Quiet Ego

Scott Barry Kaufman, academic and author and humanistic psychologist, writes in The Pressing Need for Everyone to Quiet their Egos on the benefits of the “Quiet Ego” as a means of balancing and integrating the interests of the self and others. Whether you use meditation, mindfulness or any other technique to quieten that voice in your head, an important place to start is to just recognise that the choice between you and I, them and me, is not a zero-sum game. It is a balancing act….

“I define the ego as that aspect of the self that has the incessant need to see itself in a positive light. Make no doubt: the self can be our greatest resource, but it can also be our darkest enemy. On the one hand, the fundamentally human capacities for self-awareness, self-reflection, and self-control are essential for reaching our goals. On the other hand, the self will do anything to disavow itself of responsibility for any negative outcome it may have played a role. As one researcher put it, the self engenders “a self-zoo of self-defense mechanisms.” I believe we can refer to these defensive strategies to see the self in a positive light as the “ego”. A noisy ego spends so much time defending the self as if it were a real thing, and then doing whatever it takes to assert itself, that it often inhibits the very goals it is most striving for.”

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