A Perspective on Ego

Most people don’t want to think of themselves as having a “big ego,” because the picture that draws is of someone with a big head and possibly exaggerated opinions about their abilities. However, having a strong ego is definitely a good thing, because it is an essential piece of our survival.

How strong is your ego? Many people think that the term “ego” has something to do with being a braggart or totally self-interested, but that definition is incorrect. Actually, psychologists tell us that the ego is that part of our personality that directs our activities, so we can get our needs met and survive. It’s a normal and necessary part of who we are, grown and nurtured from thousands of generations’ experience in coping with the world at large.

Having good ego strength means you perceive things accurately and have the ability to make wise decisions. It also generally means that you have self-confidence, self-esteem, and poise under pressure. Ego strength has nothing whatever to do with people we think of as having “big egos”- those macho folks who like to bully and push other people around, generally spending their time blowing their own horns. Needing the spotlight is more akin to obsession, than ego, and the need to cover up perceived self-weaknesses.

On the contrary, ego strength often shows up as resiliency – the ability to bounce back from adversity – and the flexibility to take advantage of change. According to Dr. Charles Garfield, author of “Peak Performers,” to gain ego strength, a thoughtful, systematic program of personal growth can help enormously.

There are tools we can learn, to become more fully who we have the potential of being, of recognizing our talents and abilities, as well as recognizing the truth about our strengths. Rounding out and supporting the ego, as well as building self-confidence and heightened self-esteem, are a part of the results we achieve.

Rounding out and supporting a positive perspective of our own ego will help us meet the challenges of a changing world.