“I’m not babysitting your ego” is starting to become the theme of the month. It’s a random quote I picked up from a Buddhist publication I was reading a couple of weeks ago. Over the past few weeks I’ve found myself going head to head with people and their egos. This type of conflict is so out of character for me. It’s rare that I challenge anyone’s ego. So what is it with me these days?
I’ve had enough.
I’ve grown tired of having to tip toe around people’s egos. I try to be kind. I don’t like to hurt feelings. Somehow this results in me playing wet-nurse to other people’s egos. Not only does this exhaust me, but it enables a lot of bad behavior on the part of the other person.
The concept of ego has such a bad connotation in Western culture. There are several definitions of the word; A person as thinking, feeling, and willing, and distinguishing itself from the selves of others. Self esteem or self-image. A sense of self-importance. I could pull an entire Wikipedia article on the concept of ego but to define it as simply as I can it’s the sense of “self”. The “me” or “I” that an individual identifies with. Western culture tends to treat the ego as a bad thing, almost like it’s some Narcissistic complex. But Eastern cultures neither consider the ego as good or bad. The ego simply IS.
The thing about it is that people hold on too tightly to their egos, their perception of self. There are aspects of the ego that one will take much pride in and other aspects that they are ashamed of. Of course how we view ourselves can be totally different from what others see. So when a person directly challenges the view you have of yourself, or holds a mirror to your flaws, the natural reaction is to get angry or defensive. This is exactly what I’ve been dealing with lately. As I mentioned earlier, my first inclination is to be kind. But sometimes there is kindness in being harsh. Sometimes not holding up that mirror allows a person to ignore the negative character attributes that hinder them. Ignorance about yourself does not promote personal growth. Neither does holding on to the things that you think about yourself.
Instead of coddling I’ve decided to pull the suckling egos from my breasts and force them to grow up. I don’t have time to babysit. It’s not my job. Hell I’ve got my own ego to worry about without playing foster parent to someone else’s. I realize that the kindest thing I can do is be honest. Speak on the things I notice and allow others to make the decision as to whether or not they want to listen. Let alone make changes. I can no longer afford to worry about how those close to me will react to the things I bring to their attention.