Big brother is watching
So you remember in last week's blog I spoke about the in built alarm system that we have from back in the day? Well let me introduce you to the neanderthal that has his finger hovering over the button ready to press it.
Ok so maybe neanderthal is a bit harsh. More like an over protective big brother or a super supportive best friend. Do you have that best friend? Who’s got your back no matter what? Who insists your right, and in -the -right no matter what anyone else may say? That is how I think about the Ego.
The terrible Twos
As children our greatest need was for presence. To feel like we were seen for who we really were. Through this we would feel secure loving attachments to our parents or caretakers.During those early years our Ego was the dominant part of our mind. It was there to act as that mother, to make sure we were able to navigate our way through the world. It showed up around two ( Does anyone wonder if they call them the terrible twos because of this?) and is meant to remain dominant until aged seven when our more conscious mind is meant to take over more.
Mmmm but we weren’t always met with the greatest of teachers in this new world. We had parents, caretakers, teachers who were often not taught how to manage their own emotions and so were unable to meet us at this place. So the ego based our identity on the traits that we were told were acceptable and most admired. “ Good girls don’t do this”,“strong boys don’t cry”, “you’ll be a great lawyer one day”. We were made to feel that certain emotions were wrong and that we were being dramatic when we had emotional responses. Not everything is a huge childhood trauma- in most cases they are not, which is why people are often confused as to where programming like this came from. I've already mentioned the joys of school, can you imagine all the messages we got from there about "who we were" and how to act? Both in and outside the classroom.
So we internalised all these voices. Changed our behaviour in an effort to get the presence we thought we would. So we start to call all of these beliefs and voices our ‘personality’. We think, it’s us.
I'm all grown up now, so what?
When we grew up in these homes and outside enviroments ( and trust me I havent met a person yet that hasn't) the Ego became more fragile, because we were. The Egos job in adulthood is really to maintain the status quo. Last week I mentioned that it uses that alarm to make sure we never felt those feelings again? So imagine your heart is the little sister. Someone says something to trigger these old feelings? Big Brother to the rescue!
The ego exists within thought. Our most basic survival instinct is fear so that normally the route the Ego takes to insert its "voice". So when we experience an emotion the heart doesnt like the ego often uses fear as a method of protection.
Fear can disguise itself well though. It often looks like Anger (because anger is often the best defense against getting hurt).
So it talks and talks. Telling us whatever it needs to preserve this image of the world we created. If we felt abandoned in our needs by people it will tell us people are not to be trusted and we will seek all the evidence possible to keep that belief going ( Have you ever wondered how certain conspiracy theories get so much following?Fear of an unknown mysterious bunch of people controlling us? Seems like an easy way to fear people to me).
Sometimes it tells us that we are safe in our job now and that we may not earn enough money somewhere else. What if we fail? Sounds like the advice of a wise sensible parent or friend right? Keeping you nice and safely in your comfort zone.
It really doesn’t care what it says. Dont’ believe me? Have you ever had an argument in your head? Speaking like the devil and angel on your shoulder? That’s ALL the ego!
The anxiety connection
For people who deal with anxiousness the ego can be the one telling you that your stupid,that people are judging you, that your not the "right" weight that your not DOING enough. Don't be mad at it, its just trying to keep you safe!
This of course looks different on each of us. I have friends who are massively successful, focused and driven and on the out-side you would think they are the most confident people in the world. On the inside the Ego is that inner critic telling them they are not doing enough, that they are not good enough yet, and fear of failure is what cripples them with anxiety.
So is the Ego the bad guy? Nope! Should she/he be running the show? Also nope! I have two older brothers ladies and gentleman, and I certainly don't want them in charge of my life.
How to get Big brother off your back
Our work with the ego is to witness it. I would say if your thinking about the past or future it is the Ego talking (which is what anxiety is linked heavily here...Ever describe yourself as “a worrier”?. Well essentially your living in the future). My friend often says the Ego is everything after the phrase "I am".
However we need a place to start with this so here is my suggestion for those of you who want to work on this. Ever felt a strong trigger of shame,guilt,anger? That’s your biggest sign the ego is at play.Feeling rejected? Feeling defensive? Stubborn/Rigid in a view? Rushing out to get ‘evidence’ that you're right?. Call up your friend/family to present your side of an argument to get people onside?.... Meet your EGO!
So of course we need the Ego. We couldn’t function without it. We just don't want that itchy trigger finger over the alarm all the time. As always being aware of it is key. So when you feel a trigger, if you can, catch yourself. Watch the story it tries to tell ( trust me it will make you the central figure in the story).
How did you respond as a child when you felt unsafe or didn’t get your way? Yell, throw tantrum, name call? Offer the silent treatment ( shut down), etc? My friend has a wonderful expression she uses when she goes into this state " All picture and not sound" . Typically we respond the same way as adults until we recognize this wound inside us.
Now Annmarie how are Essential oils meant to help us with all of this?
Actually a lot! Those same neural pathways I spoke about last time still exist in this scenario.
Directly we can apply oils like Oregano to the top of our head when we see ourselves in this loop of telling a story or desperately seeking to be right. Oregano serves to detach us and offer humility- Climbing down of my high horse I like to call it.
Meditation brings our mind to the present moment where the ego has no job and can be quiet. I use oils like vetiver, patchouli and Frankincense to help me with this because after years of having it’s own way it isn’t going to go quietly.
Oils help me work through the limiting Beliefs the Ego has created to keep me safe. I often talk to my Ego, yes I felt stupid doing this at first too. I tell it “ I know your just trying to protect me but I’m safe now”. Or simply “ I am safe”.
You won’t win by getting mad at the ego or hating it- remember, its your best friend. Like all relationships you get a much better result with clear communication and firm boundaries.
Our little sister
Next week I want to share a little about some techniques to help that little sister to learn that she can let go of some of those old hurts and stand on her own two feet.
If you want to get started with using Essentaial oils for emotional support check out my Classes for Emotional wellness.