That voice, the one often called our “inner monologue”, is one which many mistakenly consider to be “The Voice of Reason”, generally heard trying to remind you of WHY you shouldn’t attempt whatever new thing you wish to try, or shouldn’t approach that attractive stranger you’d like to know, etc, etc, etc….
THAT is the VOICE OF YOUR EGO, and it’s NOT you, nor is it your friend – it’s actually UNCONCERNED with your happiness, comfort, or satisfaction, and just exists to keep you from progressing.
The Ego is merely an avatar of ourselves, which each one of us generates automatically as we begin to develop language. Without intending to, we imbue this avatar with the power to speak TO US, and we are a captive audience to it!
The Ego is how we envision ourself to be, based on both collected (received) and projected (imagined/assumed) assessments of how we are perceived by others.
When one begins to be able to identify themselves as an abstraction, [“I am Johnny”] and they begin to appreciate their attributes as defined by observers (such as your parents, telling you as a child that you’re a good boy, nice-looking, a smart boy, etc…) they define their avatar using these assigned attributes: “Johnny is a good, nice-looking, and smart boy”.
The challenge throughout ones life is to learn to communicate with their own avatar (which they may mistakenly believe to be themselves) in a non-destructive or demotivating way, since the Ego has only ONE fear (humiliation/embarrassment, which makes it feel diminished) and ONE agenda – protecting itself from being diminished, as it is consistently regenerated with each successive experience.
*YOU* may wish to extend and expand yourself, to embrace new and broader vistas and experiences, but first you must satisfy your Ego that it is not in jeopardy of being diminished – and that requires your fortifying your confidence and self-esteem sufficiently that your Ego won’t try to talk you out (or frighten you out!) of attempting something new – or at least, becoming solid enough that you can persevere, forcing yourself onward through the shouts and harangues which your Ego will hurl at you!
Remember: It is IMPOSSIBLE to improve or enhance your skills in anything without RISKING FAILURE. And Risking Failure is something a weak person’s ego DEFINITELY doesn’t want them to do! (After all, IF THEY FAIL, the Ego will be embarrassed!)
Once you come to accept that you CANNOT PROGRESS without risking failure, and that your Ego would happily let you stagnate in depression rather than have you potentially embarrass it, you can emancipate yourself from its oppression! First, you must realize that is it not ‘YOU’; and that it CAN NOT DO ANYTHING TO HARM YOU, without your permission!
That’s right – It has NO power!
It can merely shout at you inside your head, and try to convince you of the folly of your intentions… BUT IF YOU HAVE ‘REASONED CONFIDENCE’ IN YOURSELF, you can simply respond to your Ego’s voice as you would an annoying and closed-minded neighbor, shouting criticisms from their porch, by simply dismissing their comments with a lighthearted “Thank you!” – and then proceeding with your own agenda, unimpeded.
(Jamie Smart taught me the fantastically elegant method of suppressing your ego by literally verbally “thanking it”, rather than arguing with it! What a magnificent reframe!)
So, everyone must return to the level of enthusiastic and adventurousness of their early childhood – before their Ego began to constrain them through accepting (or presuming!) criticisms from others!
Eventually, with experience and introspection, plus active communication between your ‘conscious mind’ (the logical, communcative part of your brain) and your ‘subconcious mind’ (the ‘situationally reactive’ and emotional part of your brain) your Ego may become comfortable with your attempting new things, after sufficient positive and empowering outcomes – at which point, your Ego will begin encouraging you to strive for new and exciting opportunities – ultimately becoming your greatest supporter!
When your Ego no longer fights against your attempting new things, but rather fights against procrastination and self-doubt, to prevent you from complacency and stagnation, you’ll have it made!