Through this post I will tell you the story of how I realized I had an ego and how this discovery changed the vision I had of myself. The concept of egotism is highly psychological, and I will not cover the subject of its definition. I will let this hard task to my fellow writers.
One thing is for sure: if you have a big ego, there is a lot of chance you do not realize it!
How I Realized it
I was 27 when it struck me. My coworkers and I were dining in a restaurant as part of a meeting with our managers. We were a small group with strong personal feelings working as a team. The hierarchy between us was thin, but it still existed. That night, the two managers had organized the diner to speak about the current situation of the company at the time.
Yes, it was a sort of crisis meeting.
For sometimes now, the working atmosphere was degrading. We still had a lot of fun working there, but something was in the air. It was standard since the company were shifting from a startup to a small company. Well, it is easy to write this from the outside, but when you are experiencing it, you do not realize that what you are experiencing is normal.
Let’s sum the problem up by the fact that hierarchy was starting to appear.
During this dinner we all took turn getting everything off our chest and I pretty much put all the blame on the CEO of the company. At that time, we could not see eye to eye. I was not happy about the way he was leading the company and I had a lot of problems staying at my place. During my speech I said something like: “He is an egomaniac; the guy has more ego than all of the team combined!”
And the knockout punch came from my manager, who was, and kind of still is, a big brother/father figure to me. He gently said:
“This is not true, though it would be if you exclude yourself from the count.”
The whole table laughed, and I laughed too. But it acted as a reality check for me. It came from someone I praised a lot and my friends/coworkers were getting along with the idea. So, in the same time, I realized that I had a big ego and, more importantly, that I was the only one not noticing it!
Why Do You Need to Realize it?
Your ego is like a bubble, surrounding your whole body. It is warm and comfy but when you encounter other people, you tend to bump in each other. Once you realize you come with your bubble, you will automatically realize that other people also have their bubble. And yes, for some people, the bubble is huge. I know what I am talking about.
When you’re able to take this step back, you will start to understand why you can have trouble speaking with somebody or why a person can have problems interacting with you. Understanding ourselves is the first step towards understanding other people. Ego can be a huge barrier if you are not willing to break it down.
It is okay to have an ego, no matter how big it is. Hell, self-esteem and confidence are based on egotism and both will help you a lot in life. But knowing you have this ego will give you an edge and prevent you from feeling the down side of this two aspects. No over confidence, no condescension.
How to Realize it
I will advise you to start by taking a personality test. But do not focus on the end results. The first goal is to answer questions about yourself. Maybe you never had these questions and it will be a good way to get to know yourself better. And the result may hint to some aspects of your personality that you never formalized. Reading it can be therapeutic.
Then, you can just provoke the situation I experimented. Ask the people around you. They will know better. It is not a shame to ask about your ego, if it can help you be a better person, it will also benefit your friends, family and colleagues. But be prepared for any kind of response. Remember, if you have a big ego, you tend not to realize it. So, do not act defensive if somebody tells you that you are an egomaniac!
On a higher note, accepting yourself and getting in touch with your personality is the first step to have healthier relationships with other humans. There is already a lot of posts on Medium covering this subject with a deeper analysis. Feel free to check them out.
Thank you for reading my lines.