master your mindset
Module 1 - the freakin` ego
Ok, here we go....
So before we dig deep into managing our mindset and silencing that inner critic, we really need to know what we are working with here because our brain is a VERY complex thing. Like anything, understanding and creating awareness, is really the key and the first steps to change.
So, in beginning this journey of mastering our mindset the first thing we need to get down and dirty and talk about is the EGO. Most people when they think about the ego, think of someone having a big EGO, they are full of themselves, egotistical or someone who is self-centred. But the ego goes beyond this and is a part of the brain defined as "the part of the mind that mediates between the conscious and the unconscious and is responsible for reality testing and a sense of personal identity", in other words it plays a huge role in our personality, our decision making, our overthinking and essentially how we show up in the present world of who we are.
It goes without saying that there are many "layers" to the ego and as previously mentioned, is complex to say the least. Scientists claim that the ego is evident in many parts of the brain and I will make reference to some of them below just so you have an idea of the "thing" that is causing you so much grief.
First, lets talk about the ego barrier. This refers to the subliminal defence mechanisms that make it hard to accept your mistakes and weaknesses. You know what I am talking about, you mess up, you contribute to a problem but you don`t take ownership in your part. You point the finger, you are stubborn and would rather do just about anything to admit you were wrong. Yup that is the ego.
Your deepest needs and fears (need to be loved, the fear of losing love, the fear of not surviving, etc) they reside in the primitive parts of your brain such as your amygdala which are structures in your temporal lobe that process emotions. This also makes up part of your ego and drives most of if not all of our actions. It is the part of the brain where you feel all the feels, happy, sad, excited, scared, you name it. Yup, this is once again your ego.
All these areas of your brain are not accessible to your conscious awareness, it is virtually impossible for you to understand what they want and how they control you unless you dig deep, understand how the brain works and actively work on acknowledging the ego and then working to improve the impact it can have on your daily existence.
But to give a little deeper explanation of what the ego and the subconscious mind does and the role it plays, here are a couple of roles that you might be familiar with.
Firstly, the ego oversimplifies things and reacts instinctively. Our ego has us responding and reacting on a subconscious level without us even having a scope of understanding of what is happening and these reactions are formed based on past experiences, conditioning and unrealistic expectations. This might look like exploding at a loved one for no good reason, it has you feeling jealous about a successful person in your life or comparing your life to someone else. Yup, you guessed it, the ego again.
The ego craves praise and responds to criticism as an attack even when the higher level of the brain tries to get you to understand that constructive criticism is good for you. The ego makes you defensive, makes you create scenerios , fabricates things and really can cause a downward spiral without you even knowing what is happening.
Another part of the brain that the ego (subconscious) has to deal with is the high-level consciousness that resides in your neo-cortex. This is where you experience the conscious awareness of decision making (logic and reasoning). This might look like reacting on impluse and doing something you know doesn`t fit your values. In times like this you might be utterly confused and don`t understand why you would act in this way.
Well, there is a reason.
These two parts of your brain can be called the TWO YOUS who fight to control you. It is like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, though your higher level is not aware of your lower level.
Ex. Have you ever sat down and ate wayyyyyy too much cake? And then follow up to ask yourself why did I eat all the cake?
Well what happens here is that you have a fight between the two yous. In this case the lower level (unconscious mind/ego) you won out over the thoughtful, higher level you, the rational you. This happens all the time and our brain feels like it is on overdrive and can lead to some disruptive behaviours and coping mechanisms.
Sounds confusing as heck, right? I know, I get it. BUT, I wanted to provide a little science to back up the validity of the ego and give you an idea of where the ego lives and how it controls us on a daily basis. I wanted to show you how complex it is and I haven`t even scratched the surface. BUT, wanna know the good thing? There is a an easy way to clue this all up.
To sum it all up nicely, your ego is your association with yourself.
It is how you think, how you feel, your beliefs, your attitude, your thought patterns, your limiting beliefs, your strengths, your weaknesses, it is YOU.
The cool thing about all this is though is that you don`t need to understand the brain to change. Once you realize that your ego can actually serve you and you can implement tools that actually help manage that inner mean girl, that ego, that inner critique and once you put the work in, the results are pretty awesome.
So now we have that out of the way and you know what I am referring to when I say the word EGO, now we can begin.
Now, we can peel back some layers and see what kind of ego you are working with.
Take a moment and download the homework for this week. The purpose of this homework is to really observe and be aware of what is happening in the subconscious mind. Once we are able to really identify what our mean girl is saying, then the strategies, tips and tools we will be covering over the next couple of weeks will be much more effective.