Eating was my answer to everything, especially when people were critical of me or when I was belligerent with them. Thinking I needed comfort food to get me through those situations, I’d be reaching for the pint of Ben & Jerry’s so fast that heads would spin. Negativity (which is from the ego) in others created more negativity in me and vice versa.
There is no such thing as a nice ego. Whether it’s ours or someone else’s, egos are mean and ruthless. Some egos can put on a nice face to get what they want, but they’re never purely altruistic. When the ego acts or speaks, it is always about “me,” “my life,” and “what you can do for me.”
When a nasty ego is acting out, it’s so natural to move into the same negative state. We’re conditioned to take negative behavior on the part of others personally and react by either: attacking, defending ourselves, or stuffing our feelings down (with food of course). All of these responses keep us aligned with the ego.
The other possibility is not reacting at all and staying aligned with Essence. To do this, we only have to realize that the other person is in the ego and that egos egg other egos on. Once we understand this, we can choose to step back, take a breath, notice what’s happening, stay in Essence, and not take the bait!
Moving away from an ego that wants to fight with us is far from easy. Our own ego is likely to be breathing down our neck, saying things like, “Are you just going to stand there and take that from him? You wimp! Where’s your backbone?” The other guy’s ego is egging us on and in cahoots with ours. Both are trying to push, dare, and shame us into the fray. If we have the strength and presence not to fight, that is all the better because this is a battle we can never win. Situations like this are a great opportunity–a chance to practice detachment from the ego and align with Essence.
If we can manage to not take the bait, this is a huge step toward our own freedom. As a sage once said, “It is easy to be enlightened in heaven,” but can we be enlightened in the hell created by a bully or someone who’s taking his or her foul mood out on us?
By Laura Katleman-Prue, author of Skinny Thinking
Editor’s Note: Day 53 was another inquiry exercise identical to Day 52, so we did not reproduce it here. Simply repeat Day 52.