On Happiness

- brought to you by Unique You, - www.UniKyu.com
 
Imagine gong through an entire day without being angry or offended... a day in which nothing disturbs you, in which you aren't endlessly distracted by thoughts about everything you want and need... a day in which you can happily and effortlessly devote yourself to your work, your family and your friends.  Imagine the freedom.

Such days are possible -- if you learn to tame your ego.  Here's how to do it.

The ego exposed...

The ego is nothing more than a vision of who you are... who you wish you were... and who you are constantly trying to be.  It's the idea that you are your physical body, separate from everyone else... and that you desperately need to be important.

It's your ego that constantly tried to prove that you're special by competing with others... putting people down -- struggling to dominate... and trying to accomplish an ever-growing number of achievements.

Problem:  The ego's appetite is insatiable.  The glow of each achievement fades more and more quickly.  The security of money leaves you hungry for more.  The thrill of victory is overshadowed by the fear of defeat.

Key:   Becoming more than just your ego.  What I call the higher self or sacred self is your deepest, most authentic I.

It's the part of you that feels connected to others and to nature.  When you feel at peace -- filled with calm enjoyment and the knowledge that you have what you need -- you're in touch with your higher self.

Importance of taming your ego...

Your ego has been part of you since childhood.  You can't destroy it.  If you fight it, you only make it seem more real.  What you can do is tame your ego.  Make friends with it by recognizing its insistent demands and working to let go of them.

Many people worry that taming their egos will rob them of achievement and success.  This isn't true.  If you aren't constantly striving and  competing, you will have time to experience success.

When you're not absorbed in yourself, you can concentrate fully on what you're doing -- rather than worrying about what's in it for you... and/or other people's opinions.

How to tame your ego...

  • Take note of how often you use the word I in conversations.  Each time you use it, you remind yourself of your self-importance, your concern about things affect you and about how you're doing.
 
  • Blind:  While using the I  word sounds great to you, it almost always has the opposite effect on others.  The word makes them feel less significant and, therefore, they are less likely to have a positive impression of you.
  • Better:  Instead of thinking about you, think about what you're doing and its impact on others.
  • Strategy:  Listen to the person who is talking rather than thinking about ways to respond.  You should not be trying to show that individual that he/she is wrong... or to bring attention to yourself.
  • Take notice of other thoughts that refer exclusively to yourself.  These include demands, feelings of offense, the urge to be better than others and fear of having it worse than others.
  As an experiment, surrender your self-concern.  Every time you're aware of self-referential thoughts, turn your attention to the other person or to the task at hand.  Try it for a day... or a half-day... or even a half-hour.
  • Strive to be absolutely honest.  By its very nature, the ego is deceptive.  Driven by the need to win approval, it exaggerates accomplishments and denies frailties.  When you are able to wriggle out of your ego's grip, you'll find that you don't need to exaggerate to feel sufficient.  Instead of projecting a false self, you can be perfectly honest.  The truth will set you free from your need for the good opinions of others.  When you no longer need approval, you'll act in a way that earns it spontaneously. 
 
  • Strategy:  Commit yourself to the truth.  Catch yourself when you're about to exaggerate about anything -- from how fast you run to how much money you make.  If in doubt, be silent.  Notice self-aggrandizing thoughts, and let them go.  When your ego is no longer in control, admitting errors holds no terrors.
  • Learn to meditate.  Regular meditation shatters the ego's illusion of separateness and brings a sense of inner peace.  Here's what I do...
 

 

  • Sit quietly in a place where you won't be disturbed, and envision your mind as if it were a pond.  On the surface, there's constant chatter of thoughts, desires and self-concern.
  • Then imagine a pebble dropping through the pond's surface and through your mind.  Visualize it drifting deeper and deeper, through layers of analysis, emotion, concepts and ideas.
  • Imagine a bubble around the pebble so that any chatter or disturbing thoughts that try to penetrate it bounce off.
  • As the pebble descends, imagine the clear, peaceful, unrippled depths, where the true I -- your sacred self -- resides. 

Do this for 15 minutes every day.

  • Eliminate your need to always be right.  Become aware of the ego's underlying fallacy.  If you're not right and everyone knows it, someone is better/smarter than you.  Not being right can be embarrassing -- but does it truly reflect your inner worth?
  Sometimes, of course, it is important to prevail.

Example:  An inebriated friend who wants to drive home must be stopped.

But how often is conflict generated by the ego's striving?  Is it worth sacrificing peace to convince your partner that the luggage must be stowed in the trunk your way?

All too often, the ego feeds itself showing up other people.  The need to show off your knowledge... prove someone wrong... or constantly say I told you so are all part of the ego's need to excel at the expense of others.  Instead of emphasizing the deficiencies of others, focus on growth -- how you and others can be better.

If you look at other people lovingly, you'll see yourself the same way.  When faced with the choice of right or being kind, be kind. 

  • Practice generosity.  Give of yourself -- money, time and concern.  Focus on the inner experience -- not on the outcome.  Your ego may say, No!  It's mine or, What's in it for me?  But your sacred self will flourish.  Being generous with your respect -- toward family, friends, employees -- takes the focus away from yourself and robs your ego of power.
Source:  Wayne Dyer, PhD, psychotherapist whose many best-selling books include Your Erroneous Zones (HarperCollins), Everyday Wisdom (Hay House) and Your Sacred Self:  Making the Decision to Be Free (HarperCollins).
-- Excerpt from Doctor's Little Black Bag of Remedies & Cures from Boardroom books.