"You know, I really do love fish!"
My friend Steve came up with this profound comment as we were about to tuck into the gastronomic offerings before us in a crowded downtown restaurant. I raised my eyebrows.
Well, on the face of it, Steve sure wasn't kidding. He lost no time in matching words with action as he attacked the luscious fried sole with cream sauce with unbelievable gusto.
But I know my friend is a philosopher at heart, and I wasn't going to let him get away with it so easily.
"Steve," I said. "You're doing a great job with that fish. I envy your efficiency. But..."
"What do you mean that you LOVE it?"
"I sure do," Steve assured me. "Could eat it for breakfast lunch and supper. I believe I could almost live on it."
"Yeah," I retorted. "And for the sake of your unquenchable love, the lives of how many fish are sniffed out every day? Steve, you don't love FISH. You love YOURSELF."
And my friend was forced to admit I was right.
Now, let's switch focus a bit. Let's talk a little about Pete, another good friend of mine.
(OK, OK, I'll come clean. In real life, I don't have a friend called Steve nor one called Pete. If I did, I wouldn't be gossiping about them like this, would I? I hate gossip. Fortunately, though, I've a reasonably good imagination, and I'm trying to put across some pretty important concepts here...
Forgive me? Good...)
Couple who are always squabbling
Pete has been married for ten years or more, and he and his good wife, Jane are almost always squabbling.
To tell the truth, I've never known anything like it. It's either he insulting her, or she insulting him. In private or public, it seems to make little difference; each trying to find a juicier epithet still to hurl at the other.
Ever since I've known him, Pete has been protesting that he loves Jane dearly. And you know something? He does. I should know. He's MY friend.
True, at one time, I was skeptical. If Pete said he loved his wife, I could hardly doubt it, but I thought it was like Steve and his beloved fish. Now I know better.
Good - so how do I know? Alright, I'll tell you.
A few years ago, something of a medical nature was apparently bothering Jane a bit, so off she went to her doctor for a check-up. She wasn't expecting anything particularly dramatic, but what she heard from the physician that day was a bombshell, to put it very mildly.
"Jane, I don't like to frighten you, but this is life threatening. Very , very serious. However, time is still on our side. The next two months will be critical. You must follow the treatment program to the letter, and get plenty of rest. And keep praying..."
Do you think there was any bickering in Steve and Jane's household during the following two months? Not on your life!
Blissful feeling of intimacy
Pete's single-minded concern for his wife's health and comfort, if predictable, was complete. And if a pain wracked Jane did allow an occasional hurtful remark to pass her lips, he found it pretty easy to ignore it.
Ironically, this was, in some ways, the happiest period of the marriage. A blissful feeling of intimacy, such as neither partner had ever dreamed possible, enveloped the unsuspecting couple. Pete's obsession with Jane's welfare left him with no time for extraneous thoughts, and Jane's appreciation and admiration grew stronger day by day.
Two month's later, they were back at the doctor's. Can you imagine the overwhelming relief when he pronounced: "The danger's over!"?
Business as usual...
And the next day - business as usual! Petty bickering, name-calling, all kinds of verbal barbs and arrows. Well, if that brings them a little contentment in life...everyone to their own taste!
But seriously, what makes them do it? Can they really be contented that way? More pointedly, how could a couple that had reached such great heights slip back overnight?
It all boils down to a critical three-letter word.
We call it the EGO.
Is the Ego really so bad? Not always. If by "ego" we mean "self-esteem", it's indispensable.
Many people say that we can't start to love others until we love ourselves first. That's perfectly true - IF we're talking about the right kind of self-love.
But if my Ego means my needs, my honor, my sensitivities, always come first (and probably middle and last), boy, we're playing with dynamite!
Sure, Pete loves Jane, and Jane loves Pete. Always did, always will. If one would disappear from the other's life, he or she would know all about it!
So what's the problem?
Then what's the problem? Why does it take a medical crisis to create a little bit of peace and harmony in their home? What prevents this at other times?
And what about US? What blocks the harmony that we seek in our homes, the peaceful cooperation we want in our workplaces?
The Ego that insists that I'm right, that will not yield on the most trivial issue. The Ego that demands the honor that's due to me. The Ego that pursues justice at all costs, irrespective of everything it knocks down on the way!
And for the sake of that pompous ass of an Ego, we're prepared to sacrifice everything!
Ways Your Ego Will Kill Your Relationship
Before I start today’s blog, I want to be sure to thank everyone for all the amazing blog comments and emails I received yesterday wishing me a happy birthday. I loved and appreciated them all!
Let’s talk a little about relationships today…
Anyone who has read me knows that there is something I say over and over again (because it is so important!): To be able to truly love yourself and to truly be able to love someone else, you must drop the ego. This is absolutely essential to finding an amazing relationship, but it’s equally critical to maintaining and continually improving a relationship once you’re already in it.
Nothing will kill a relationship (even the best of relationships) more quickly than ego. Here are 6 ways your ego can kill your relationship, and how to avoid having your ego ruin your relationship.
1.Resist The Temptation To Defend Yourself: Think about the number of times you’ve fought with a significant other, and whenever things get a little heated you start to defend yourself. All you hear is you being attacked, and you immediately go into “defending yourself” mode. Do you know that when you defend yourself in a fight, what’s really happening is your ego is defending itself. It also means that you’ve stopped listening to the other person. If someone tells you that they don’t like the way you’ve been acting lately, why not hear them out instead of defending yourself? It will almost always create a MUCH better outcome.
2.To Love Yourself And Someone Else Completely You Must Separate The Ego: In order to truly love someone, you must separate your ego from yourself. This is also true if you want to be able to totally love yourself. Now, I know that in a perfect world, we would never be ego-driven. This is not a perfect world of course, so let’s get real. We are all ego-driven to some extent or another, so let’s acknowledge it and embrace that we need to separate the ego to cultivate and maintain a truly amazing relationship with someone.
3.Your Ego Can Ruin Any Conversation: The truth is that no matter how much you prepare, plan and hope for a good conversation with your significant other, your ego is the one thing that will consistently ruin any conversation you’re about to have if you let it. Let’s say your significant other is frustrated with you in one way or another and really needs to express something about that to you. How do you respond? If you let your ego get involved and you defend yourself, it means that you’re not listening to them. In order to really listen to somebody, it’s uncomfortable. Sometimes your significant other has things that are really bothering them about which they want to talk to you, but which you would rather not hear. To maintain a great relationship, however, you can’t let your ego keep you from really listening.
4.You Have To Be Willing To Drop The Ego And Learn To Have A Healthy Relationship: If you want to really be able to get deep with someone and take your relationship to a deep level, then you need to be able to take your ego out of the equation. You will always attract somebody who is just like yourself, because you really attract who you are as a person. Also, your significant other is going to do things that you don’t recognize. It may be voices, patterns, communication styles or other things with which you aren’t familiar.
You need to be open and able to learn these things about your significant other, and your ego will keep you from doing this every time. All of us need to learn things about our significant other every single day. We need to learn our significant other’s communication style, because many times your communication styles will be very different.
5.Dropping The Ego Doesn’t Mean You Need To Change Who You Are: It can take a lot for you to drop the ego, really listen to your significant other and realize that they need you say something in a different way or understand how the way you communicate may make them feel a certain way. A lot of people misunderstand these kind of requests as being their significant other’s attempt to change them. It’s not.
They’re not trying to change you, they are trying to improve the way you communicate with each other. They are trying to get the two of you to be able to communicate better than you ever have in the past. Don’t let your ego get in the way. Embrace this!
6.Ego Causes Those “Low Blowers” Which Are The Biggest Relationship Killers: Do you get frustrated when you’re having an argument with a significant other? Of course, we all do. When that happens, though, sometimes the ego will cause you to hurl what I call “low blowers” at the other person.
You’re feeling hurt, so you lash out and say something you know will make the other person hurt too. It was not only hurtful, but inevitably something stupid. By listening to your significant other, instead of lashing out from your ego, you can get through an argument without these low blows and they will be much more constructive (and not destructive to your relationship).
So the next time you see your ego getting involved in your relationship, get rid of it! If you find yourself defending yourself or not allowing you to really listen, then you need to take a step back. Listen carefully to what’s really being said, and use it to create the most amazing relationship.
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