Do you believe that there is something missing in your life?
Perhaps you believe that you would be happier if you owned a bigger house, had more disposable income, a better car, received more praise, got yourself a new job, found love in your life or took more holidays?
So many times I hear people say “I’ll be happy when…….”
Yet if happiness was based around money, holidays, houses, jobs and so on, why is it that people in parts of the world who have nothing, are often the happiest?
Where does this never-ending search for happiness originate from?
The demand for more, be it money, success, happiness, even love comes from that part of the mind that is the ego. Most people think of the ego as the behavioural trait of self-importance or over confidence and while it is to a degree, there is much more to the ego than that.
The ego is the part of our psychological make up that no matter what we give it, is never happy. Imagine the ego as a child that has so many toys to play with and sweets to eat still continues to throw tantrums and wants more.
When you give the ego what it wants, it’s only satisfied for a fraction of time, before it starts to want more again.
You can never ever satisfy the ego.
How do you take back your power from the ego?
You can never destroy the ego, it lives within all of us, even the most enlightened beings. However you can learn to play the ego as its own game by tapping into a power far greater – your heart.
It’s only the ego that believes, for example, that you need more money in order to be happy. The heart wants for nothing.
The first year of being self-employed I took a significant cut in salary compared to my highflying corporate salary. Yet I was so happy that I had escaped the ‘system’ and that I was doing truly meaningful work and had no one but myself to answer to, that I was riding high. At the time, the cut in salary meant nothing compared to the freedom and flexibility I had.
That was until the ego became hungry again!
I came across other therapists in my field and started to compare myself to them. They were fully booked, some with waiting lists, and my ego decided – I want that too.
Gone was the love of all that freedom and flexibility, now it wanted to be the best in the field, to have a waiting list, to be earning more money.
So I worked hard, built my business, studied more, trained in other areas and gave the ego what it wanted – money, a thriving practice and recognition. And for a while the ego was satisfied, and yes you got it, eventually it became hungry again.
Fast-forward 6 years and my ego still tries to get my attention, but I have learnt, more often than not, to recognise its demands and to ignore them.
One of the most powerful ways I achieve this is by taking time every day to connect with my heart in the following ways…
Focus on service. When I first started using my newfound skills and knowledge to help people, I felt like I’d found a new religion! I was blown away by what hypnotherapy could achieve within people who had been struggling for years. Now when my ego starts making demands, I take myself back to why I do what I do. I focus on service, on really helping make a difference in the world and hold that feeling in my heart. Every time I do this, I take away another fraction of power away from the ego.
Give from the heart. The feeling of being truly able to help someone is so powerful it blows out the water any demands the ego makes. I always recall helping a lady who had collapsed on a train platform many years ago. I simply calmed her down, got her to breathe properly and reframed what had happened to her. When I left her with the train guards, I was suddenly hit with the most overwhelming emotion and tears streaming down my face. At first I didn’t recognise why, but later identified it was because I had given help to another human unconditionally from my heart.
The ego is very focused on scarcity and its biggest fear is loss. Therefore it doesn’t like giving away things for free! However, the more you give, the greater the feeling of joy flows through you, and the more power you give to the heart to override the ego.
Make a list of reasons to be grateful. Gratitude thinking is incredibly powerful because it harnesses the power of the heart and the mind. Spending 15 minutes first thing each morning and writing a list of reasons to feel grateful has such a profound effect on me. It reminds me how amazing my life is, warms my heart and sets my day off on a positive vibe.
Meditation. When you are in a true state of meditation, you have no thoughts – and therefore the ego can’t be present. Aristotle, said ‘we are what we repeatedly do‘. If you have never meditated before, don’t expect to silence your mind in the first sitting! Like any skill, it takes time and it takes practice, but the investment is priceless.
There is no right or wrong way to take your power back from the ego, find what works for you. When you find what works, the key is consistency. The more you connect with your heart, your soul, your inner being, your spirit, the source within you – however you relate to it, the more you take away the power from the ego and move towards a greater sense of inner happiness, peace and contentment.
Ironically, the more gratitude I express and the more I work from my heart, the more amazing things happen to me! Try one or more of the above every day for 30 days – and see as you let go, how more things in your life will fall into place.