I hold three treasures close to my heart. The first is love. The next, simplicity. The third, overcoming ego.
Tao Te Ching
Last week I participated in one of the International Speech contests in Barcelona. I took second place.
Now, lets make a short test. What is the first thought that comes to your mind right now? Is it “great job”, or “well, pity that she was not the first”? Do you have your answers already?
I will tell you my reaction. After all the incredible work that was done, preparation, rehearsals and adrenaline boost, the day came and it was a great competition. Fair and honest. But the second it was announced, the first thing that came to my mind was… “Second? Why second?” I clearly remember this moment. Standing on the scene. Applauses. Me – sad. Profoundly unhappy because I was not the first one.
Some of you will say, what an Ego! Or, what a perfectionist! And you will be right! It made me think that moment, that instead of congratulating myself on a great work and enjoying the moment of appreciation, I was not satisfied. It was not enough.
Did you ever think that the current world is educating us to be the best? In everything? Always the best. Always higher, quicker and smarter. But in this constant run of the perfection do we have time to really enjoy the road? And here is the tricky thing – this run becomes continuous. Run for perfection and feeding our Ego becomes our everyday life, in fact, the goal becomes more important that the road itself.
Love to ourselves, self-appreciation is NOT equal to our Ego. These are two different concepts.
With the same example of the speech contest, lets have a look what could be my feelings, my emotions and response to myself:
Self-appreciation: “Jelena, great job! Congratulations for the second place! How much did you learn from this unique experience! I hope that for someone in the audience, it was useful”. The focus is on learning and sharing with others my knowledge.
Ego: “Not the first one. This time you were not the best. After all hard work, you got only the second place”.
Do you see how different one is from another?
Love to ourselves and self-appreciation leads to happy and fulfilled live.
Ego and perfection leads to frustration. It will never be enough. Once you finish one goal, you will find another one and again – running to reach it, without noticing that the road itself is the most important, not the final destination. Because the road – is the learning path, is when you meet new people and places, the road converts us to the new person.
And now I have a small exercise for you:
Remember 2 situations in your past three months, that made you feel sad or frustrated.
Write them down. Identify your reactions to this.
Last time you had a fight with someone? What was your Ego saying? Was your reaction to this situation coming from self appreciation and respect to other? If not, imagine how different could it be?
Once you identify the situation itself, your reactions, try to imagine and transfer them in your mind. Try to identify feelings and reactions coming from our Ego.