Ego is a contentious word, if not understood. To many, having an ego carries negative meaning.

But it isn’t a negative thing to have an “ego” – in fact, it’s necessary and inescapable; we all have an ego.  We say “I” from our ego – which is our self-recognition that we occupy a unique and distinct voice. 

“Wisdom tells me I am nothing. Love tells me I am everything. And between the two my life flows.”
— Nisargadatta Maharaj

Nurturing a Healthy Ego

The ego is the development of a personal identity that gives us a sense of importance and value. Our self-esteem, feeling of self-worth, confidence, ambition are all related to this space. Fostering a healthy sense of ego is important because how we interact within our world correlates to the value we hold in ourselves.

To be healthy, we cannot think too highly of ourselves. The narcissist is an unsavory personality with an inflated ego. Yet, we also cannot think too lowly of ourselves, to devalue our own personhood. While humility is an attractive personality, this does not mean weakness; it is an embodied attribute of valuing the humanity in others. That is like saying “my ego acknowledges and gives space for your ego”. 

A healthy ego is a balanced ego.

In perspective of life, we are no more valuable than anyone else. Wisdom brings perspective to our humanity and reminds us, in the scheme of all things, we are nothing.

And yet, in the company of those who care, they contest that viewpoint – and remind us of our absolute worth. Their love makes us believe otherwise. We are everything.

Finding balance is the place of healthy ego. The flowing between the sense nothingness and everythingness makes us all the more compassionate, connected, confident, gracious and human. Neither too big, nor too small – just perfectly worthy and equally human.

Takeaway Points

  • In self-reflection, what is your state of "ego"?

    When you think of "I" - do you have a strong sense of who you are? Do you feel healthy in how you relate to others? Is there a positive or negative voice narrating your thought-life?

  • Ways to Assess Your Ego:

    • Do you feel threatened by someone with a similar skillset? Can you acknowledge the skills/talents in others, and learn from them? Or do you find yourself in constant criticism and competition?
    • Can you see yourself objectively? A realistic, honest view to recognize strengths and weaknesses. Thereby, you recognize aspects of yourself needing care, healing and improvement.
    • Do you accept feedback from others as constructive criticism?
    • Do you show up authentically, or do you feel yourself masking, projecting a facade, self-protecting, and/or seeking constant approval?
    • Do you have a strong sense of boundaries? An ability to say no, or stand up for yourself in situations that invade your needs and/or values?