The difference between ego and self worth

Deep ✨

As humans, we can reflect on ourselves and our actions. We can consciously step outside of ourselves, judge ourselves, and have thoughts and opinions on who we are. We often do this from mere emotion, not ratio or logic. Insecurities, past experiences and how we think other people see us, play a huge role. But there is also room for true and justified estimation (you know the word self-‘esteem’?), from a place of love. Let’s see where these views differ.

Both our ego and our sense of self worth stem from our ability to self-reflect. The first one saves us from future humiliation. It’s the band-aid on our insecurities, that allows us to go out into the world again after someone critiques, dislikes or mistreats who we truly are, at the core. The second one is more silent, but holds our deep truth – that we are worthy independent of anyone’s (even our own!) opinion.

The ego

Your ego is the voice in your head that either agrees with the person who hurt you (‘It’s true, I AM ugly’) or overcompensates to make the thing that hurt less dominant (‘It’s a lie, I’m beautiful, THEY are ugly’). The person who hurt you basically created a small hole that feels uncomfortable, and your ego tries to cover it so you’re able to still go to your job, talk to people and live your life, even though you now have a small hole.

Either, your ego resides in that hole, takes comfort in the pain, and allows you to believe the hurtful thing (for example; that you’re ugly) for the rest of your life. Or it will cover the hole, make sure you believe the exact opposite while still using the same framework, and your ego will ‘save’ you from being hurt.

Funny enough, whatever the ego chooses, if you act from the ego your behaviour will probably look like this: You act like you’re not hurt at all, while you focus and keep questioning on your ugliness or beauty (in the case of the used example). You will judge other people on their ugliness or beauty, and constantly compare yourself to them.

In future situations, you either completely believe the hurtful things that are said to you (because they are in line with the hole you already have) or you don’t even consider their truth because it is scary and you might get hurt (while staying in your own opposite bubble).

Many people who act from their ego, also worry a lot about their identity. They often want to tell or show people ‘what they’re like’, want to define their sense of style or even obsessively stick to ‘being that type of girl’. You know when someone says ‘I am who I am, and I’m not gonna change for nobody’? You guessed it – it’s their sassy ego talking.

Self worth

But what the ego tells you, doesn’t say anything about who you are, deep down, and what you’re worth. The ego is just the good-intentioned but badly-educated friend who gives you a (often false) opinion of yourself, so you can live your life. But what if we didn’t need an opinion of ourselves to be able to go about our day? What if we always knew, deep down, that we are worthy and we are not defined by what other people think about us?

This is where your self worth differs from your ego. Where the ego tells you ‘I’m ugly’ or ‘No, I’m pretty’ – a healthy sense of self worth knows that you are worthy and deserve a good life, no matter what you look like. Where the ego might tell you that you’re not good enough, because someone doesn’t want you in their life or rejects you, your self worth should know that who you are and what you deserve is not dependant on other people, and is definitely NOT defined by someone leaving you.

As humans, we find it hard to not think of rejection, abandonment, judgement or recognition as signs that tell us something about our worth. Because we are social beings, we are programmed to take these things very seriously in order to survive (we need to be part of a group). But this is merely deep-rooted emotion. And these emotions are meant to make us survive, not find objective truths.

When you have a good sense of self worth (yes, you can train this) you’ll even see that getting hurt is not that bad. In the ideal case, you don’t even feel the fear of the ego: because when you know your worth, no matter how other people estimate you, you can take a hit without changing how you feel about yourself. You don’t need to form an opinion on yourself or other people anymore. Because you know who you are without it.

So the next time someone hurts you, try to remember that who you are and what you’re worth is not dependant on anyone else’s opinion of you. And that your opinion of you should be informed by your sense of self worth, and not the ego – from a place of love, not of fear.

xx Coco

Don’t believe everything you think

Geen categorie

One of my biggest interests within the area of self-development, is how to control your emotions. By this, I don’t mean: how to not feel anything, how to be a stoic, or how be more rational than emotional. I love having many emotions, and I think they are one of the most relevant and meaningful parts of life.

But they can also feel like a big burden, which gets in the way of manifesting your dream life. So, we might want to learn how to find a sweet spot here. A spot in which our thoughts really are the deal-breakers.

To me, the emotional sweet spot looks like this: I feel and experience as many emotions as I can, without trying to numb them down. But when I notice one (or some) really heavy, negative emotion(s) ruling a large part of my life, and causing negative effects in my behaviour (like acting on fear, insecurity or depression instead of love, abundance and inspiration), I try to change them into something more positive, or I try to make them less dominant. These are the insights that can help with this:

You are not your thoughts

The first step in having more control over your emotions, is realising that emotions are caused by thoughts. Some of these thoughts are very present, others have become so familiar that you’re not even aware of thinking them anymore.

Whichever thoughts cause your emotions, one way of gaining more power over them is realising that you are not your thoughts. For that matter: you are not your emotions either. You are not ‘what is thought’ or ‘what is felt’ – you are the thinker. You are the feeler. And the logical consequence of this, is that you can (and are allowed to!) step away from your thoughts, take a break from them, make some space between you and them.

Try to observe your thoughts and emotions from a distance, look at them as if you are looking at a distant movie screen, and decide to analyse and understand them or look away from them if you want to – because they are not your essence, and you are so much more.

We reason our way into ‘truths’

Another step in gaining more power over your emotions, is to understand that your reasoning or the thoughts that cause them can be faulty. We often overestimate how (and that!) we judge certain situations. We try to think for someone else, creatively fill in the gaps that someone or some event has left us, and reason our way into some explanation or deeper meaning as to why this certain thing – which caused certain thoughts and therefore certain emotions – happened to us.

However, we often forget that this whole chain of experiencing, interpreting/judging and feeling is in between the factual situation and how we suddenly feel. We experience negative emotions as a direct result of something that happened in our lives, while actually, they are the result of our reasoning about the thing that happened.

This makes you an actor, not a victim. And this is a good thing: once you see that you are actually the designer of your truths and emotions, not the actual thing that happened, everything changes.

Thoughts can stem from (ill-placed emotions)

Thoughts cause emotions, but certain emotions can also cause thoughts. Think about that time you broke up with your ex, and as a logical consequence, you missed them the weeks or months after. This feeling might have made you think that your ex was someone you should be with, someone really valuable to you, someone you needed in your life – why else would you miss them so much?

This is a fault we often make out of convenience, comfort and habit. Your feelings about a person (or situation, for that matter) are in no way connected to whether or not it is a good idea to have them in your life, you probably see that now in the case of your ex. What was ‘thinking’ here, was your fear of being alone, the emptiness inside you, the discomfort you felt from simply having to give up something that was safe and familiar to you.

But these thoughts don’t get to decide what is true: they are an ancient mechanism showing you the easy way, not the right way. And once you start listening to them, they cause new negative emotions, which in turn cause new negative thoughts. The same mechanism can happen when we experience fear, insecurity and depression, and start to listen to the thoughts they give rise to.

So what now?

Not everything we think is true. We know that now. But how do we deal with that? If our emotions are based on our thoughts, and we can’t be sure of our thoughts, how do we know what to feel? The point here is this. In many cases, we are actually very capable of judging whether or not a thought is true, and whether it is justified to tie certain emotions to them. Being more mindful and critical on your own thoughts already helps a lot in dealing with negative emotions.

But in the small percentage of cases in which we really have no idea what to think, we have to learn to be comfortable in the unknown. It is ok to not know everything, or to not know how you feel about something. It is ok to say: I don’t know enough of this person/situation/subject to judge it, and I will keep myself from feeling anything else than (calm) uncertainty about it.

At the end of the day, our thoughts and emotions are here to help us survive and thrive, to cater to our fulfilment and happiness – not the other way around. If you stop acting like a slave of your thoughts and emotions, and realise you are the actor and creator of your life, no matter what you think or how you feel, you will see that negative emotions will disappear slowly but surely. After all, we are thinkers and feelers – now let’s start enjoying that beautiful design.

xx Coco