What is Ego: Ego’s Effect on Relationships (Part 5)

by Yvette Bowlin on July 9, 2012

Why should anything anyone says or does cause you to get disturbed? Michael A. Singer

Imagine if one set of thoughts, opinions, judgments, definitions, interpretations, past experiences, current motivations and future aspirations came against another set of thoughts, opinions, judgments, definitions, interpretations, past experiences, current motivations and future aspirations. Can you envision the misunderstandings, the bickering and the grudges that would result? Nations fight over this stuff. And that’s on a global level. What if that conflict was in your own home? Would you believe that the same thing that starts wars forms your relationships?

Ego Meets Ego

We intermingle with people every day all day and our ego does the greeting. Chock-full of ideas, beliefs, preconceptions and prejudices, we come face to face with another one of us just as opinionated. This ‘interaction’ between two egos and their stories is what relationships bond or break over.

Let’s recap what we learned about ego so far. Ego’s purpose is to serve the Soul, our inner Self. On earth, that goal evolves into ego serving itself. How convenient. Selfishness—gauging a situation according to how it feels to you—is the only steady guide we have in this lifetime because it’s metered against spirit energy. This is why selfishness feels good because your individual growth and gain is a job well done.

This selfishness rears its head in our everyday dealings and interactions because you set out to live for your ultimate satisfaction (basically, to avoid pain). If you seek pleasure, you’re avoiding pain. As long as it believes it’s here to avoid pain, ego continues to thrive.

Now, take the self-consciousness, the conditions and beliefs that ego creates and perpetuates in order to stay alive and then pair that with another ego just as eager to live. The scene of this meet can be a handshake, a conversation, a kiss, anything. If we take a step back and look at the communion of two people without bias, we can accept it as it is: a beautiful dance of spirit energy. If we step off our seat of consciousness to commune as ego, it becomes an exchange of perceived value.

Ego Love

We all fell prey to the fairy tales mom read us at bedtime. And later to the romance novels and movies. We’re now convinced love looks a certain way. So we set out to find it. We demand a partner to share experiences with. Someone to gift you with kinship, family, increase, permanence and trust.

Ego communes and forms relationships to administer what it construes as love, or the opposite of pain. Except its definition of love is unlike anything spirit energy offers. Ego love is conditional and comes bearing expectations, phobias, and possessiveness. Ego even loves itself with condition and prerequisites. Love isn’t a state of being for the ego; it’s a business transaction. It better be fair and square on all counts. It’s you saying, I get to choose what you give me, or I don’t want it. And I’m keeping score! Ego love is not love; it’s a story of infatuation and envy, a saga of lust and betrayal, and a tale of negotiation and compromise. “I love you” is synonymous with “I’ll trade you.” I’ll trade you my time, my sacrifices and my attention for your approval and appreciation.

You forget that you don’t need to barter to acquire love. You are love. You have all the love you need inside of you already. Love enough to share with whomever whenever you want. If you want. When we turn off the faucet of our love, we not only stop it from flowing outward to others but even restrict the flow onto ourselves. With that strangled love supply, we start to rely on others to remind us we’re loved. That dependency on external sources grants only a temporary high, a fleeting glimpse of heaven, and a lot of letdown.

Ego seeks visibility. It seeks reciprocity. So we use others to get what we want. We approach relationships with the intent to win affection or avoid rejection. Michael A. Singer, author of The Untethered Soul: The Journey Beyond Yourself, says,

The bottom line is that since you approached them in the name of rejection, you’re going to be dancing on the edge of rejection throughout the interaction. Every time you do something in the name of avoiding pain, that something becomes a link that holds the potential to the pain you’re avoiding. In order to assure your acceptance, you try to present yourself a certain way so that you can win friends and influence people.

This is a counterproductive way to love. Sensitivities to loss, loneliness, rejection, physical appearance and intelligence spawn the desire for and dependency on another person; someone who understands you, someone to witness your life, someone who completes you. We worry about getting too close to someone and the next minute think we’re not close enough. We form relationships to battle our inner turmoil with other people instead of working it out within ourselves. Then we blame them as the cause. It really isn’t an issue of loneliness, rejection, or any of that. Those are superficial problems covering up an underlying issue of fear inside us all. Those are all excuses to avoid going within. We’re actually compounding our sensitivity by evading the root issue. Singer says,

You’ll marry the person that makes you feel less lonely and think that’s normal. The problem will be back the moment the external situation fails to protect you from what’s [going on] inside.

You may want to get married and start a family, which boils down to yet another way of using relationships to fulfill your ego needs. To fulfill that insatiable desire for more distractions. You may think marriage is just about love, but commitment and marriage are ego goals—only conjured up by ego and its insecurities for exclusive rights to another’s heart. Each an attempt to avoid the pain of jealousy or betrayal. Same goes for polygamy and singlehood. There’s some motive to avoid pain behind either preference.

Without the illusion of pain, Soul is free to love. When we come upon or connect with another energy pattern that gives rise to our divine nature (i.e. uncontrollably happy), we feel fulfillment in that moment. In reality, the encounter, or magnetic attraction, itself is always pure and true and sourced from spirit energy. When ego isn’t in the way with judgments and agendas, the experience sparks a feeling of oneness and spiritual union with whatever we meet—plant or person. When ego comes to, it clings to that feeling and labels it ‘chemistry.’ And it rides that wave in hopes of more of the same. That label becomes an anchor, tethering you to that point in time. When not preoccupied with a thousand other thoughts, ego becomes obsessed about this experience, about this person. Addicted and aching for another high. Creating another energy blockage keeping you stuck.

But real love frees you. Love is freedom. The freedom to be who you are thoroughly. As vessels of spirit energy, when living as our true selves, as Soul, heaven is every moment. Love is the current running through us always. It is everywhere at all times and doesn’t need relationships in order to exist, nor is it the reason they do. It doesn’t need expression as any human bond; it is love all by itself. Love is, however, at the core of all relationships—the only truth in your pairing and the dealer of euphoria. Love is whenever we connect kinesthetically, verbally, sensually, or psychically without a motive. It takes consciousness to allow the love of life to become our only objective.

Choice Between Two Egos

Ego is why you decide to commit, move in or spring for a ring. You desire more of someone else because of how his or her energy makes you feel about yourself. Since it was why you got together, it tends to pervade your union. It’s also what will split you apart. (No surprise there.) A relationship is a constant battle between two egos and their agendas. Qualifying each other’s motives is one way we conflict unnecessarily.

When we recognize that there are differing motives between two people, we can stop expecting the other to act or react as we would in a situation. We can let him off the hook from having to be a specific character in our story. And we can experience a relationship without ever feeling burned or betrayed. Without taking anything personal. Without making our story about what he should and shouldn’t do. Singer says,

If the core pain was not the motivation behind proving yourself each day, what people say would not affect you. [From that perspective] do you really care what people think about your clothes or your car?

If the core pain was not the motivation behind your actions, you would find no cause to defend your ego. You would find no cause to blame or find fault. You would find no cause to force or manipulate a reaction. Can you really be angry with your partner for doing something he chooses to do when it takes him away from something you want to do? You’re just angry because he didn’t pretend to want to do what you wanted to do. Singer continues,

You don’t want your happiness conditional upon the behavior of other people. It’s bad enough that your happiness is conditional upon your own behavior. You want people to be steady enough so that you can predict their behavior. If they aren’t, it disturbs you. This is because you have made your predictions of their behavior part of your inner model. This protective shield of beliefs and concepts regarding the outside world acts as insulation between you and the people you interact with. By having preconceived notions about other people’s behavior, you feel safer and more in control. Imagine the fear you would feel if you let the entire wall down. Who have you ever allowed directly into your true inner self without the protection of your mental buffer? Nobody, not even yourself.

Expectation is the weapon ego uses to push people away. It’s an excuse to keep the story you tell yourself about why you shouldn’t open your heart. It’s a defense to keep from loving fully. You require someone to be a certain way, or you can’t tolerate her. Needing her to behave consistently according to what you term ‘right’ or ‘moral’ is keeping her caged in your mind (where relationships live). Her inconsistent behavior bothers you because it’s out of line with what you believe is love. Your mental projections now prevent the flow of love in and out. So she’s stifled in your beliefs and unable to grow. To keep ‘order’ and spare your pride, you repress what could be your own growth in the situation. Before you know it, you’re both living in separate mental fortresses, defending your ego position, scared to move. Love isn’t lost, it’s just trapped.

Since we come from the same place, spirit energy, and in the human experience we’re destined to be self-serving in order to reach our purpose for this life, we can let other people be without taking them personal. We can give them permission to have their hobbies, cravings, passions (even if we don’t understand!). We can embrace them entirely as we witness their enjoying life. We can treasure every day they choose to share with us. That’s a big deal given the circumstances. We can be grateful for that.

Like a magnet, ego attracts ego. You are looking in a mirror when forming a relationship with another person. Look deep inside yourself and you’ll find the similarities between you and the person you ‘love’ the most. You’ll also find the similarities between you and the person you ‘hate’ the most. When we boast about what we love about someone, we praise the goodness in ourselves. When we complain about what we don’t like about someone, we obliviously judge our own behavior. Your pet peeves, for example, reflect something unsettling within yourself.

Love Without Restraint

Love is relating without restraint. Relationships are a great way to work with yourself in releasing resistance and control. That’s the one tool available to everyone in this lifetime, because life is made up of relationships! Our relationship with people…and our relationship with ourselves, nature, food, money, and God. It puts ego center stage with how we respond, relate, react to one another. Singer says,

If you’re not trying to make people fit into your preconceived notions of what you like and dislike, you will find that relationships are not really that difficult. If you’re not so busy judging and resisting people based on what is blocked inside of you, you will find that they are much easier to get along with—and so are you. Letting go of yourself is the simplest way to get closer to others.

You stand in your own way of happiness. You alone are the reason you aren’t peaceful in any moment. You expect others to take up the torch and resuscitate what you label an unfulfilled life. You’ve given your power away. Now you say you have problems that are out of your control? Ego expects love to solve all its problems while it continues to create new ones. You expecting any particular behavior from other people is a problem you create. You expecting people to perform as you read from your script is a problem you create. You’re trying to control life. Controlling others’ opinions, interests, behavior, even how they love you. That control is what ego prefers over real love. Imagine if we didn’t seek to control others or need them to be a certain way for our comfort. Imagine if we enjoyed all walks of life as they are.

Your perception of love can change in any instant. You can see love authentically again if you choose to. You can shed all the red tape surrounding why and how you love, and just love. You can remove the fine print, and just love. It’s that simple. It’s simple but ego has to deliberately step out of the way for Your sake. That’s control put to more effective use.

How are you relating to other egos?

Photo by Fiction by Foreman

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