Your Ego Has It in for You

Some things never go out of style.

Here’s an example: To extol the virtues of “stop caring so much what other people think” has been fashionable for at least two thousand years, when Marcus Aurelius was scribbling such things in his diaries, and it remains so to the present day, when people like Oliver Manning make it the cornerstore of their writing.

I don’t do that consciously, I must say, but I’m glad I do it nonetheless – I think it’s vitally important advice and I don’t think any one of us can be reminded of it enough. Still, having said all that, I don’t think developing an ignorance towards what other people think is going far enough. I think there’s actually another even more crucial step in the process.

Whilst you’re at it, stop caring so much what you think.

Now, when I say “you”, I am not referring to you in your totality – of course you should care what you think. The right parts of you, that is.

What I’m recommending you ignore is one very specific part of you – your ego. The part of you that feels scarce, that feels insecure, that obsessively measures and frets over your position on the social hierarchy, that takes everything personally, that thinks there are winners and losers…

Fuck that guy, basically. He doesn’t deserve a second of your consideration. He’s only out to do you harm, and if anything, listening to him is actually more dangerous than listening to other people, because he gets in through the back-door – he talks in your voice, he uses your patois, he makes you think that he is you. He’s not. He’s an imposter. Fuck that guy.

In fact, I’d go so far as to say this: If you’re going to bother to erect a wall against what other people think of you, but you’re still going to cater everything you do towards not upsetting your ego… then don’t bother with the first one. Save yourself the effort. It’s the equivalent of trying to lose weight by ordering a Diet Coke… to drink alongside your super-size Big Mac meal.

Of course, there is a “you” to whom it is wise to aim your intentions, and that is your soul. Your highest self. The still, small voice inside you. Your conscience. Whatever you want it to call it. We’ve all got one.

Get her on your side. Let her steer the ship. And ignore everybody else, including your ego.

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