Identity. This topic has always attracted my attention and will probably remain so because as long as we exist, we will be created or maintain existing identities.
Ego – you can find the definition of the word in many places with ease. I am not a psychologist or a religious scholar. For my own (selfish) needs, I will use the meaning of „ego” similar to the teachings of the Far East.
The vision of one’s own person – the opinion about oneself, on the one hand, seems to be essential for functioning in everyday life, on the other hand, it is the cause of what we do not want, which is not nice for us.
The vision of one’s own person – identity.
Since I can remember, I have given myself different identities in my childhood. Sometimes I was a soldier fighting an enemy, a firefighter extinguishing a fire, a bus driver, a truck driver.
When I was a little older I saw myself as Bruce Lee master of kung fu, and so month after month, year after year with growing up, I stopped to play with toys.
The game itself with visions of oneself in the imagination gained more and more importance in relations with other people because I could hide this game only in my head, without revealing my roles, although I tried to play them.
E.g. When I was only 12 or 13 years old, I read Mickiewicz and Shakespeare’s works, learning phrases by heart, and then recited them to a girl. I wanted to impress her because I was in love with her.
It worked. The role of the wise, intelligent romantic gentleman was effective in winning the beloved’s heart.
Roles, given by others
My parents gave me my first and last name (identity) and for many years they called me who I am and who I am not. Hundreds of adjectives, from „you’re polite” to „you’re unbearable”, from „little boy” to „you’re big” and so on.
Then the surroundings, kindergarten, school, colleagues, teachers and so on and on.
I was also given national and religious identity.
In a word, a normal life. A human being covered with names that I did not choose myself. These are the demands of living in human society.
This fun in naming roles that we play in life is endless, even after this last role named: dead. Even after the death of a human being, we give it labels such as „good man”.
A short story: grandson, at grandfather’s 100th birthday ceremony, asks him: „Grandpa, who will you be after death”? And grandfather responds: „I hope I will be a good man.”
Returning to the vision of your self – identity. Looking back, my roles were all right, I played them consciously and unconsciously until the question arose:
who am I really?
It started then. I started to focus my attention on everything that could help me answer this question. I’ve started to hear words more often than usual: be yourself, discover yourself, get to know yourself, look inside yourself …
Then meditation began: „if something is wrong now, it means that I have not yet discovered myself true”. These were sophisticated excuses.
When we search for ourselves, we put on more labels, names for the sense of our own identity.
Each label is neither good nor bad, we use them in communication (doctor, lawyer, teacher, parent …). However, there is something that can even be dangerous to a human being:
Identification with the role, with the label.
Identification, that is, I am the same. We enter the role, we feel it, but we are addicted to it psychologically, we are addicted to playing this role.
As if the actor left the theater after the performance and was still in the role in which he stopped playing.
„My sense of self and the role I play are the same. I am identified” and this causes some dangers.
Now, when we are not aware of this identity, we create another ego. A mental creature who defends its existence defends its role as a being.
The ego uses the words: „I, me, my” and all its variations.
Selfishness is a struggle to preserve the „I am” – the imaginary one whose existence is threatened.
„I didn’t do it, I don’t know who did it”?
The aversion to admitting a mistake may be due to the defense of the ego (I’m polite, I’m perfect, I’m capable, I’m not making mistakes)
Playing the role called „I do not make mistakes” is idiotic, and the ego goes to a lie to stay alive.
Instead of admitting:
– Yes, that was my mistake, I’m sorry. I did what I could best at that moment.
An unpleasant feeling – the admission of mistake passes, just like the sour taste of the eaten slice of lemon – This is the last breath of this imaginary vision of „I am a faultless one”.
We can easily get involved in playing the role. We can manipulate ourselves, quite unconsciously.
Imagine a man who met a woman during a company meeting and during their common conversation heard such words:
-„Probably many women have told you that you are masculine and handsome”.
The guy feels something like pleasure, positive energy. The label – masculine and handsome – works.
The man goes in the „masculine and handsome” role along with a whole set of imaginations on the subject.
Keeps a simple figure, removes the chest forward, lifts the head … –instead of thanking for the kind words and returning to the family and this nice feeling goes away, just like the sweet taste of a donut with marmalade just after eating it.
But let’s assume that it did not happen.
The created ego of this man „I handsome” wants to confirm his existence, or at least he does not want to disappear. This man keeps in mind and recreates the course of that situation.
He returns home after work, his wife greets him simply, too simple. It’s enough that „he does not feel masculine and handsome” and is already caught by his ego.
Bad mood and everything related to it. He doesn’t even know where nervousness comes from.
Each ego defends itself if its existence is threatened. Examples can be multiplied.
My ego under the slogan „I know” – I have fought many times for the so-called „my truth” with people around me because „I know”. The admitting to wrong thinking, views, opinions is difficult because it is often associated with the death of the ego.
On the other hand, imagine everyday life with „I do not know” –full lack of independence, subservience – complete stupidity.
National, patriotic and religious identities or even those related to living in a big city or in a small village – all require attention, awareness. But that’s another topic.
The essence is to be aware of one’s own roles (conscious of life) and consciously leave the role when they are not adequate to the situation.
We use the ego to function on a daily basis. Each sense of one’s identity can be consciously built and used.
The „real me”, which the mystics talk about, and not only, is beyond thinking, any attempt to name it creates only a mental picture, which has nothing to do with „real me”. A friendly theory for my ego „seeker”.
Thank you for your attention. Please correct my mistakes and let me know what you think about it.