Leadership, Mind, Self Development, Self Esteem, Self Improvement

Sadness Or Ego – How to Tell the Difference

A funny thing happened this morning. My friend, who I call ‘sister’, called very early, upset about her boyfriend breaking up with her. Now, this may not seem funny at first, but here’s why it was. Just a few days ago, having recently returned from a 2 week trip to Europe with said boyfriend, she called to tell me about her adventures and share some of what she experienced while in Amsterdam and Paris. It was her first trip to Europe and she’d been very excited about going. He had arranged the whole thing, reserving rooms in some of the finer hotels in each respective city. It would be the first time they’d spend this much time together, 24/7, since they first began their relationship a year ago. While she had expressed a few reservations about it, she was still quite excited and determined that it would be the trip of a lifetime. I was thrilled for her and spent many an hour while she was traveling, saying a prayer and sending my encouraging thoughts to her.

So, back to the beginning….she called to tell of her travels and share the marvels of her first trip abroad. Instead, however, she spent the majority of the 2 hours we were on the phone, talking about his hygiene (or shall we say ‘lack thereof’) and his unspeakable rude ‘American’ behavior. As in, he refused to even attempt to speak the languages of those countries they visited, insisting that everyone speak to him in English. Typical American arrogance. (And I don’t suppose I have to tell you what the French think about us anyway!) During the time she was relaying all this, I could hear and feel her angst over what had transpired and her disappointment in her trip being ruined by this man. I felt badly for her, as I wanted so much for her to experience the awesome marvels of Europe and savor every moment of it. Sadly, this was not the case.

As I listened to her relive those embarrassing moments with him, I knew even before she said it, that she was about to cut him loose. She just couldn’t get past the bad hygiene and his ‘Neanderthalish’ behavior. I also knew that it would likely take months before she actually did break up with him, as this is her usual modus operandi. She just has a hard time with such things. When, at last, she finally said the words out loud, I asked her if she’d already spoken to him about it. She replied that she had not, as she was still ‘processing’ and would do it when ‘the time is right’. I didn’t offer up any opinion one way or the other. I know her, I love her and I am not the kind of friend who tells others what they ‘should’ do. I merely listened and said a silent prayer for her on this path she’d chosen for herself.

So, this morning, when she called, all upset that he’d broken up with her, I waited until she was finished crying, had finally calmed down, and then asked, “why are you so upset? Did you not tell me just a few days ago that you were going to break up with him?” She said yes but that she hadn’t had the nerve to do it just yet and he got to it before she did. I then asked if she knew why this was causing her to be so upset. And then…she laughed out loud, a big giant belly-laugh, and said, “I guess it’s my ego talking.” I couldn’t help but laugh right along with her. I was so relieved that she got it. And that she could see, even from this place of so-called sadness, that it wasn’t at all about their breaking up, it was about him doing it first. She got ‘fired’ before she could fire him. Silly? Of course. Normal? Absolutely. It happens all the time and it never ceases to amaze me that most people don’t even know what it’s about.

The ego is a strange and powerful force. It veils our truths, creating illusions of emotions that are completely removed from what we’re really feeling. It masks our reality in such a convincing way that it’s small wonder we get so confused about what we’re feeling. Ego is, in my personal opinion, grossly overrated and utterly useless. Once we get a real picture of what it does and how it does it, it’s quite easy to ignore. But, and this is a big ‘but’, one must first realize that it’s ego talking, not our true self. Kind of like tearing the wrapping off of a gift. The paper may be beautiful but if there’s a pile of garbage inside the box, the fantasy is shattered and all that remains is that pile of garbage. Not pretty, but certainly illuminating.

I have always believed in ‘the fairy tale’. Still do. I happen to think that we all get to create our lives, and we do, even if we don’t know it. We create our lives by the things we think, the thoughts we focus on and the passion we expend on those thoughts. Thoughts become things. This, I know, is my truth. And when it comes time to look at something we don’t actually want in our lives, it’s up to us to take a step back and rethink our focus. Here’s another way of looking at it. Let’s say that you decide you’re going to fashion a duck out of cement. You make the mold, mix the cement, and cast your duck. After it’s all done, you decide you don’t like how it turned out. Are you going to attempt to change it in it’s hardened form or are you going to start all over and cast a new one? The obvious answer is the latter choice. Why in the world would you even attempt to change a piece of cement? After all, cement is inexpensive and easy to come by. Besides, isn’t the process as much fun as the result? Same goes with Life. You don’t have to try to undo what’s already done. All you have to do is start from scratch and do it the way you want. Make sense?

I know my friend’s sadness is not about the breakup. I also know she’ll see, soon enough, that all of this is for good purpose and she’s a better person for it. Her ‘Neanderthal’ ex-boyfriend gave her a wealth of lovely gifts during their time together. He taught her that she deserves the best of things. He taught her that she is worth the effort. And he taught her that she doesn’t have to ‘settle’ for less than she truly deserves. Once she sees these gifts for what they are, I have no doubt that she’ll kick her ego to the curb and get on with her life. She’s a Queen in every sense of the word. She’s beautiful, brilliant, creative, unspeakably kind, and one of the most worthy angels I’ve ever met. The moment she sees this about herself is the moment she will get to live the fairy tale she so wants to live. Love isn’t hard. Love is as easy as breathing. I know. I’m living the fairy tale. So, too, will she.

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