What is standing in the way of where you want to be and where you are today?
At times our self-esteem can be holding us back. When we measure our self-importance by influence or wealth, this is a clear sign we are attached to something outside of ourselves. The result may be our Ego. What do you mean? Ego lies between the conscious and unconscious parts of your mind and is pushing those two pieces apart. Ego identifies itself when who you think you are and who you truly are becomes blurry. The ego makes up for the lack of confidence which in turn downplays your self value. We all struggle with our ego, one way or another. Some hold power, authority or knowledge as their claim for confidence. When we let go of these attachments we start to gain it. If we hold these attachments that we mentioned, how can we relinquish them?
I struggle with my ego constantly. One of my personal favorites is always trying to defend myself, making small disagreements into full on arguments. Anyone that resisted my thought or direction was taken as a clear declaration of war. Demanding respect and gaining recognition was my battle plan. This unachievable goal would often fly off the handle with an employee or a loved one. I think of myself as a great communicator, when someone blames me for miscommunicating something that I knew and they did not. I don't know where to draw that line. I get into attack mode and retaliate. I blame them for the miscommunication. That will teach them, right? My results: I have just soiled a relationship with awkward tension, perhaps lost a little if not all respect/trust, recognized as a terrible communicator, and last but not least my confidence has reduced to that of a five year old child. High five!
Sometimes it's good to get punched in the face. (Please, don't punch people in the face.) With that said, there are consequences for our actions. You have to learn to kick your own ass, if you don’t then someone else will. In order to gain respect you must first give it without expecting it to be returned. How I should have responded to that communication issue is to first remove “myself” from the situation and simply ask where did the communication fail? The answer is not who is responsible, but where it could truly improve. This is called being genuinely helpful and people love it. Listening is a great part of communication, demonstrating concern and accepting constructive criticism just may have reinforced my theory of being an excellent communicator. If someone is still blaming you after clarifying and being overly critical to make them look good, just remember you must talk to them as if they are a five year old child. Chris Do teaches this simple formula: when what we think, say and do are aligned, we are in perfect harmony.
Let’s jump back into the idea of detachment. Knowing may be half the battle, but taking action is the other half. Let go of trying to control a conversation or comparing ourselves to someone's best. Refrain from setting insurmountable goals for ourselves or trying to gain the spotlight. We won't get far demanding respect and recognition. The ego takes many forms and reading this won’t let your ego vanish overnight. Adopting a few of these practices into your life over time, just may. How can we relinquish these forms of attachments?
1. Let’s start by helping people and acting as if we have nothing to gain. Work with someone that doesn’t seem like a good fit and truly help them. When we help someone that doesn’t seem to work well with us, we release those attachments and confidence starts to follow.
2. We can set smaller goals for ourselves. Make a list in a notebook or piece of paper and use a pencil. Write down 5~10 things you want to accomplish this year, spend 15~30 mins a day working toward those 5~10 goals or if necessary set deadlines. The trick is to make them quantifiable in the order of importance or greatest impact.
3. Expressing our gratitude to others and to ourselves. First of all you are the most important person in your life. Genuinely thank someone whenever you get the chance and you will be appreciated. Looking for the positive in people breeds joy and turns everything you have into enough. After all, you are enough.
If you started one of these practices, pat yourself on the back. You are already the best version of yourself and tomorrow you will be even better. Thank you.