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To me its always been the puffed up side of our personalities. Its the "you can do it and do it better" part that inflates us(sometimes too much).
Its one part you wanna kinda control with humility or else it gets out of control.
As for spirituality...I kinda think thats the opposite of ego
My EGO holds me back and thrusts me forward. it can be my worst enemy and my best friend. I try to leave my EGO out of magick. I go with my heart and inner spirit. EGO is developed as a baby and grown through out the years.
EGO is any trait that Edges God Out (God as a generic term for your definition of the Divine). So, that could be fear, anger, frustration, insecurities, overinflated sense of self worth, the idea of being separate from the Divine or other people, the need to be right, to be better than someone else, feeling unworthy of anything good. It's the piece of our human selves that evaluates our self-worth based on appearance, achievements and material wealth. It's viewing ourselves through purely human eyes.
How it manifests in our personalities. Whew.. it keeps us stuck in unhealthy relationships, we talk bad about other peolpe and ourselves, we focus on everything we DO NOT want to happen, get lost in the daily shuffle of illness, struggle and lack. We see only the surface of life and get caught up in day to day suffering.
How it fits in with spirituality.. In the beginning, it must be locked away and very distinctly set aside to discover our Higher Selves. After much work around the ego and getting it in check so that our soul can shine, can grow and BE divinity, it will eventually function to keep us grounded..
I like your explanation, Terri. I'll be honest and say ego isn't something I've thought about or delved into all that much, but maybe I need to more, in order to get mine more under control.
I suppose I see my ego as my human mind and thoughts when it's separated from my higher self - usually when I'm down, sick or low in vibration for some reason.
I think it manifests in my personality as negative emotion - fear and anger being the two worst, but also including things like jealousy, bitterness, holding a grudge, resentfulness, feeling sorry for myself etc.
The third question is hard really. I never thought of ego before as something that could have a use and a purpose, but now you've put that thought in my head, perhaps it's the part of us that helps us vent / express our dark side, which is essential to be a whole and complete human being.
I like the Edges God Out idea. I'm catching myself when I get in a negative spiral a lot quicker these days and remembering to affirm or ask the angels for help instead of be angry. My patience is being tested on lots of fronts right now, so in many ways, Terri, you posting this right now was perfect timing for my learning.