Put aside the immediate negative thoughts you relate to the word ego and take this in for a quick second.
Going with Freud, there’s 3 main layers to our personalities. Id, ego and superego. Lets focus on the first 2.
The “Id” is the impulsive aspect of ourselves. It responds directly and instinctively. Its the most primitive part of our personality.
The “ego” is where our reason comes in. Reasoning with the “Id” and our environment. Balancing our irrational urges with intelligent action.
Cool, Psych-class over.
So now lets look at it like this…
The interactions and stimuli in daily life is the great ocean. Waves rocking side to side. Winds blowing in different directions.
The Id, that’s the ship. Floating along the ocean of life. Impulsively following the wind and bouncing with the waves. The “ship” responds instinctively to the conditions, much like we do to our environment.
And finally, meet Captain Ego. The captain of the ship.
So what is Captain Ego’s role?
Captain Ego must first accept one thing. The only thing Captain Ego can do is control his reactions. He’s a navigator. He can adjust the sails and steer the ship towards the destination. He knows the destination because he has a compass (moral compass).
But much like the winds and waves of life, not everything in our environment is in our control. He must acknowledge what he can and cannot change. Pleading to the winds to blow him faster does not work. Yelling at the waves to stop rocking his boat does nothing.
Sometimes the ship drifts off course, conditions are always changing so he must adjust accordingly. He can always readjust the ship (Id) in the right direction but must remember he is not completely in control and that’s okay.
Sometimes he will sail into stormy conditions but he must remember he is the Captain of his own ship.