Our ego is a powerful part of our psyche.
It’s heavily involved in how we think and make decisions. There are many ways to interpret and describe the ego, which I won’t expand upon in this post. Instead, I’ll focus on three core functions I’ve experienced from my relationship with my ego.
If you’re unfamiliar with the term “ego” here is a general definition:
The internal voice inside your mind that protects you.
This voice can speak to us often. It helps us make sense of reality and serves some important roles in now we function.
3 Core Functions
Now let’s break down the ego’s 3 core functions –
First and foremost, our ego is designed to protect us. Its default state is to keep us alive and make sure we survive. This is the same mentality inherited by every other living thing on the planet. All animals and plants are designed to survive in nature, including humans.
Our ego is the driving voice behind this survival mechanism. This is why:
- Our ego becomes scared if we feel physically threatened.
- Our ego becomes angry and sad when we lose something we cherish.
2. Social Adaptation
The second function our ego serves is social adaptation. It’s designed to help us socialize and fit into society. Our ego craves external validation and seeks the approval of others.
Our ego is the driving voice behind this adaptation. This is why:
- Our ego becomes nervous when we meet new people or experiences.
- Our ego becomes happy when we make new friends or feel accepted.
3. Problem Solving
The final function our ego serves is problem solving. It’s designed to help us overcome challenges and problems in our life. Our ego feeds off pride and serotonin, so it will reward us for solving problems. It will even create new problems if we don’t have any to solve!
Our ego is the driving voice behind problem solving. This is why:
- Our ego becomes frustrated when we feel stuck with an issue.
- Our ego becomes excited when we have a new idea or solution.
There are plenty of other examples and possible functions of the ego, but these 3 are native to its existence. They all operate from a similar place as well.
Operating from Fear
Our ego is capable of all kinds of emotions, some of which I gave examples for above. However, it primarily operates from one core emotion – fear. Underlying fear is how it helps us survive, adapt and problem solve.
- The desire to survive operates from fear of death or not living.
- The desire to adapt operates from fear of isolation or not fitting it.
- The desire to problem solve operates from fear of complacency or inadequacy.
The ego is a fear driven machine. When we operate from fear we are honoring our ego’s core functions. Fear is not a bad thing either, it’s just a powerful emotion rooted in uncertainty. In fact, we need it to survive.
Many of us operate from fear most of the time. It’s how we stay comfortable and certain. It’s an essential emotion to operate from. But… that doesn’t mean we need to listen to our ego all the time.
Ego vs Soul
What our ego doesn’t provide is the voice of love, creativity and abundance. This comes from our soul, which is a completely different voice. Again, there are many ways to interpret and describe the soul, which I won’t argue. Instead, I’ll focus on what the soul represents in my world.
One way I would describe the soul is:
The internal voice inside your mind that inspires you.
To that point, our soul has its own set of functions which aim to inspire and liberate us from fear. The soul is an expression of our authentic selves, our deepest truths, and our natural gifts. The soul operates from love.
The soul has no fear of survival.
It knows life is a gift and all things have meaning, including death and loss.
The soul has no fear of social adaptation.
It knows real [internal] acceptance is showing up as our true self.
The soul has no fear of problem solving.
It knows we have everything we need and more.
The soul is the antidote to the ego in many ways. It doesn’t aim to fix your ego, but it can give you a different source of energy and perspective. It’s the other voice that operates from love.
So next time you’re faced with a meaningful thought or decision, pause and consider which voice is talking – ego or soul?
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Ali is a creator who's passionate about coaching people through desired self transformation. That's a fancy way of saying he wants to help people do their inner work. He's a father, husband, podcaster, blogger, technologist and many other things that inspire him to stay curious and learn. He's also a huge advocate for nature, hiking, adventure, testing physical limits and experiencing the natural world.