“The most common ego identifications have to do with possessions, the work you do, social status and recognition, knowledge and education, physical appearance, special abilities, relationships, personal and family history, belief systems, and often nationalistic, racial, religious, and other collective identifications. None of these is you.”
Many, many years ago I was on Match.com as was my dad and my friend Kait and too many people to count. They may be awesome for finding people to be in relationships with but none of the people I know, including myself ever married or stayed with anyone they met on a dating site. Maybe this is why. You fill out a form and put your name, work, race, social status, family history, belief system, the work you do, and lastly a picture of yourself: weight, height, hair color, eye color etc. Hey, your chances of finding “the one” go up fifty percent if you post a picture of yourself. But what defines a person. All of the questions on forms that are designed to meet the love of your life are questions based on the ego. Yes, some of these questions (ok, mostly all of them matter to finding the person you want to spend the rest of your life with.) However, none of these questions have anything to do with who a person really is. We as people are often times defined by our job, physical appearance, education level, race, and religion. What the hell is that? I fall for it too: no my ego does. When a person asks me in a very demeaning way: “Oh, your just a mom and you nanny?” I answer. Why do I feel the need to answer such a question. I go in defense mode as if being who I am and what I love to do is not enough. I sadly say without even thinking about it: “Oh, no I have my degree and was a medical social worker up until got pregnant. And I am so excited to have more children, I hope one day. Oh, and I write.” Who cares? My answer should be: “I am a mom and I love it. I could not find a happier job or more fulfilling if I tried.”
It is exhausting and increases anxiety and pain when the ego takes over the true self. Sure, I am in shape. Yup, got my degree. I was a social worker. I have a good home. I love my family. Yes, I have long brown hair. I do not have a religion: spiritual but not religious. I have a car. I am Irish, German and Sweedish. I graduated top of my class in college: amazing. Yup, my parents divorced at a young age. I have a half brother but hate the word half. I like writing, reading, exercise, traveling, and playing outside. Is that who I am? NO. My passions and what brings me joy and my enthusiasm are part of me but the rest is just crap.
So what if I am in shape: it is not to look good or get attention (not needed, I’m happy with myself.) I exercise because it is part of how I manage pain. Yea I have degree in Social Work: took longer than four years for a four year degree. Fell down a few times because of brain surgery and chronic pain, ended up in Colorado and then Minnesota where went to Mayo Clinic to learn how to manage this pain without medication or treatments. Then got my degree but I only graduated top of the class because I loved learning about social work and helping people. It is not difficult or work if you love it. I have a good home, great home on a lake. I love it. It belonged to my Grandmother, La La but that does not define me. Guess what, my Jetta is missing three hubcaps but I like to keep the remaining one on because I really don’t care even though everyone I see or know brings up the damn hub caps. I was a great social worker when it came to helping families and being with my patients. My last boss thought I was awful because I was not selling their company well and not getting enough private pay patients into the facility. Well, guess what I suck at selling anything. So, he was totally right. I sucked at what they considered to be a social worker. I am a mom. Most of the time I am a great mom because I love being a mom. I love learning with my daughter, teaching her, exploring places, and oddly if I won the lottery I would adopt many children because I love kids. But, I have my moments. I freak out and get stressed and just want to scream at times because toddlers are difficult and there is no perfect way to be a mom. Keanu Reeves says in the movie: “Parenthood” a quote my dad and I always reference to. He says: “Ya know, you need a license to drive, you need to be eighteen to vote and twenty one to even have a sip of alcohol. But any asshole can be a father.” Our world is kinda screwed up in the way it views success and how each person is defined by their looks, gender, race, job, status, and possessions. Throw in an invisible illness and the stress of the world and our own egos just magnifie that physical pain like nothing else can.
I am really trying to ignore my ego and stop listening to the chitter chatter in my mind that never shuts up. This is hard. This is what we need to be learning as children. You are not defined by your job, income, possessions, social status, looks, or anything other than your inner wisdom and the non-ego part of you. The sad part is that most of us grow up only listening to the ego so we are screwed and are probably going to be very unhappy because we never really found out who we were/are.
Do not let anyone tell you who you are or what you should do or how you should manage pain. Listen to your inner wisdom: not your mind and ego. They just make a mess of everything. Read Eckhart Tolle’s quote as many times as you can. Follow your dreams, find your passions, and make no excuses for how you choose to live your life. And stop answering questions to people who really do not give a crap about your answers. Do not be ashamed of yourself: that is not you: it is your ego.