It’s one of the most challenging things you’ll ever go up against. It’s even bigger and more dangerous than a blitzing safety. Even more difficult to decipher than a tricky coverage. It’s letting go of your ego.
Notice how I didn’t say just “ego”? Because when people say “ego,” they mean full of themselves, self-important, or over-confident. But the real definitions give us a clue about why it can be destructive—and why letting go of ego is so important.
Merriam-Webster gives a couple of definitions. One is “the self especially as contrasted with another self or the world.” The other is, “the organized conscious mediator between the person and reality especially by functioning both in the perception of and adaptation to reality.”
So, everyone has an ego (a sense of self) and has to use it to perceive reality. The trouble comes when the sense of self gets in the way of perceiving reality accurately.
Soon, your actions are determined by a need for validation and superiority, or an inability to accept criticism. It totally zaps your opportunities for deeper spiritual growth. But letting go of ego brings you closer to true self-awareness and the transformative power that brings.
5 Keys for Letting Go of Ego
When you look at well-known cases of egotism, you can’t help but wonder, “What planet is that guy on? What makes him think he can treat other people that way?” But it’s never so easy when you look in the mirror. “Why do I think I can treat my co-worker or spouse like I do at my low points? Why do I think I can get away with my selfish behavior?” Because the ego is centered on the self, it operates as though we’re different, that we’re the center of the world—against what we know to be true. Putting others’ needs ahead of your own is one of the easiest ways to let go of ego, but it’s hard to sustain alone. Reflect and pray to God that He will give you the wisdom and self-awareness to let go of your ego, navigate your blind spots, and see things from others’ perspectives.
Stop the need for approval.
We all begin searching for approval at a young age. We wonder, “What do Mom and Dad think of me? What do my siblings think of me? Am I loved here?” For young boys, Dads are key players. But even if you have a great dad, no one is perfect. Their imperfection leads to our own insecurities. We end up looking for approval from them, from peers, from bosses, from girls. The problem is once we get it, we get addicted to the feeling of recognition. It becomes our sense of self, and so the ego inflates.
Receive your true identity.
Everyone is looking for some kind of label to validate their ego. “Winning athlete,” “successful businessman,” or some other accomplishment. The problem is these identities force us to always compete with others to win them, and they’re temporary. The first time we lose or our business hits a rough patch, our self-confidence goes down the drain. The ego is wounded. That is why we must receive our true identity as a son of God. This identity is given by God and gives us all the power, peace and assurance we’ll ever need. And it’s unconditional.
Remember the importance of team.
The easiest way to let your ego go unchecked is to isolate yourself. But on a good, strong team, there’s no room for (inflated) egos. They get in the way. They stop you from healthy communication and accomplishing what you’ve been called to accomplish. Think of your marriage, your family, your men’s group, or your coworkers as a team. Have a clear goal and hold each other accountable to the standard you need to reach it.
Be a servant leader.
Jesus was the ultimate man and with the ultimate mission—to come down to earth and reconcile mankind with the Father. All of this and He wasn’t above washing the feet of his disciples. In fact, He did it to set an example. This is how you lead. You serve others. You can’t have a big ego and follow the sacrificial example set by the only perfect leader.
Stop Letting Your Ego Get in the Way.
You’ve read this far. That shows you have the will to begin the journey of letting go of your ego. You’re not too proud to learn from others. I hope you take these steps into your life to help you let go of your ego and receive your true, authentic self.
Want to start a men’s group that helps you let go of your ego? Download the Playbook for Level 5 Friendship today.