Ego is a hella hard battle to beat, sis. Every day can feel like our ego is being tried and tested. It's always ready to show out, and sometimes it's hard to hold her back. I think we can all agree, Ms. Ego is always ready to pop off. Did your roommate drink your apple juice? Ms. Ego wants to pop off. Co-worker threw shade in the Zoom meeting? Ms. Ego is trying to pop off. Did someone beat you to the last seat on the subway? Ms. Ego said, "It's. on. SIGHT." Whatever the situation is, Ms. Ego is a part of ourselves we are all trying to navigate.
I've found myself in many situations where I've gone head to head with my ego. I have to admit there were times when she would win. The battles I have lost to my ego I've always looked at as an opportunity for growth. One of the growing pains I've learned about ego is: We should not kill our ego. Why would we destroy something that is a part of us? We shouldn't shame our ego but instead, nurture it. We should look at our egos as a guide to our insecurities. The ego is a beautiful piece of ourselves that is continually transforming. One way I'm changing my ego is by learning how other successful women work through their egos.
I've had the pleasure of speaking with three amazing and successful women who have had to work through managing their egos in their home life, work-life, relationships, etc. Here are their strategies for how they put Ms. Ego to rest.
Building Community to Address Ego
Courtesy of Alechia Reese
"My ego appears the most when I'm triggered! I started a podcast called Triggered AF with my life coach and sister-friend, Dani Foster, to work through the things that trigger anger and frustrate me. It's necessary to know what activates your ego and also to learn how to manage it. I consider my ego to be my protector and worth-reminder, so it tries to run wild when those are threatened. In the podcast, we work through triggers together, providing invaluable insight to help us all grow.
"I don't believe in defeating my ego. Just as masculine doesn't work as well without feminine. My ego is necessary for sustenance. I don't defeat my ego. I bring her back to her baseline. "
"I'm a firm believer in moderation in all aspects of life. I began working on controlling my thoughts and conscious mind in my mid-20s. Your mind is the most powerful element behind our energetic spirits, so learning to leverage and use it for good was a personal focus of mind. I bring myself back to myself by creating a baseline for who I am, how I want to feel, and who I want to be. When I feel my ego stepping far past that equilibrium level, I mentally walk myself back - while also giving myself grace for when it's too late."
Fighting to Get What I Deserve
Courtesy of Aja Robinson
"Growing up, anytime I shared an idea with my mother, she always cheered me on. One of the most memorable ideas I had as a kid---a third-grader, to be exact--- was that I wanted to go to Howard University. Not only was Howard a long way from home, as I grew up in Wichita, Kansas, tuition for this university would be costly for my middle-class upbringing. Despite the many reasons one could think of to deter a third-grader from this big idea, my mother was my biggest champion and eventually made sure I'd see this idea to fruition. Confidence was instilled in me at a young age; I would also say my ego was boosted in a healthy way.
"Many would say, leave your ego at the door when negotiating, but I knew I needed to approach the situation with a certain level of independence and self-centeredness. Speaking up for what you deserve can be so challenging."
"A time I leaned into my ego to work for me was the first time I negotiated a salary. My first experience with salary negotiations was my first job out of college. I worked in retail while in school, and upon graduation, I was offered a promotion into a new role. I was beyond thrilled about the opportunity, but the salary was not precisely what I was expecting or in line with the value I was already contributing to the business.
"Long story short, I went back to the owners of the company and negotiated a higher salary. They didn't give me exactly what I wanted, and that was OK because as I really enjoyed working for the company and probably would've taken the job regardless, but most importantly, I appreciated the fact that they listened and acknowledged my value to the organization. In this particular situation, I'd say there was a nice balance of ego and self-confidence."
Channeling Spirituality to Build Humility
Courtesy of Sade Solomon
"The Holy Spirit has helped me defeat my ego! Here's the thing, there are a lot of the things I know I need to handle or overcome. I cannot do it in my strength. As a believer, I am super reliant on God's power to work through me because I cannot do it alone. If I had a choice, I wouldn't forgive anyone who has wronged me. I would be seeking out revenge right now! But I am reminded that God fights my battles, so I don't have to; I find strength in Him, to forgive. It is a journey because as long as we live: 'People will be people.' We will be wronged, hurt, talked about, and mishandled; we can't control what happens to us, only how we respond. The greatest strategy to defeating my ego is allowing God to help me.
"I have noticed a huge gap between who I think I am and how God has created me and views me. I haven't fully caught up to the depth of my worth in the eyes of God, but I am getting there. This gap is what I define as low self-confidence and worth."
"When God reads me and shows me a mirror of myself, that is a sure-fire way to calm my ego down. I don't think that I am always aware of being prideful or self-absorbed, even in my best attempt to be mindful. Interestingly, we think we know so much about ourselves until God shows us those ugly parts of us that we don't think are there. Hello, church!"
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Featured image courtesy of Sade Solomon