Provocation of the month:
“It is so hard to get out of our Ego traps.”
What is an Ego trap and why do we end up in it?
An Ego trap is when our life is steered by fears and we cannot think beyond ourselves. We may experience fear of not belonging, fear of being left alone, fear of dying, fear of missing the next big thing and all other fears that are a part of life.
Life can be so wonderful and at the same time it can be so challenging, from our individual challenges to the collective challenges around the world. The natural disasters in Burma and China are just two recent horrible examples of collective challenges for all of us.
Life is a struggle between love and fear. We are being challenged every day. It could be by the roadrage of the driver in the car next to us on our way to work, to a challenging colleague, or a challenging life partner or a decision made by our government with which we do not agree. In these situations it is so easy to stop trusting others or our future and we lose our hope and connectedness and focus only on ourselves as a result of our fears.
We have ended up in our Ego trap, when we allow our life to be steered only by our fears and compensation ambitions. Being in our Ego trap is when we have lost faith in life and in other people. It is human to end up in our Ego trap and at the same time we need to learn how to get out of it in order to be able to live a good life together with our fellow human beings and our loved ones.
How is it that some of us manage to get out of our Ego traps and others don’t?
My latest reflection letter was about an including attitude rather than an excluding attitude. When we are in our Ego trap we have chosen an excluding attitude, consciously or unconsciously. When we do not trust other people we exclude them and when we trust other people we include them. There are of course situations when we need to exclude people as they are a danger to us, however, we may exclude other people for the wrong reasons. We may exclude others and isolate ourselves as a result of our own imagined fears. Once again this is human and at the same time we need to develop and learn when they are real and when they are not. What fears are real and what fears are in our own mind? How much do we trust ourselves? How much of my behavior is a result of my own Ego trap and how much of my behavior is a result of something real to fear in my surroundings?
Getting out of my Ego trap has to do with trust and mistrust or love and fear. First, I need to trust myself in order to trust others. Trusting myself means that I know how to set my borders and protect myself. This may come naturally to some of us if we learned it at young age and to some of us it may be very difficult as we never learned it as we grew up. It is, of course, not absolute and at the same time we are somewhere on a scale from standing up for ourselves or giving up on ourselves. In that sense, life is not fair and at the same time it is the reality. The positive is that we can all develop and find a better balance between standing up for ourselves and at the same time respecting other people taking their individual or collective situation into account and into our heart. Those of us that manage to get out of our Ego traps do not find it difficult to use words such as connectedness, will, love, empathy, curiosity, playfulness, spontaneity and humor. Those of us that cannot, will feel that these words are naive, or too soft.
Let us all develop our ability to see more of the beauty in our fellow human beings at the same time as we are standing up for ourselves. What a journey!