In a rush to do things we often overthink the necessity of just that – doing something. We wouldn’t be human if our egos didn’t cause us to grapple with understanding once in a while. Until we move towards awareness of the feelings in our bodies, we tend to focus more on understanding our place in the world; fitting in and being accepted.
The ego can cause us to get stuck in a mind loop of self-improvement and create a sense of burnout or being stuck. The alternative is to take root in our hearts, scan the body for discomfort and feel our feelings.
You have a thought and you feel a feeling.
You are not your thoughts nor are you your feelings. Thoughts and feelings are temporary if you will let them be. In order to surrender and let them go, you must stop thinking and move from your head to your heart.
The purpose of the ego is to find threats, eliminate them, and help us survive. The ego thrives on self-esteem, validation, and belonging. When any of those motivations become out of balance our thinking goes into overdrive.
Our ego causes us to desperately search for favorable ways to control the outcome that are of benefit to our SELF; to ensure survival.
Here are a few examples of how the ego attempts to send us into control mode:
Esteem – Studies show we tend to think more highly of ourselves and our abilities than we do of others. Along those lines, we often set ourselves up for failure. We believe we are more capable or skilled – unrealistically so. Therefore, the risk of failure is a great threat to our ego, and it might tell us we need to achieve more in order to be “good enough.”
Validation – Our egos seek validation and strive towards finding others who affirm the beliefs and views we have about ourselves. Those who disagree with us or point out flaws in our thinking feel like a threat to the ego. We tend to take other people’s opinions personally and draw inwards or isolate ourselves from varying perspectives.
Belonging – Fitting in and being accepted socially is where the ego makes big moves in our brains. Dating, for instance, can trigger the fear of not being worthy of love and belonging. When the ego is at play, it might push us to mold ourselves or shape shift in order to get along with a potential partner.
Especially as we are living through these unprecedented times, our need for things to be ok can be overwhelming. Controlling how things go when the world seems to be falling apart around us can be a profound survival tactic. But we must remember to lead from our hearts and not from our heads. It’s the thinking and overthinking that make us feel ill at ease – like we have to do something.
How do we find the balance between thinking and feeling; ego and love?
The following are nine steps to take to get out of your head and start feeling your feelings:
- Don’t persevere, surrender.
- Surender again.
- Surrender more.
- Get out of your head – practice mindfulness, move your body, meditate.
- Scan your body and notice where you feel pain.
- Feel your feelings. (feelings last 90 seconds if you cut them off from the thinking)
- Find your way back home to your loving heart.
- Let your heart lead – your head follows the heart (neural pathways only go one way)
- Act out of compassion; shift your thinking to others rather than yourself.
To hold onto the painful thinking of being not good enough, defensive or not belonging causes real suffering for our mind, body and spirit. Our egos tell us there is a problem when in reality there is not. Pain is real and it is necessary to fully embody it in order to move forward. We cannot carry both pain and love at the same time. Rather than listen to the egos tell us we need to correct, shift, or blend in order to survive, let’s find the hurt in our bodies, embrace it and feel our feelings in order to move on.
How do I become more in tune with the Love that I embody?
Please contact Rachel Gordon if you have questions about Buddhist psychology and integrative, holistic techniques to address mental health issues and promote total body wellness. If you live in the Denver/ Castle Rock area and would like to learn more about what Rachel has to offer through Humble Warrior Therapy, please call (303) 688-6698 or click here to schedule.
Tags: Ego, Feelings, Living in the Moment, Mental Health, Mindfulness, Processing Emotions, Wellness