It is kindergarten all over again.
“Oh, Johnny! Look at what a good job you did! I am so proud of you! Keep up the good work!”
To which little Johnny smiles bashfully with a twinkle in his eye. Reaffirmed in his own mind of the job he knew he did well, his little ego swells. Johnny loves it when others notice his strengths! And rightfully so, he welcomes those comments from his teacher. In fact, he seeks after them, knowing how good they make him feel.
You remember it; Those times when you would slide your paper to the edge of the desk to be sure Miss Jones saw that you got 100% on your spelling test. Because, gosh darn it, that was a hard test! With words like “fun”, “run”, “bus”, “cut” and that toughy, “luck” who wouldn’t be proud of a perfect score?! You knew you could do it!
As so it goes throughout our lives as children, thriving on the encouraging words of others. Our Egos need nourishment, and we cannot do it all alone. Or can we? And then one day, something happens. A switch of some sort is flipped and everything is different. Now, all of a sudden instead of feeding our egos with the kind compassionate words of others, and ourselves, we begin living and thinking another way. All of a sudden, we feed our egos by denying ourselves those succulent words of love. In this day and age, we begin to grow up and metamorphosize into cold beings who seem to need nobody else and reject the compliments and gracious words of others. We forget that we actually liked it when Miss Jones handed out recognition to us. In fact, we now push any compliments away, believing them to be false; turning our heads to see if our friends and family and even perfect strangers are speaking to someone else. We stop believing such things to be true about ourselves. This is the other face of our ego.
I find it ironic however, that we have difficulty in accepting kind words, but deep down inside, hearing these things conjures up those feelings we encountered as children…we really do love it, don’t we! But that darn, new changed Ego says, “Uh-uh. I’m uncomfortable with this.”
We have become islands. We prune our own foliage, water our own coconut trees, eat our own fruit, run our toes through our own beaches and get sunburned- all alone. Some of us know our island is beautiful and desirable. Others really do wander around on their barren island, kicking the deadwood as they stumble through life. Both scenarios are sad, I think. Both have one thing in common: ego. One says, “I am too good!” the other, “I’m not good enough”.
I have found myself often fighting against these two statements. They are oscillating truths to many people and when there is balance, the ego can be held at bay. The balance says, “I am good enough, and I know I can do better.” And so when we hear someone spewing “cheesy” gunk from their mouths, we can say, “Thank you” and take it into our hearts as we used to do as children.
“Oh, Johnny! I KNEW you could do it!”
Surrendering our ego enables us to be so much more. It enables us to get back into our childhood essence. And there really is nothing more great than being in your power as a child would when he says to himself, “I did know I could do it!”
I surrender. I surrender control. I surrender feeling awkward. I surrender appearance. I surrender myself, which is my ego and say, “pass the cheese please!”