Is Your Ego Unhealthy And Getting In Your Way
People tend to talk about egos like they’re a bad thing, which is unfortunate. Ego — your sense of self-worth – can help you to challenge yourself and achieve your full potential. It can help you to take care of yourself and to seek out opportunities and relationships that work for you rather than settling for what life throws at you.
Unfortunately, out egos can also get a little… inflamed. When our egos get too big for our own good – and it happens to everyone from time to time – they can actually work against us. An ego that is too big can lead you to take on tasks that are too big for you and to probably blame someone or something else when it doesn’t work.
They can also lead you to pass up good opportunities because you have convinced yourself that they deserve better. They can also lead you to seek out relationships that you can control or personally gain from rather than relationships that help you to grow as a person.
But how do you know if your ego is unhealthy and getting in your way?
Is It A Discussion Or A Debate?
How you engage with others can be a good sign that your ego has gotten too big. People with big egos tend to treat conversations as competitions – if they can’t get the last word, they should present themselves as being on the side that does. This may turn friendly discussions into arguments or lead the individual to chime into conversations about things that they don’t understand in order to feel like they are contributing.
Discussions should be seen as opportunities for learning rather than opportunities to showcase our own abilities. This means that you should be able to enjoy a conversation with someone who knows more than you and enjoy listening to a conversation about something that you don’t know much about. As the old adage says, “one should know everything that one says, but not say everything that one knows.”
This attitude can be difficult when talking to someone with a big ego, however. You may be trying to keep the conversation friendly and enlightening while the other person is trying to make it into a Lincoln-Douglas debate.
Is It Criticism Or Advice?
How you handle criticism is another important indicator. Whether it’s about how you do your job, how you mow your lawn, how you cook dinner, whatever, criticism has a way of cutting us pretty deep.
In most of our lives, reacting to criticism is a personal matter that comes up in the conversational realms of our lives. In some professions, however, it’s in the job description and an inability to take criticism can hold you back professionally.
Most of the time, when we think “criticism” we should instead hear “advice” or “concern.” Most of the time, when people “criticize” how we do things, it isn’t because they enjoy putting us down but because they have a genuine desire to see us do better. Just because they think that their way of doing something may be better than ours, does not mean that they think that they are better than us.
Of course, like the above situation, sometimes they really do think that they are better than us. In cases like these, it can be difficult to take what probably is best labeled “criticism.” It is probably best in these cases, however, to assume – or pretend that you assume – that the person really does mean the best.
Respond with gratitude and an intention to try it that way next time. If they seem put off or a little too pleased, perhaps they really did just want to put you down. If they seem excited, maybe you misjudged them – another sign of an unhealthy ego.