Ego versus Confidence - There is a difference
“In much of the New Age and spiritual movement, personal ego and autonomy are frowned upon along with sexuality, passion, desire, need, and the sacredness of the body. While letting go of attachment and transcending the smallness of the ego are essential steps for obtaining a universal consciousness, this achievement is pure diffusion and possibly escape if we lack a healthy ego to support such transcendence.”
I have been struggling with the above eloquent summary by Anodea Judith for the past couple of weeks, or perhaps longer if I am honest with myself. Specifically about the part of stepping into our power – “a healthy ego.” A couple of months ago I was speaking to my therapist (yes, I go to therapy) and she was asking me why it was that I never spoke about myself, or the things that I was doing? Achieving? And I replied because I believed that everyone could do what I did that there was nothing special about it. Her reply was lengthy, but in line with Judith – there is an ocean between the language of arrogance and self-confidence.
When I was younger and prior to my current incarnation as yoga student and also teacher. I really had no problem speaking about myself or my accomplishments, my achievements and being proud of them. Now, I say very little about what I am currently working on, my most recent accomplishments, or even my past accomplishments, not to mention being proud of myself. I wouldn’t go so far as to say that I was apathetic about the things that I am doing or have done, but rather I preferred to keep them to myself. In the recent weeks I have found myself asking more and more why that is, in particular after my revelatory therapy session.
Why am I hesitant to say: “I have done this and I am proud of myself.” I even find that I took a long break from blogging because I began to think along the lines of: “Why are my thoughts, insights, musings so different from anyone else?” ” What do I really have to share with people?” But I realize much of that line of thought and those questions come from a place of making myself small or not stepping into my individual power, without being able to step into our own power we are unable to move through to higher levels of consciousness, awareness, that is a fact. If we don’t believe in ourselves it’s unlikely that others will.
A large shift has occurred for me over this past week. Have no fear the work continues, as it always does, as there is no destination (well I suppose if we are being technical, enlightenment – Samadhi is the destination) on this journey just the path you walk. Ones life experiences, achievements, goals, failures, and dreams are not something to shrink away from, but rather to walk towards, head held high. In particular, if you have done the work of discerning and as Judith says: “. . . letting go of attachment and transcending the smallness of the ego.” Then please sing it from the mountain tops.
We live in a society where we face a continual stream of images, captions, blogs, not to mention the constant inundation of personal promotion that we find thorough all forms of social media. In this world, comparison, which really is the greatest dis-service we could do to our selves, happens almost without thinking. We can quickly begin to believe that the most negative thoughts about ourselves are true, i.e. I am not good enough exactly as I am, or whatever our biggest negative self-belief may be. In this world it’s easy to dismiss our achievements or insights as not worthy, or at least it has been for me, however, the “times they are a changing” as the poet Bob Dylan once said.
The universal truth that everyone is awesome and everyone has their own skills and ability. So, my work at the moment is to let my little light shine, shine, shine and I hope you let yours shine just as brightly.