masks, as we mentioned earlier, protect your inner weaknesses. A sick ego is the reflection of low self-esteem, of someone who hasn’t worked on their own identity.

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The ego isn't either good or bad. It's part of you, a subjective concept that you build yourself.

  • It helps you understand that everyone deserves respect and that satisfaction stems from tolerance and self-care.
  • Balance comes from good self-esteem. It helps you recognize the value of life and give it meaning.
  • When you find inner meaning, any external sense that you’re missing something will disappear. That’s where the true well-being revolution begins.

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