Ego & The Anxious Mind

NEW! If reading's not your jam - listen to me ramble below.

A little background:

I recently found myself deep in thought as I so often do, trying to make sense of what my mind was currently brewing up. It’s rarely something simple like ‘where are the clouds that store all our data?' Unfortunately, my mind is rarely kind and therefore will sentence me to hours of deep thought and reflection on all the intricacies associated with anxiety on the particular topic it decides to fire my way. 

Take the other day for example. Typical morning, singing along to Adele in the shower when all of a sudden, the subject of 'ego' pops into my head. Moment ruined as I'm left there with suds in my hair trying to dissect the meaning of the word while connecting the dots to understand how it can directly impact the life of those with an anxious disposition. I’m not saying I don’t enjoy my philosophical moments, but there is a time and a place, and singing along to Adele in the shower is neither the time nor the place. I literally had to run from the shower, grab my computer and start typing incessantly in an effort to recall the great synopses my mind had just mustered up.

One minute, I’m loading up on endorphins as my beautiful voice echoes throughout the bathroom. The next I’m fixated on the subject of ego, trying to figure out what the fuck it is exactly, and what good can really come from it.

Ego uncovered:

It didn’t take me long to reach the conclusion, ego is a motherfucker. By association, anything in this world I can relate in some shape or form to panic, is a motherfucker. The incinerator from which the seven deadly sins emerge, and a force that can invoke more negative emotions than a Kim Kardashians publicity stunt could inflict upon the world. 

When we think of someone as egotistical, words such as narcissistic, self-centred, or quite simply, a prick spring to mind. Being called a prick can certainly be endearing but in the instance of ego, all descriptive words are slathered with negative connotations. 

Think of one person that encapsulates all the above. Great minds.... I was also thinking Donald Trump. I’ve said my piece on Trump - the only logical move is to put him down or get Bond on the case. A hit on him would result in pretty much the greatest moment in history. Ever. ‘Donald’s Assassination’ would smash all records set by 'Titanic' in the box office, and Titanic wasn’t just a historical story, it was also the greatest love story ever told. And Dicaprio was in it.

I've clearly got ADD also, get over it. Back to ego. Once ignited, it can go undetected as it spreads like wildfire throughout our system making it almost impossible to extinguish. Why, you ask? Pride is now at stake and due to faulty wiring in a world where we thrive on trying to outdo one another, few have the awareness to show the required humility to admit they might be wrong. In essence, bowing down to their pride. When has a government ever apologized for all their fuck ups? They don’t, because their precious little ego would never allow it. The chick that talks to you on Google Maps doesn't even have the decency to say ‘turn around, I fucked up.’ Instead, she’ll send you on a crazy detour adding a substantial amount of time to your journey. Or maybe I don’t pay attention due to my ADD.

Wars, envy, jealousy, greed, the list goes on. You can be sure that with pretty much everything wrong in the world, at the very core of it, you’ll find an ego. And 'ego' in essence is just ‘me.’ It’s simply the belief we hold within us that makes us more special than others. We all have an ego; the problem arises when we can’t recognize it and therefore, control it.

Upon closer inspection:

That’s all on a macro level; it gets worse when we put it under a microscope. It’s the reason many (not all) so-called friends and associates are hesitant to truly root for each other and in many instances, are quick to dismantle another’s success or discourage them from pursuing their dreams for fear they will be realised, causing their own ego to whip up a serving of envy. You’d be naive to think it doesn't go on: I’ve repeated this conversation over and over with so many people, those whose dreams have been crushed by the words of others. 

We live in a copycat society fuelled by ego, oblivious to the fact that it’s been meticulously calculated by world leaders for centuries to ensure we all conform so they can keep their reign of power at the top. Once they get us (and it can start as early as a student loan), we're fucked. The majority will go through life in debt while becoming fixated on trying to outdo one another with better cars, trophy kids, bigger houses, etc. All the while, accumulating substantial debt resulting in increased stress and an unhappy existence while continuously adapting the mindset….....WHEN!

When I get this promotion, I'll be happy. When I pay off my mortgage, I'll be happy. When the kids piss off to college, I'll be happy. When I retire, I'll be happy. That's a dangerous game to be playing. When you’re dead, you’ll be happy.

Forget the Jones’. People are now trying to keep up with the fucking Kardashians. This way of living is dated, and shit. Go forth and break the monotony, it’s not like you don’t know it’s shit. It’s a failed theory that for most, if adhered to, does sweet fuck all in terms of creating a happier existence for our short stint on Earth.

Shifting focus:

We should be focusing on all the stuff that does matter - Vegas and hookers! Just kidding. I don’t like writing the word love because I don’t want to come across all sappy and shit, but, love, compassion, connections (with a pulse) and everything that’s fun or provokes laughter. Only you can decide not to play this game anymore. We are all society; you can't wait for society to change if you are unwilling to give it a go yourself. Become an early adopter; it could be like buying shares in Apple when venture capitalists thought Steve Jobs was flat out of his mind.

Living in Asia for the past three months has been extremely liberating. Without a doubt, one of the better moves I've made in life because it's really opened my eyes to how much drama and bullshit we both create, and put up with in the West. And the weather is nice.

I struggle to see any good to come from our egos. They don't protect us. There's an argument to be made that adrenaline does, and you know how I feel about that fucking hormone but with ego, it’s all a front. A front which inhibits one from truly enjoying life because we’re more concerned with others' success or how to portray ourselves in the best light possible so people will perceive us as somebody to be envious of. 

Life has evolved into a game of manipulation, whether it be a manipulation of our own minds or the manipulation of others.

Social egos:

Social media only perpetuates all the negatives associated with ‘ego’ as it has evolved into a platform for hate, with so many venting their anger and frustrations on how others choose to live their own life, as if they should actually give a fuck what strangers think. It's not like I'm immune: it pisses me off how much noise this naked selfie from Kim Kardashian has made. There's no escaping it, she's not even naked, those censored lines cover up more than any of Victoria's Secrets. We're the ones fuelling the fire; it will do about as much good as asking a wild rhino if you could borrow their brand new baby rhino for a selfie to upload onto Instagram.

Good luck with that!

Dealing with the motherfucker:

Why does it matter what anyone around you is doing? You choose to support them or ignore them. If they’re successful, celebrate it with them. If you’re successful, allow them to celebrate it with you. If they listen to their ego and try to diminish your accomplishments in any way, that’s what the door is for. If they can't stop telling you how great they have it and it's making you feel bad then that's two egos colliding; your insecurities as you struggle to celebrate their victories, and their insecurities as they feel the need to brag or seek validation for all their accomplishments. We’re all different; egos can compliment each other or collide like tectonic plates. How you react is up to you. There’s no law to say you have a duty to keep this person in your life, the same way they have no obligation to keep you in theirs.

I'm going to let you in on a little secret; my ego is a motherfucker also. Allow me to elaborate: starting out this site I asked the majority of my ‘Facebook friends’ to like my page in an effort to gain social proof and you know, make me feel popular. The majority chose not to oblige. My response is an automatic stimulus, frustration as the bastards have momentarily damaged my ego. In my mind, it’s a simple favour that will help me to ultimately reach the people my words will resonate with: those struggling with life as a direct result of anxiety, panic attacks, and the associated depression. It’s not like Facebook will allow me to do any marketing, those bastards have me red flagged from day one due to my 'distasteful' and 'offensive language'. 

I’ve had to block out that little inner dialogue proclaiming that all these people who I was once so happy to cross paths with or that I've built up lasting friendships with are not, in fact, dicks. It didn’t occur to me that they might have zero interest in the subject, and they don’t want their newsfeed contaminated with elaborate messages on how incompetent the world is when it comes to dealing with mental health issues. The decision is theirs if they want to throw a fuck my way or not. Although I don’t see most on a regular basis and will never see many again, when I do bump into them, not a word is exchanged on the subject (ish). We embrace each others company, shoot the shit, drink some beer, reminisce, and have a laugh. 

For a moment, I was prepared to allow my ego get the better of my rational mind and quite possibly jeopardize friendships I’ve held so dear in the past over something so trivial. It's so easy to zone in on this and forget all those who have shown incredible support (legends), for which I will never forget nor take for granted. All this highlights the force behind our egos as we become fixated on what we deem to be negative. 

That’s not to say I don’t believe in tit for tat. Every cloud has a silver lining, and this cloud has provided me with a surplus of fuck calories while highlighting whose endeavours I should be supporting, and those I should ignore unless it's something I see as really worthwhile. Is all this me craving admiration and looking for validation? Maybe. It's my ego for sure, but when you dissect it and look at it rationally, it’s easy to see just how ridiculous it is and therefore, no longer give a fuck. The other shit is far more important.

A master manipulator of the anxious mind:

Time to perk up. Ego plays a massive role in the anxious mind, and can be detrimental in one's quest for freedom. I can attribute many horrific decisions throughout my 13-year reign riddled by anxiety, which stemmed from listening to my ego. We lose all rationale while protecting our ego in an effort to keep our pride intact. Murphy's law won't allow it, ensuring the results are the polar opposite. More of that in the book. For now, I want to address how debilitating the role your ego can play in dealing with your anxiety. You might think I’m flat out, out of my mind for saying this but I’m going to say it regardless because if it resonates with you, it will help you.

For all those anxious souls out there plagued with panic and fear on a daily basis, my guess would be that you’ve had your confidence crushed, causing you to become increasingly cynical towards all humanity while losing hope for a better future. Here’s the kicker and here’s why we spend far too much time stuck in purgatory as we slowly begin to accept a life in hell: we convince ourselves that the world is against us, and this is a battle we can’t win. "My life is worthless, nobody cares, nobody understands, fuck this world, and all the dicks residing here." These are just some of the destructive thought patterns and tricks our minds play on us. It’s a bigger mind fuck than trying to wrap your head around astrology, or our very existence. Toasters  even confuse the shit out of me.  

There are many relatively simple behaviours and habits you can adopt to help improve and manage your anxiety, not to mention the actions or treatments available that will aid you in recovery. Unfortunately, your ego may not be so accommodating. The more time passes, the more you are inclined to side with your ego and believe all the bullshit it tells you.

As we know, our egos (the pricks) don’t like to be proven wrong. It’s bad for their ego. More often than not, in spite of the rational mind knowing concrete action could play a significant role in alleviating your anxiety and creating a pathway for a better, more prosperous future, your ego will win out. And you know this, why else do you come out with statements like “I know, I know, but I just can’t do it.” It’s not that you can’t, you absoFUCKINGlutely can. Anxiety is a learnt emotion arising from a sudden unfortunate event or a series of them over a prolonged period. Therefore, it can be unlearnt. 

Right now, one of the major blockages that may be preventing you from taking control of your anxiety is your ego. A master manipulator that can rage war on your mind preventing you from taking the right steps to recovery for fear that you just might prove the prick wrong. You need to pay acute attention to the rational action required instead of protecting your ego, which will ensure you remain trapped within the limiting confinements of an anxious mind.

Many suffering with debilitating anxiety will unknowingly endure even more pain just to protect their ego.

How do I know this? Because I allowed the raging bastard get the better of me for far too long.

So why should we listen to our egos? For the most part, we shouldn’t as they mostly hinder, and rarely help. Your ego will ensure you remain in the confinements of the most uncomfortable place on Earth for anyone suffering from anxiety; the comfort zone. That is not a Freudian slip: how much time and energy do you consume beating yourself up for retreating to the safety of your perceived comfort zone? Too much as everything you want, and everything you need exists in a world beyond your comfort zone. To say the correlation between the words 'comfort' and 'zone' is misleading weighs in at a massive understatement. Bow down to it and you'll remain trapped in misery as your belief that the world is against will continue to perpetuate, with your anger and frustration scaling to new heights. 

Sometimes ego can be beneficial; it reminds you of your self-worth and advocates for self-respect to avoid situations in which you could be taken advantage of. But how does one act? More often than not, irrationally, due to a passive aggressive demeanour which frequently takes command as one begins the process of dismantling their anxiety.

It’s not you against the world; it’s your ego against the world. Learn to separate your ego from yourself through acute awareness and you might just find the world is far more accommodating.

A little conclusion & exercise:

Seriously, sometimes I don’t know how the fuck my mind operates or where this comes from. However, the more I explore this, ask questions, conduct research, and speak to those currently suffering with anxiety, while drawing on my own experience with a somewhat functional mind, the more I believe it makes sense.

Anxiety messes with everything. Our thoughts become our beliefs, and our ego is just another piece of the most complicated puzzle on planet fucking Earth.

Ego is just a range of beliefs and emotions that become convoluted over time through all the negative stimuli we find ourselves exposed to. None of this can be undone, but if you work on making a concerted effort to separate your ego from your rational mind, you may find that you start making better life decisions moving forward. In the long run, this can make a lasting contribution to an all around better life; a by-product of which would be a far healthier ego. Similar to the ones operating within those happy sacks.

Let’s try a little exercise, for shits and giggles. I want you to draw two imaginary lines with only you inside them. Now take your ego, and dropkick that motherfucker out of the park. Nobody else exists here so it doesn't matter what any of them are doing with their lives. With your ego in a ditch, the only person that matters at this moment is you. The more you embrace your uniqueness, the more your self-respect will skyrocket, and the more irrelevant others opinions become as you create your own unique path through life. It's just you in this bubble so you know, lying to yourself is pretty much going to ruin the game. Don't fuck with the rules. Now ask yourself these four questions;

1.  Am I going to let my ego win out and prevent me from taking the necessary steps to get my life back on track?

2. What do I need to do differently with my life?

3. Will this enable me to enjoy my life unapologetically?*

4. What are the steps I need to take to get there?

I’m done here. You've got work to do. Any questions, feel free shoot me an email to nicky@nickycullen.com

Much love,
N

*If you answered 'NO' to question three, you fucked up. Go back and do it again.

Image credit: Pixabay


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