Kodwo Baidoo writes:
Monday Epistles, Season 2, Episode 1.Ego driven or Ego strength??
The petricor emanating from the untarred road behind our house, did not only bring back that nostalgic memory of the days we used to play in the rain, but also made waking up from bed all the more difficult. As I laid in bed reminiscent, I was called out to assist in one of the morning routines-dressing up Junior.
‘Don´t be rude!’, said Sylvia to Junior. My son stood stiff in front of his mum with a straight look and an unwillingness to wear a Dashiki dress which was made for the celebration of the AU Day in his school. I could feel mum’s frustration as the clock ticked away against her attempts to dress Ahyan up for school. Curiosity consumed me as I noticed that my 2yr old boy would look at me and smile but would turn and give his mum a ‘gbonyo'(frown) look.
‘Yoofi, I know this is not one of your school uniforms, but today everyone in Baby Nest will wear this dress over jeans and take pictures-say cheese!’, I explained to him. Immediately after that man-to-man talk, he gave me a cute wink, raised his hands up for me to slit the Dashiki Jumper over his head and dressed him up.
Have you ever had somebody telling you to not be rude because you insisted on something you were quite sure of? Hmm..it happens to us all-adult and children alike. Maybe they were wrong about your attitude afterall and you were right. Today I´d like to part ways with the popular belief that egoism is just a negative attitude. I´d even like to go one step further to explain to you why and how a healthy ‘ego’ can be key to a balanced life – in a personal and professional sense.
‘Ego’ is a Greek word for ‘I,’ which means: the core sense of self. Its a distinct and unique expression of personhood. ‘Ego-strength’ refers to a cultivated flexibility or strength of our core sense of self. It’s the step we make learning to face and grow from challenging happenings or persons in our lives in such ways that strengthen our relationships with our self and others and thus enrich our lives with meaning.
Ahyan my son was exhibiting a level of ego strength and not being ego driven. He’s become so conversant with all his school uniforms and will need a reason-a good one from a trusted source-to wear anything different. So he was not being rude as was implied by Mama Sly but simply insisting on a pattern etched onto his mind’s eye.
Ego-strength is a measure of our personal power and the ability to make ideal choices at any given moment in time. The capacity to regulate difficult feelings and emotions in order to remain still in perfect emotional states. The ability to accept what is, both in past or present, and also tolerate stress, discomfort, frustration without getting personally attacked and triggered.
An ego-driven person would rather be defined by characteristics like: selfishness, arrogance, self-centered, vain, conceited and self-interested, usually very unyielding to counsel from people he perceive as his competitors and thus trades guidance for errors. In a typical workplace scenario, the ego-driven colleague is the one whose pursuits for self gain bring the reputation and credibility of all his other colleagues to disrepute but he cares less because he thinks himself the smartest of all.
I am not saying having a strong will power is not good per se. I am saying that instead of letting your become too big like an helipad, rather be open to apply yourself with sufficient vigor to integrate change. Simply grow a healthy ego. It is an absolutely essential skill in the formation of healthy emotional intimacy in relationships.
Having a grounded sense of personal power, you are more likely to remain hopeful(inspite of the torments of mediocrity), determined, believe in your goals and be empathically engaged to your compassion for yourself and others. You will be world’s apart with selfishness.
A nicely developed ego-strength can allow you to relate to self and others in ways that promote even mutual cooperation and positive regard.
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