Ego Wrangling

You know the types: The swell-headed “geniuses” who believe the world revolves solely around them… the friend whom you’ve dubbed “Mimi” because all she talks about it is me, me and more me… the big-headed colleague who takes credit for work they haven’t done… the competitive showboats who never think they should lose – and if they do, it was unfair. These are all examples of egotistical behavior that is both off-putting and difficult to deal with.

Although a healthy ego is something to be admired, radiating confidence and self-awareness, an unhealthy ego – that is, one that has become bloated with overconfidence and a warped sense of self – throws relationships off-balance and affects anyone who comes in contact with the ego-tripper. Discussions become skewed to the egomaniac’s point of view, with no possibility of concessions to others, which is dangerous to both work and personal interaction.

When one encounters this at work, they are forced to balance tact, diplomacy and office politics with a need to complete projects successfully. Likewise, in sports, the player who forgets that there is no “I” in “team” risks losing the game for everyone because their ego requires them to be the hero who scores the basket, rather than safely tossing the ball to their teammate.

Ego systems at home
At home and in love, this resonates even more profoundly because those who’ve nurtured their partner’s egos – or overlooked an inflated ego – will find themselves fighting for balance in every area of their relationship. Having to employ the same efforts used in the office against the narcissist is especially frustrating on home turf because it throws decision-making, sex-life, outside friendships – basically every element of one’s union – into a tizzy. And, let’s face it, it’s just plain tiring to have to either bolster or ignore someone else’s ego all the time or to have to hand over control.

Marriage, for example, is not an ownership – it’s a partnership. But how can one be a partner with someone who seems to suck the air out of the room all the time? If your better half blames you for their mistakes and refuses to be held accountable, how do you navigate through life with such an imbalance?

Well, you don’t. It’s up to your partner to change. And how do we get that to happen? In the book Egonomics: What Makes Ego Our Greatest Asset (or Most Expensive Liability, one is advised to “sit down and talk to them about what you’re noticing, and make sure it’s not your own ego.” If you’re sure you’re not the one who’s practicing one-upmanship or bringing every topic around to you, then the problem lies with your partner. If that’s the case, see if they are aware of their impact and try to teach them some humility.

In yoga philosophy, we learn that ego is embedded deeply in our thinking, based on past situations. To free oneself from ego, one must be objective and sensitive. So you must find those elements in your partner’s behavioral and emotional spectrum and outline expectations for them. Set an example by using sensitivity to reflect their behavior. They’re likely to be shocked by what you see, and will at least tone down their actions. Be gentle, though, this could be rocky terrain for them and it will take some effort for them to tone down and realize how fulfilling it can be to truly be part of a team – even if it’s just a team of two.

“A good day for the ego is a good day for the soul,” goes the insightful anonymous quote. If you truly care for your partner, it’s worth it to ensure their ego stays in check for the higher good of the relationship. Practice patience and loving care and you will see results.

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  1. Pingback: Sage Wisdom…or Jedi Mind Trick? | Adrianne Stone

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