Many times, the most difficult hurdles to overcome are the ones we create ourselves.
This can happen when we are led by our ego, that present inward focus that consumes most of us. Though this thought may be unpopular, if we are honest, our greatest concerns start and end with us.
A true irony is this self-centeredness is something we would likely oppose in others while we accept or excuse it in ourselves. Here is where ego and arrogance reside.
In conversations I have had with people about the power of self, many have been offended when faced with this possibility. This is because we do not want to believe this could possibly be true of us.
Nevertheless, if we are honest, we are consistently our biggest hurdle, challenge, and concern. This applies to each of us and makes us susceptible to manipulation and exploitation.
Consequently, there are those whose goal is to use how we think and feel, against us. This is occurring all around us as we find ourselves considering the merit of ideas, thoughts, and cultural paradigms contrary to our beliefs.
If we can agree this is possible, we must ask ourselves, can I be exploited? The answer is yes, when and if I am “led by my ego”.
The only way to identify if this is happening is to be aware of when someone is stroking our ego. Because the stroking of our ego is usually done to get something from us. It is almost never because someone has something for us.
How do I know?
Because I have participated in this same type of behavioral manipulation. When I was growing up, I learned early on how to stroke my parents’ ego to get my way. As I think about it, I must say it worked well most of the time.
If this is something a child can do to their parents, why would we think someone cannot or would not do it to us? The answer is, because admitting I am being “led by my ego” is uncomfortable.
This is especially true since being affirmed, acknowledged, and appreciated is a need felt by most.
So, our vulnerability to being manipulated and exploited is a direct result of our desire to have our egos fed and those intent on doing so know this full well.
How can we avoid being led by our egos? We must pay attention and refuse to allow it to happen. Then, we will move in the direction we know we should go, whether it feeds our ego or not!
Proverbs 16:18, “Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.”