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The ego destroys a person from a combination of false pride and self-doubt.
It gives us a distorted image of our importance. When that happens, we think, “I am something.” We put selfish motives, personal security, self-importance, and happiness before others.
We are likely to make decisions that hurt us whenever we allow internal pride, envy, negative feelings, insecurity, or deceit to influence our judgment.
There are two primary ways in which ego manifests and destroys. The first is false pride, where we think more of ourselves at the cost of others. We might devalue others for personal credit and self-importance. The second is fear or self-doubt, where we think poorly of ourselves. We are consumed with our shortcomings, so we put others down.
When we devalue others for self-gain, take away credit from someone else’s success, and bad-mouth others because of our insecurities, we are destroying our achievements (and ourselves) first.
How can we overcome the barrier of the ego? Like this:
1. The ego is harmful.
The moment one realizes that ego is harmful, everything becomes straightforward. It is not worth protecting the ego. Remember, we always have a choice whether to side with the ego or not! There is greater strength in being humble rather than dwelling on one’s self-worth.
2. Give praise.
Practice giving credit to others. Whenever we are happy with the way things are going at work or in our personal lives, we can find ways to praise others for their contributions. Giving credit to others helps break down our habit of taking credit for everything.
3. Celebrate the success of others.
When someone has done a better job, rise above those insecurities and praise them. When we do this, even inwardly, we will feel happier.
4. Learn to put the needs of others before ourselves.
Changing our mindset will, in turn, change our outcomes. Do not give in to the weakness of the ego.
5. Ask for forgiveness (pratikraman).
If we continue to have negative feelings, insecurity, or too much self-pride (toward someone or ourselves), then ask for forgiveness from God. When we hurt others for personal gain, we can never be happy. Life is an echo; we receive what we give out. So try pratikraman—seek forgiveness for the hurt caused. This is a potent tool.
6. A morning prayer to trim the ego.
Every morning, we can say, “May no living being be hurt to the slightest extent through my mind, speech, and deeds.” By doing this, we have set positive intent before starting the day. Positive intentions bring positive results.
The ego is destructive; it harms others as well as ourselves. Plus, people enjoy being around those who are kind, modest, humble, generous, and gracious rather than selfish and full of false (or inflated) self-worth.