I recently went way beyond my comfort zone and asked a question about how I add value to other people. I removed the filter of business and asked about me. I popped it in my business group, and my page.
It was uncomfortable, but that was the point of the exercise. To push outside of my comfort zone!
I sat back and waited; I got a couple of lovely comments, but generally, crickets.
I’m not going to lie.
I was a little hurt.
A little angry even.
Then I went a bit “woe is me”
Why does nobody like me enough to write a lovely message?
This is an honest confession from a nearly 40-year-old mum of two, who is about 99.7% adult and grown up most of the time.
It affected self-esteem. It knocked my confidence.
It bruised my ego.
What is an ego?
Ego is the scientific definition that has made its way into every day conversation and became a little fuzzy on its meaning. A “big ego” is someone that thinks that they are great. A bruised ego is when you feel less than, or unworthy; it is all linked to self-esteem.
Pulling on my Psychology hat, the word Ego comes from Freud’s model of the Psyche, and it interacts with the Id and Super-ego. In very simple terms, Ego is your sense of self, and it pays attention to how “you” interact and are perceived by the world. Id is the base animal instincts and super-ego is what keeps you in check; it’s your moral compass.
So, it’s easy to see why the phrase ego has found its way into our day to day chatter. Especially the internal conversations when we think about how we THINK people perceive us.
Back to the issue in hand. We all have moments where our confidence is jarred. From business to career to personal life, we have situations where things don’t go the way we want, and it is easy to let that internal mind chatter chip away out our sense of self-worth.
Any type of situation that involves a response; such as asking for feedback, interactions, comments, purchases or support, leaves us open to things not going how we want.
Things often don’t work out the way we want, and the easiest thing to do is blame ourselves.
You have to ask yourself, what were you expecting to happen in the first place?
One of the interesting things about the human species is we pretty much think the world revolves around us. We, for a matter of self-preservation, will put ourselves at the very centre of the world, so often assume if life doesn’t go the way we want, it is a reflection of us as a person.
The irony is, it’s likely that EVERYONE thinks that way. Everyone is spending time thinking about themselves, stressing about what they have said or haven’t said, rather than judging others.
So, in situations where we don’t get the response we want, it’s not always about us; it is about the circumstances.
Why social media is the enemy to the ego
Take the ever-expanding world of social media – which becomes a melting pot of emotion when you are developing your business or working towards getting support in your personal life or career. We put up edited and cropped pictures to show the world our lives; yet the hastag #InstaTruth (where you don’t filter!) has become a “thing”.
However, Facebook is the place where I see and hear about the biggest bruised egos.
This platform has approximately 350 million photos uploaded a day, 100 million hours of DAILY video watch time; but the average time spent on Facebook is 20 minutes a day. Every 60 secs, 510 thousand comments are posted, 293, 000 status are updated, 136, 000 photos are uploaded – with the average number of friends being 338.
So, there is a VERY high chance that anything, anyone posts, won’t be seen.
Yet, with all this logic behind us, the first place we go to with a missed or low interaction post is “I’m not good enough. No one is supporting me”.
How to manage a bruised ego
Having your self-belief shook isn’t just in the social world, it can appear in a range of ways, but the end result is how WE feel. However, one of the few things we can really control is our reaction to a situation.
One way of managing this is to pay attention to your thought processes and to work out what is true and what is speculation,
The next time your ego is smarting, ask yourself:
- Why do I FEEL this way?
- What did I want to happen?
- What has happened?
- Why did this happen?
- What other reasons could this have occurred?
When you work through this process, it takes the emotional, illogical response away and gets you to use your adult self; the super-ego. It pulls in evidence that shows us that whilst your initial response may not be incorrect, it may not be the ONLY explanation.
Feeling this way, every so often, is not a sign that you are less than, or unsupported, or your business is crap. It is just the realities of a world where we are the centre of our own being, in a place where we are surround by information, options and emotions. Sometimes it’s easier to just switch off.
So, whilst it won’t stop you feeling this way, because, hey Freud tells us that is part and parcel of being a human being, it will reduce the length of time your ego feels bruised.
Want to join a supportive group of working parents? Come along to the FREE Facebook Group The Balance Collective with Clara Wilcox where you get regular coaching and training from me!