The Masks we Wear
As indicated by the “Iceberg Metaphor of Personality” concept, we don’t reveal all of who we are to the world. Another way to think about it is that we wear a mask of who we think we should be (our personality) in order to fit in to the world and find acceptance, belonging and love.
The Cost of the Mask we Wear
Whilst we explored previously that our brains seek to create efficiency through operating our mind and body in a default and unconscious way, one of the unconscious costs of our mind operating in this way is that we are not in control of our thoughts, feelings and behaviour. The result is that we often self-sabotage or create obstacles for ourselves which hinders our progress towards reaching the goals and aspirations we have for ourselves and our Life.
One of the unconscious triggers of the mask that we wear is the Ego. Sigmund Freud described the human psyche in three different parts “The Id”, “The Ego” and “The Super Ego”. For the purposes of our explorations we’re going to use the colloquial reference of “The Ego” as a reference to all three.
What is “The Ego”? Essentially, the Ego is who you perceive yourself to be, or the image you have in your mind of who you are.
The Ego is made up of pieces of information that you believe make you who you are including your name, your personality and your story.
Your Ego was formed by yourself during your first 7 years of Life. It has been constructed as a reaction to the experiences you had as a child during that time.
The purpose of the Ego is to protect you and ensure your biological (and psychological) survival. To do this it helped you create a personality based on what you believe to be the best way to get the love and attention you needed to survive. The Ego wants to maintain the status quo, or keep things in your world the same in order to ensure your continued survival.
However, the problem with the ego is that is creates the idea of separation from others (“myself against the world” or “me vs them”) and gets in the way of us doing the things we really want to. This is what leads to the fear and anxiety that causes difficulties in our relationships with other people, or feelings of frustration and failure. Our Ego reactions and defence mechanisms are what can self-sabotage our good intentions.
Importantly, the Ego is not bad or wrong. It is essential and serves a very healthy purpose when we are young as it ensures that we get our needs met eg. cleaned, fed, comforted. For this we can be grateful to our Ego and not see it as an enemy of our Core Essence or True Self, but rather as the innocent child that we were during the time we formed it.
Becoming an Adult
However, now that we are adults and on the journey to master ourselves (and our money and Life as a result), we no longer need to let our Ego drive us, because letting our Ego drive us is like letting a young child take the wheel! The journey of self-development work and mastery of yourself is a journey of understanding your own Ego and what drives you and then making the choice to take the wheel and be an adult. This is especially important with money.
We’re going to continue to explore Self-Mastery in this module. But before we do, click on “Start Assignment” to reflect on how your Ego shows up in your Life right now.
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How would someone who knows me describe my personality to someone that does not know me?
Would they describe me as extroverted or introverted? Loud or quiet? Someone with a sense of humour, or very serious? Would I be described as a perfectionist or sloppy? A Big picture thinker or details-orientated person?
This response will be awarded full points automatically, but it can be reviewed and adjusted after submission.
Can I think of a fight or clash I have with someone I love, repeatedly?
What is the theme of that fight or clash? What am I defending about myself in that fight or clash with that person?
When I feel really upset, frustrated and / or angry about something after or whilst in conflict with someone else, what am I thinking?
Do I have repetitive or defensive thoughts about the other person, myself or my position in the world. eg. “Fine, I’ll do it myself.” “I’m all alone.” “No one cares about this except me.” “I’m not good enough.” “I don’t deserve this.” “If they really loved me…” “It’s unfair.” “It’s not my fault.” etc.
What is the most childish thing I do when I am arguing with someone, or feeling hopeless or frustrated?
What do I say? eg. “I hate you.” “It’s not fair.” “Fine, have it your way!” “I don’t care.” “Whatever you say!”
What do I do? eg. Stomp foot, pout, scream and shout, throw things, jump up and down, run away and hide.