Silencing Our Stories of Self

words & photo by Brian Thompson.

The only thing that limits us in life and that stands in the way of our true well-being is our ego. Once we free ourself from its sticky tendrils, we will be infinite — and so too will our happiness and all of our opportunities.

To be clear, when I say “ego” I’m not only referring to a person's over-inflated self esteem or their sense of self importance, I’m referring to any sense of self at all. Any concept of separation that we create between us and the rest of the world, distances us from it. For instance, any thought that uses a first-person personal pronoun of I, Me, My, or Mine. Such as:

I am depressed. Why do I feel this way?
Why did they do this to me?
She broke my heart.
That money is all mine.
I deserved it more than him.

It is this type of sense of self that separates us from our happiness and from realizing our true nature.

Our sense of self, our ego, is what’s responsible when we take things so personally all the time. It’s what makes us analyze and trivialize even the smallest of things and that somehow finds a way to turn everything into being all about us.

Our ego is what turns a rude comment from someone in a coffee shop into a personal attack. “I must have done something wrong to anger them," you think. “Do I look funny? Are my clothes not matching? Did I look at them the wrong way? Why do I have such rotten luck with people?"

We suffer because of the stories we tell ourselves.

It is our ego, our sense of self, that makes us fearful, angry, jealous, greedy, and virtually every other negative emotion we feel as well. It is our ego that makes us think we’re better than others, or that we somehow deserve more than them.

Our sense of self, our ego, is what makes us think we’re at the top of the food chain, rather than simply being a part of it and equal as all the rest. This is the same for our family circles, our social circles, and our professional circles too. Our ego distances us from reality and then pushes us closer to the edge, where we teeter uneasily. If we continue in such a way, eventually one more overly-personalized story will push us over and we’ll fall.

At home or work, in love or play, personal or professional, and in searching for success of any kind, we’re imprisoned by the boundaries of our ego. Our true potential is stuck behind the limitations of all the stories we create around otherwise innocuous events and occurrences.

It’s our ego that causes us to get stuck inside our heads with overwrought, compulsive and obsessive thinking.

Every single one of us is living inside our very own individual world of self-centered thought, a story of our own making, a dream of our own creation.

It’s our ego that creates our view of ourselves and the world around us. It separates the two, always making an “us" and a “them". It creates the stories in our head that become our virtual reality that we then become stuck in. But there’s no truth to be found there, and when we believe there is, we suffer.

Whenever we make ourselves the centre of any story — of any event, conversation or thought which we personalize — we create stress and unease within us. But nothing is ever only about us, and yet we’re addicted to always trying to make it so.

With each story-of-self we create, that we mull over and dwell on (which are thousands upon thousands, each and every day), we add another layer of insulation (ego) overtop of our otherwise happy true nature. Only by peeling away the countless layers of ego will we uncover the open and boundless true nature of our heart — kind, loving and compassionate.

Our liberation is found in silencing our stories of personalization and separation. This is our freedom.

If we are mindful and observe our ego we can begin to quieten its voice, and we can rely upon it less and less. We won’t find a need to personalize everything, things will simply be as they are. We will detach ourselves from worry.

The more the ego recedes, the more we will return our minds to their boundless, blissful and original state of no-self.