My Ego and Me (7 tips for living simply)
Everyone has flaws. We all have those character traits that make it easy for us to stumble, and satan will take advantage of that every chance he gets.
One of those stumbling blocks for me is that I've always been a perfectionist.
The consistent denial of unconditional love I experienced growing up turned into a need to be "good" at everything. I had to be the prettiest model and the best writer. I had to graduate college at the top of my class, I had to have the perfect nuclear family, the perfect marriage, the nicest car, the suburban home, and the perfect size 4 body. All of this in an effort to satisfy my insatiable ego.
Outgrowing that part of my life has been the greatest relief of my life.
My pursuit of the ego was a lie that I consistently told myself, that being better, gaining more likes, more influence, and more popularity would somehow set me apart from everyone else. In reality, my efforts, skills, and achievements were all accomplished to please my ego and to please people who would never accept me, or never truly love me.
The truth that I learned later in life is that the entire thing is a facade. It's like chasing after a strong wind, and Jesus doesn't want any part of it. The truth is that all of those little details that I anguished over means absolutely nothing to God's kingdom.
I learned later in life (through the gospel and real-life example) that my ego feels satisfied when I serve others. I feel at my best when I take care of God's children (literally and figuratively). Being on top, and being best at everything is a false sense of feel-good that the world tells me to chase. But when I'm quiet and turn off the noise of the world I can truly hear the message of what's important.
A satisfying carefree joyful life comes when I'm living simply not when my bank account is full, or any of the other pointless pursuits of the world.
Today I'm sharing with you 7 tips that helped me learn to let go of the ego and live an authentic happy, carefree life.
1. Turn off the noise of the world
The world is a very loud place! Everywhere you turn there is noise, and the majority of it is falsehoods. When we learn to limit the noise of the world we open ourselves up to hearing the voice of God. There are various ways to reduce the noise in your life. You can start by listening to less music, turning off the television (especially the news), let go of those podcasts and most importantly take a much-needed break from social media. I will say it over and over again. Deleting my social media accounts was one of the biggest favors I ever did for myself. The reduction of noise leads to a plethora of self-discovery and countless opportunities to hear God.
2. Serve others
When we stop serving ourselves and learn to serve others, then we have a true feeling of accomplishment. The truth is that the ego is never satisfied. It tells you to gain more in an effort to feel good, but it's only an illusion. Serving others feels good. Give yourself in service to your friends and family, as well as your community. The beauty in this is that there are countless ways to serve others, and you can also be creative with it. Be creative and use your passions and talents as a way to serve others. If you can't think of meaningful ways to serve others, or you're unsure of how you can do this in a way that makes you feel good, send me an email and let's discuss it.
3. Stop worrying about being first
We are all taught from a very young age that there is something special about being first. We strive to be the 1st and best at everything we do, our teachers, our parents, and the world as a whole teach us that 1st is best. But we fail to acknowledge (although we might realize) that the pursuit to be 1st is an illusion that breeds insecurity and unhappiness. Make a conscious effort to stop worrying about being first, and being best.
4. Learn to live simply
Our world lies to us constantly. We are told with every image, and every sound bite that happiness, peace, love, and joy are directly attached to how much money you have, what kind of car you drive, how you look, what you wear, etc. No matter where you look the lie that happiness relies on money and success is thrown into our faces. True happiness is like the story of Goldilocks and the 3 bears. It's not when you have excess, or when you have too little, but more so when you have just enough. Learn to live simply by questioning what is that you actually need. Do truly need to have that expensive car? Do you need to purchase your home? Do you need that makeup, those shoes, that outfit, and the expensive bag? In what ways can you learn to live a more simple and authentic life?
5. Welcome a child
In today's culture, we are told over and over again that children are undesired. In fact, children are the most valuable, and most precious gifts of God. Our current culture tends to focus on the very moment, with little hope for the future. It fails to realize that children are the future and what we put into a child is indeed what we put into the future. Children are the example of living simply. They are prime examples of true happiness, playfulness, joy, and unconditional love. We make the mistake that children should learn from us when in actuality we should learn a lot from them. Children are spotless examples of what we are called to be. They represent greatness and innocence. They are unblemished by the hardships of the world and show us the meaning of true resilience. Welcoming children are the best way to learn to live peacefully and authentically. We welcome children when we are open to becoming parents. When we serve as school volunteers, and even when we simply babysit and show love to the children in our families.
6. Allow yourself to be used by God
Every human to walk this Earth possesses God-given talents. Some of us may have one talent, and some of us have many. Either way, when we use these talents to serve a higher purpose we find true authenticity and peace within ourselves. Are you good at writing, but find yourself struggling to get your book to become a number one seller? Try using that talent to serve God. Are you good at working with your hands? Open yourself up to allowing God to make use of that talent. Our talents were never intended to be used for our own purposes and our own gain, but rather to perpetuate the Kingdom of God. When we stop trying to use our gifts to get ahead and instead give them to God, then and only then do we find the true value and true worth that we relentlessly search for.
7. Practice True Love
Love is patient and kind. It's never self-seeking, allows trust, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. Love is not jealous. When we practice true love we automatically begin to live authentically because LOVE can not exist with the falsehood of the ego. True love alone will teach us to live in peace and harmony with ourselves and with others.
Letting go of my ego and learning to live authentically was the most freeing thing I've ever experienced. It's that one thing that I wish I would have never let go of from childhood. I'm thankful that God has allowed me to learn this lesson, as I realize that many people live an entire lifetime and never learn to simply live. I give all the glory to God and will share this message for as long as I live.
Sincerely, with true love, true authenticity, and joy,
1 Corinthians 13:4-8 (The true definition of love)
Matthew 25:14 - 30 (The Parable of the talents)