How you might have a big ego – and have no clue about it


‘Big ego’ is often misunderstood as a high “superiority complex”. Actually the ‘ego’ is simply the ‘complex’ itself: Our idea, our concept about ourself.

Doesn’t matter what the idea is. It might be a positive idea(“I am a great human being…others are average”) – which is commonly believed as “being egoistic”.

It can be a negative idea(“I suck! I can never succeed…other are so much better”). Which is commonly believed to be ‘low self esteem’

We always have some idea about ourselves, about “who we are”. That means we all have an ego. We have to, right? It’s a human “feature”, not a “defect”!

The Ego is a human feature, not a defect

 Then what does having a ‘Big ego’ mean?

**Read slowly now*** ….

The bigness of your ego has nothing to do with how big your positive..or negative idea is.

It has to do with how strongly you are attached to either of those ideas. How strongly do you need those ideas to be true? How afraid are you of them being proved false?

How do you find this out?

The indicator is your ‘Feelings’.

How disturbed do you feel if your idea about yourself, or the ideas, ideologies(personal, political, religious) that you identify with are challenged?

If somebody points out that you are wrong, or that you are not quite who you think yourself to be – how long does it rankle? How touchy or sensitive are you? How raw is the ‘wound’?

It does not matter how your feelings manifest. You might break down and cry(self-pity). Or you might get angry and hit back(aggression). You might not do or say anything at all(Repression). What matters is the feeling is strong in all cases.

The problem is, most of us have lost touch with our feelings. We rationalise or intellectualise them away(“I am not angry because you hurt my ego. I am angry about how could you say such thing without even thinking”, “I am a man. I am not crying. I am just aghast at how stupid a leader can be”) So we don’t let ourself feel our feelings. We numb ourselves to them. Then how will we know?


The other indicator then is the urge to act.

If you cannot feel it, the emotion will manifest into the next level – the urge to act, to REact, to lash out. And this will happen in a microsecond.

You might ‘hit back’, say something hurtful, try to destroy the credibility of the other person and discredit their opinion(“He is dumb/biased. Why take his words seriously?”)

It is more about convincing ourselves than the opposite person 🙂

Of course, the action will seem completely fair, and the justification completely true.(“I am yelling because I don’t want you to have such a big misunderstanding!! It’s for your own good”, “I am disproportionately worked up about you being late, because it is wrong. Because it will harm your career and perception”)

In short – I am OK to undergo huge psychological suffering, as long as I can justify it!

Note that the point is not about the action itself – but the urge to act. Your emotional triggers. How strong are those triggers? Are you acting on them consciously? Or you just have to act?

Do you have a choice in the matter?

A big ego is not ‘wrong’ – it’s simply painful. A cause for suffering. For ourselves and for others.

It robs us of our capacity to choose. We no longer own our emotions. Our emotions own us.

As you can see, the more we are attached to our self-concepts, the bigger the ego – and bigger the need to justify, to defend, to protect, to validate our ideas. Forcing us to become more *delusional*(referred to as ‘Maya’ in Indian philosophy).

So to us – Our ideas about ourself seems perfectly true, our actions seem perfectly right, perfectly fair, perfectly justfied. But still, somehow, everybody else keeps getting hurt(though we think they have no reason to) or we ourselves are in a lot of pain. And we will justify that too(“I am not playing victim. My circumstances were abnormally bad”)

In short, bigger your ego, more blind you will be to it!!

Doing something about a delusion is hard. Because what will you change if everything about looks either good or completely justified?

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