Is an overactive ego sabotaging your dreams? If you have ever had a thought to do something new and challenging but then experienced fogginess around that goal, the chances are your ego is trying to sabotage your efforts and dreams.
There are many websites that about the ego, but here is how I view egoic self-sabotage: The ego mind is that small voice inside you that tells you everything is fine just as it is. It tells you there is no need to do anything different and you should just keep with the status quo.
Also, in a past article I wrote about how self-sabotage is like a mirror reflection of where we are and how to get out of your own way, so I encourage you to check out that article too.
One of the life areas I struggle with is weight loss. When I think back to my younger years, my weight was normal and I felt great. Some of the weight gain over the years I attribute to overindulgence and some of it has emotional components of stress and worry. Unfortunately my past daily choices have now landed me with an additional twenty pounds that seems difficult to release.
How Your Overactive Ego Sabotages Your Dreams
My ego tells me it is perfectly fine to weigh 20 pounds more than is comfortable or good for me. It tells me that because in order to lose those 20 pounds, I will more than likely have to experience some pain, sore muscles, or go on a restrictive diet. My ego wants to keep me safe from those perceived painful experiences.
In order to keep me safe from that perceived pain my overactive ego tells me things like:
- It is okay to have that candy bar. You deserve a treat.
- It is okay that none of my jeans fit anymore. You wanted to go shopping anyway.
- It is okay that I don’t look and feel my best. People should accept me as I am.
- You are not that overweight – people gain weight as they age anyway so you might as well accept it.
In an odd way, those things keep me safe – at least in the short-term. The ego mind tells you everything is okay just as it is now, but those thoughts also keep you away from your goals.
The thing with the ego is the thinking is very short-term. “Oh no! Don’t do that right now! You won’t like it!” The ego fails to do well with long-range thinking or plans and will fight you daily every step of the way.
The ego clouds your thoughts and leave you confused on your original goals and send you mixed messages. Even though you might have made a firm decision yesterday to exercise and lose weight, your ego will make it seem as though you didn’t know what you were talking about.
Your ego will give you many “legitimate reasons” for why you cannot start or move forward with a new goal. If you find yourself in a thought process of “well, I would start on that, but I have to do x, y, and z first.” or “I will start on that next week (or month) after I finish x, y, and z.” those are all “legitimate reasons” coming from your ego mind.
Watch Out For Road Blocks
There are times when you might question whether thoughts or actions are helpful. You can think of them in terms of roadblocks or bypasses. Ask yourself if the thought will get you closer to your goal or further away from your goal.
The overactive ego will throw up roadblocks like:
- Why not wait another day to get started? It is a bit cold outside for a walk today.
- You need more information before you start that exercise program.
- You need to buy another exercise DVD as the one you already have isn’t good enough.
- You need to buy new workout clothes before you can get started. You want to look good while you are exercising, right?
- You’ve worked hard for three days now, why not rest today?
Reclaim Your Power From Egoic Self-Sabotage
So, what do you have to do to overcome all this short-term business of keeping you safe and away from your new goal? You need to call it out and retrain your ego. Every time you feel confused or want to relax on a goal you need to call it out right then and there. This is your chance to reclaim your personal power.
- You first need to acknowledge your ego is there and it is doing its job. Thank your ego for the concern and reassure it that you know better.
- Reaffirm your long-term commitment to your goal daily. Write it down on paper and place it where you can see it.
- Ask yourself if a thought is a roadblock or a bypass. Will you get closer to your goal or further away from your goal?
- Make your goal into a challenge and break it down into mini-challenges. Your mind loves to solve a puzzle and challenges are mini puzzles.
- Say this as often as necessary: “I understand you want to keep me safe, but you will just have to trust me that this goal will be awesome when we get to the other side. I acknowledge your need to keep me safe, but I am going to do this anyway.”
Which life areas does egoic self-sabotage show up for you and how have you overcame the urge to give up on your goals? Leave a comment below.