Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Don't Feed the Beast

Have you ever chatted pleasantly with someone whom you did not like very much? How about spending an hour or an entire day with someone who got on your nerves but to whom you had to be polite, responsive, and offer respect? It is almost painful. What if you lived with that person….and that person was you?

“Within human beings, three inner forces exist, often at odds with each other: the soul (our conscience), the ego (or lower soul), and the body. The conscience seeks to do what is right; the ego wants to be right; and the body just wants to escape from all of it.” Dr David J. Lieberman (You Can Read Anyone)

The conscience wants to do what is right. The stronger our conscience it the higher our self-esteem and the more we like ourselves. The more we like ourselves the happier we are.

The ego wants to make us look good to others such as buying a flashy car that’s beyond our means, making a joke at the someone else’s expense, or getting angry when someone makes a joke at our expense.

The body simply wants what feels good, is easy or comfortable. This inner force can cause us to do or not do something merely because of how it feels.  When the alarm clock goes off in the morning and we hit the snooze button the body has won the battle. When you overeat just because it tastes good the body has won the battle.

True happiness or freedom results from a high self-esteem, we like ourselves.  We are able to do what our conscience wants, in spite of what we feel like doing at the moment.

For example you are on a diet and your are presented with a delicious piece of chocolate cake. You fight the temptation but eventually cave in. Can it be said that you are free? You felt like eating it and you did. Is this freedom or slavery? How do you feel afterwards? Did the cake make you happier? How would you have felt about yourself if you had resisted the temptation?

Only when we are able to choose responsibly we gain self-esteem and we like our self more. When we rise above our selfish inclinations and resist, we are winning the battle with the body and the ego. Anytime we allow the ego or body to win we only feel some temporary pleasure but eventually we will feel lousy.

The weaker our self-esteem the more powerful our ego. We do things, buy things, say things “for show”. We think that if we look better to others we may feel better about ourselves. This does not work so we also look to the body to deal with the frustration of a low self-esteem, it demands pleasure such as drugs, alcohol, sex, overeating, or oversleeping. This is not a fix as well, it is just little short escapes from the frustration of a low self-esteem. The more we give in to our ego or our bodies the lower our self-esteem becomes, it is in effect a whirlpool of self destruction.

The Beast
The ego can easily turn into a beast with an insatiable appetite. This beast is constantly angry and frustrated at life for coming up short. His expectations are never met. The beast feeds on almost anything such as a passing compliment, control, power, even fear and it continually takes the chance to impress. It is consumed with what it lacks, what it is owed, and what else it needs in order to be complete. It is forever one more thing away from happiness.

If you are truly happy then you have a high self-esteem, the beast is tame and under control, it may get out from time to time but you can easily get it back into it’s cage. If you are not happy you need to starve the beast and tame it while building up your self-esteem. 

Feed your self-esteem by listening to your conscience, protecting it, valuing it, and obeying it. Cultivate compassion for yourself, accept yourself, and forgive yourself.

See your ego clearly for what it is, a beast with no good intentions. Defeat it for the sake of real peace and happiness.

The principles and techniques on this web site will help ThinkingArtfully.com

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