Well Hello There, Ego
I wanted to respond to the email right away. And it was a big surge of a want, immediate and powerful.
The email was from a sweet friend who had, gentle as a lullaby, corrected something I’d gotten wrong. And my ego wasted no time getting royally steamed. I knew that thing she corrected me on, it stamped and hissed, I’ve gotta show her that I knew that. Hence that surging want.
And that want is my cue to do…nothing.
Things my ego would like you to know about me: I am smart, wise, and witty; endlessly kind, have good taste in cheeses and hip sneakers, know how to pronounce French phrases like trompe l'oeil and define words like insensate. My ego self-identifies with all these ideas of who I should be. And it will prove, defend, fight for these ideas until it is blue in the face.
So my sweet friend’s email arrives, mismatches with who I’m supposed to be, and my ego is off to the races.
My ego and I have done this routine enough for me to know that it leads nowhere expansive or wonderful. So I do my level best to wait out that urge. Naming helps: Oh, hello there, Ego. Counting to 23 (more interesting than 20) helps. Usually, it doesn’t take long to see that surging ego for what it is: a desire to be loved.
After a bit, and with clearer eyes, I opened up my sweet friend’s email. You are correct! I typed. Thank you, friend.
And I felt that expansive, wonderful feeling that can come when I go for kindness over defensiveness.
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