Dangerzone: The Greatest Love of All Goes Awry
When Whitney Houston sang about the “Greatest Love of All” (third pop diva reference in two blogs – game, set, match!), there should have been some caveats and addendums. In my last blog, I wrote a lot about the golden rule and loving others as you would yourself (actually I wrote a lot about why people are assholes, but I opted for the more pleasant topic of love). Today I am going to talk about a different type of love which is very important to have, but which also has the power to destroy if it skews in the wrong direction. This is love for one self or ego as it is known when it gets distorted.
As Whitney sang about, loving yourself is one of the greatest loves of all because it is so damn difficult for most people to obtain! There is also a huge confusion over what true self love is. As RuPaul states “If you don’t love yourself, how in the hell are you gonna love someone else! Can I get an amen in here?” Love of self is one of the most important aspects we can have to be a healthy functioning individual. Lack of self love is a huge problem facing many individuals. At its best it causes us to live our lives in fear, lack, and doesn’t allow us to manifest what we want in our lives. At its worst, it causes diseases of all kind in the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual bodies of people and ultimately could wind up in your death. On the flip side, what happens when we love ourselves too much, as in we only care about ourselves and not other people? This is the ego and it breeds selfishness, cruelty, hate, fear, conceit, and narcissism. Is loving ourselves (what Whitney sings about) the same thing as ego? Not exactly. There is a difference between true genuine self love and ego. Loving ourselves comes from a place deep inside. This is a true love that comes from our soul. We love, appreciate and accept ourselves no matter what our faults are, and we forgive ourselves for making mistakes. This is an unconditional love in the same way we (hopefully) strive towards loving other people. We appreciate the oneness of our souls to all of creation and the similarities and differences in ourselves and others and let it all just be as it is, free from judgment, comparison, and fear. That is a love closer to the self love I am speaking of. True love of self is of a soul nature and is eternal.
The ego on the other hand, is the personality that is experiencing this current incarnation. It lives in fear. The point of the ego is to stand out and be different for fear of it losing its identity and its “specialness.” The ego will do whatever it can to not be diminished and to not die (although its fight is pointless because its death is inevitable), for once it is dead it ceases to exist. It will do whatever it needs to to stay relevant. It has many tools to complete this task of remaining special. First, it loves to compare so that it can make sure everyone knows it is better. It is the most important, the most correct, the most relevant, the smartest, the best looking, the richest, the most powerful, the funniest, etc… anything it can come up with to make it stand out as being different than everyone else. Look at social media sites like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. While these things can serve as a good way to stay connected, they also ooze ego and provide a perfect outlet for the ego to say “look at me, look at what I’m about, I’m special and important!” What arises from all this ego? Pretty much all the evils in the world (and don’t think this is just an individual idea, because groups and mass consciousness itself can also fall victim to ego). My music is better than your music, my TV and movies are better than yours, my idea or way of doing things is better than yours, my religion or political party is better and more correct than yours, my country or race or gender or sexual orientation is better than yours, and the list goes on and on. It is easy to see how when the ego is allowed to run rampant and is not checked, situations become so dire as to cause individuals or groups of individuals to act out in the most atrocious ways (all stemming from the ego’s fear of death mind you). War, rape, murder, molestation, violence, greed, theft, discrimination, torture, etc. all become tools for unchecked egos to get what they want. The person’s ego has identified with form and made its likes and dislikes, possessions, looks, and physical traits its identity rather than what is beneath which is the eternal soul and spirit. It will fight tooth and nail to ensure it stands out and is the most important and special.
The ego is also very sneaky. Sometimes things that seem like they are not egotistical actually are very egotistical. People tend to easily recognize when someone is being selfish by demanding that they get their way. However lots of depression also stems from ego. The ego is attempting to have the individual appear “in lack” in order to make it special and stick out. For example, “nobody wants to date me,” why am I always alone in the world,” “this job sucks,” “I hate myself,” “nobody listens to me,” “I hate this song or vegetable or carpet so you should too,” all these things are ego. The key to determining whether or not something is coming from ego is to look at what the true focus is of what someone is saying. Does it ultimately involve self and the words “me,” “I,” or “my” or is something just allowed to be whatever it is without fear, judgment, hurt, sadness, or the forcing of others to be like it too. It is ok to have likes and dislikes. All the variety is what makes the world such a great place, and far less boring. However, true self love allows you to just be yourself and allows you to appreciate yourself for all that you are, and it also allows others to just be themselves and appreciate them for what they are.
What about loving others? Does ego come up there too? Yep! True love is not ego. Many times people do, say, think, or feel things that they wrongfully assume are from love. One of the huge problems plaguing our planet right now (and quite frankly it is killing our environment) is the keeping up with Jones’ syndrome. This is trying to possess as many things as possible so our egos can feel even more special. The more we have the more powerful, smart, sexy, rich, and desired we will be. Unfortunately, this often translates into hoarding and possessing not only physical goods but also people, animals, and plants. People end up trying to possess someone in order to appease their ego because it means that “they have someone so they can be happy now.” Or they try to change someone because they need this person to fit into their idea of what they need their relationship to be. That is not true love and acceptance. That is conditional love. Choosing partners based on anything related to the physical form is also not true love. Yes we have our likes and dislikes and some things may be more lustful to us in that we physically desire them. However, needing someone to have money or a certain career or 10% body fat or gigantic boobs is not true love. That is just the ego desiring to possess something to “make it happy” so it can be better than everyone else or so it can impress other people by what it managed to get. In reality, you can never possess another living soul – they have all been granted free will. Heck, we can never possess the planet itself, which is why buying real estate is such an insane idea to me as nobody can actually own the earth. We don’t even own our own bodies. This lump of matter called flesh is actually something we borrow and inhabit for about 70-100 years if we are lucky and then it goes back to the earth where it came from. And what about when we fear what others do, think, say, or feel about us? That is also ego. Who cares?! Just be yourself and if someone has a problem with that, then that is their problem. As long as they are not harming us or someone else why get worked up about what others are going to do, say, think, or feel about us? Their thoughts, feelings, actions, and words are their own business, and they don’t concern us. I struggle with this one often myself.
So many people are assholes. and ego goes a long way to explain the reason why. Are things worse now than they ever were? It sure seems like it! However the answer in reality is not really. Same as it ever was. The main reason the problems are becoming so amplified (so much so that it is beginning to manifest major damage and changes on this planet and in the human race itself) has to do with an increase of the sheer amount of people living on the planet with unchecked egos. Population has increased 7 times to over 7 billion people in the last 200 years alone. This problem is a critical one for us to start to solve, and now is the time for humanity to truly begin to awaken to the age of enlightenment, free of (or at least minimized) ego. If we don’t…apocalypse and Armageddon await.
I know I have ranted a bit on this subject. It is probably one of my top pet peeves when I see it in other people (or in myself). It is true that the things we dislike about others the most are what we dislike in ourselves. A ton of authors have talked about the problems with ego. I particularly enjoyed “A New Earth” by Eckhart Tolle if you would like to read more on this topic. That book was eye opening and challenged me to really look deep at myself and the world around me. It was enlightening, and I would highly recommend it. Half the battle of the ego is recognizing when it is making its way to the surface. The more people that can understand what it is, when they are going into ego, and how they can try to minimize it, the closer we can come to world peace and heaven on earth.