No matter the size of our egos, we are all driven by it to some extent. And out of all things that can damage a relationship, the power of the ego is probably number one. Perhaps because that’s where all issues start: miscommunication, defensiveness, dishonesty, selfishness and so on.
Here are 3 major ways your ego interferes in your love matters and how you can avoid ruining a relationship:
1. Resist the temptation to defend yourself
If you think of all the fights you’ve ever had with your current and even past partners, you will see there’s a pattern. At some point during a conversation, you felt they were attacking you so, naturally, you had to defend yourself.
First of all, people don’t really attack you on purpose just to bruise your ego, much the less your loved ones. Our interpretations are highly subjective and we may feel attacked more easily if we were frequently put down in the past, maybe by a parent or older sibling.
Secondly, think about it: what are we really defending when we become defensive? We may raise our tone, become irritable and feel the urge to snap. We even feel like someone just punched us in the stomach.
That’s because we are reacting to a trigger, or simply put, we are reacting, instead of just responding. When it gets intense and we react because we feel hurt, we have stopped listening to the other person. We make whatever they may be saying about ourselves.
The secret is to stop identifying ourselves with our ego. Easier said than done because we’ve been doing it for years.
2. Try to detach yourself from your ego
Sometimes, therapy and meditation are oriented towards this goal. In order to really love someone selflessly and genuinely, we must overcome this barrier within ourselves. Our egos will only keep us from enjoying our life to the fullest. Being ego-driven will always make us put our feelings above the other person’s. Thus, we will fail to respond to their needs because we are too self-absorbed.
3. Don’t let your ego ruin your conversations
Listening is key. A healthy and long-lasting relationship is based on good communication and mutual respect. These can only be achieved when we are mature enough to show empathy and understanding.
Our conversations with our partner will only reflect how we feel inside and how willing we are to let go of our egos.
Try to actively think about all the ways you fall into the ego trap and give yourself the chance to grow.