Ego and Self-esteem
A lot of time we are so involved in feeding our ego that we forget our self-esteem. Am I making any sense?
Yes, off course. There is a difference between the “I” in ego and the “me” in self-esteem. What I am trying to convey is the line between the two is thin and one can easily fall prey to ego while dealing with self-esteem.
To start with, let’s first understand what does self-esteem mean. Well according to the dictionary, it indicates the confidence one has in their own abilities. Ego is feeling of the pride from self-esteem or self-confidence. Since pride is the only feeling that separates these both, there is every chance of slipping into each other.
To make this concept simple, Imagine this situation at work.
You have put in lot of time and effort for an important report to be presented at some meeting. Your manager reviews the report and comes back with lots of pointers for improvement. He doesn’t appreciate your efforts. What would you do?
- Would you, like most of us, retort back that you had put in lot of hours and efforts on this particular report and a little appreciation would be good? Well, this is our ego speaking. It speaks up because our pride is hurt.
- If you hear out your manager’s claim calmly and then go and check the report once again, you are on a different path. This is the first step towards understanding self-esteem. If you are able to accept that you might be wrong and come back with a better report, then you have, conquered your ego. I understand that there is a good chance that you report is without any error. Still, self-esteem is seen when you convey in clear terms the time and effort put in this report, without expecting any appreciation from him. You let him know that you value yourself above his criticism.
This concept of ego and self esteem can be much clearly understood from a family situation. Let’s say that in a modern nuclear family, one of the spouse’s goes to work while the other is a home maker. During some disagreement or tiff in the family the working spouse tells the other that they don’t do much in the family, how does ego and self-esteem show up?
- Ego shows up in the form of volley of harsh words, thrown between the spouses, each saying how valuable their contribution is. It ends with neither being convinced with the other’s point of view.
- Self esteem on the other hand would be calm in the eye of the storm. It shows up in non-violent action. The self esteem empowers the spouse to calmly look for options to feel valued. It forces the spouse to show their contributions in actions than scream about their daily chores.
It is my opinion that when we keep repeating “I did this, I did that” it just vanishes without a trace in the minds of the listener. What prevents us from realizing our self-worth without a sense of pride? Jealousy, anger, aggression, stress etc blind us and project a false sense of self appreciation. When we are able to get past these feelings, we understand our self-esteem.
When we empower ourselves to take a stance, that we are unique and less than none, self esteem comes to play. It enables us to become better versions of ourselves. Every task performed by us would always be better than the previous efforts. A general sense of satisfaction and happiness prevails.
This in turn leads to the path of self-actualization.
To have conquered our ego’s and project our self esteem would be the our greatest reform.