Few weeks back I had written about ‘Self satisfying adages’ where I spoke about how people use some well-known proverbs to justify their ends and means. My intention was mostly about poking fun at people who hide behind all these adages, however, a few replies to that post opened my eyes to the other aspect that somehow eluded me while writing that post – Ego! People pointed out that often, these adages are used by people when their ego is hurt. While that does make sense, it got me thinking…
Ego is actually one of the things that has a bad reputation just because people use them as missiles. ‘It’s your ego talking!’ or ‘If you were not so egoistic, you would not be argumentative’ or ‘Your huge ego is making a normal situation difficult’ and the best (or worst depending on if you are the speaker or receiver) ‘Your ego is bigger than you’. (I never get that, I mean, how do you go around measuring the ego and then how do you measure your actual worth for comparison?)
Problems arise when ‘ego’ is freely exchanged with ‘arrogance’. Mukti De Chaudhari
The problem arises when ‘ego’ is freely exchanged with ‘arrogance’. By definition, ego actually means a person’s idea of his self-worth or importance. It does not mean arrogance or pigheadedness or superiority complex as some people assume. And a good idea of one’s self-worth is not at all a bad thing. At a basic level ego is something necessary, it is something a person should have. A level higher, a self-respecting person is someone we all appreciate and adore.
Ego is a problem when it crosses some boundaries and when the idea of a person’s self-worth blinds him to how others feel and to the fact that they are human and make mistakes. Of course, it is difficult to deal with such people who can’t accept that they might be mistaken or wrong. Basically, someone with a superiority complex. But how often does a person who can’t accept his own mistake, accuse the other person of being egoistic? Imagine two people at loggerheads, both not giving way to the other’s point. Finally, one accuses the other of being egoistic. And there’s the ego missile launched!
If you read my post about adages, you might see how I pity ‘excuses’ as they have been branded in a negative light thoroughly. I feel ‘ego’ has also suffered the same fate. It is so badly misjudged that it no longer comes in the list of things we consider for ‘Too much of a good thing can be bad’. No, ego has been branded all bad and we even have teachers preaching how to get rid of ego!
Personally, I feel some ego is necessary, some pride is
necessary so that we know what we are worth. Accepting our mistakes and being
kind to other’s feelings are qualities to be developed independently. Not
developing either a superiority or inferiority complex is also independent. And
accusing someone of being egoistic just because they don’t agree to you or
refuse to back down in face of your convictions doesn’t make you a better
person, it just makes you better at name-calling. Maybe next time, try to
understand the other person and try some other route to get your point across
(or understand theirs?) before jumping to conclusions.
What do you think? Let me know in the comments!