When I was very young I didn’t think about who I was or what I looked like. I played. I sang. I danced. I argued. I cried and I laughed. I lived.
All of these are names given me by other people, but not names I would have given myself. My name is not mine, it’s theirs. It’s a series of costumes put on my life by other people. Robert Fulghum (1937 -)
Source: Maybe (Maybe Not) (Maybe Not : Second Thoughts from a Secret Life)
Psychologists tell us that the ego is the part of us that makes us aware of who we are. They say that until the ego has developed we just are, like a tree or a flower. We don’t think about who we are or if we even should be as we are. If our voice is too loud or our hair is too red. Before our ego has developed we don’t sit and wonder if the other kids would like us better if we shared or if mom would give us chocolate cake if we wore the pink dress and looked cute. More likely we would cry if we didn’t get the chocolate cake. And the funny thing, that’s a healthy childhood.
If you were born in a household with violence, addiction or abuse, you would develop other coping mechanisms, add-on behaviors to “work around” getting your needs met. These actions might even appear normal or beneficial to outsiders. The extremely calm child is sometimes one of them. He may sit quietly in the doctor’s office and not cry when the needle goes in his arm for his immunizations. The nurse pats him on the head and tells him what a good boy he is. Mom needs him a big boy, just like at home. He has seen what dad will do when he or his mother misbehaves. The little girl who hides from strangers and won’t take the candy offered may be shy, but she may also be unsure if mom is with her behavior. When you’re two feet tall and three or four years old, the world is a foreign land. The language is obscure and people say things that you don’t understand. You learn early to be agreeable, don’t you. This is an unhealthy childhood.
Good behavior is just that, behavior. We learn early to watch our behavior. Watch our speech and our inflections. We keep things hidden so people don’t see our ugly parts. We learn these things and adults that are in charge teach it well. The difference between the healthy childhood and the unhealthy childhood seems obvious, if you are reading it on paper. If you are the adult looking back at your own, it’s not nearly so easy. The difference is the overcompensation that you learn to do, that little extra that you know keeps people liking you or ignoring you.
But we are the adults now. In a perfect world, the ego would develop naturally in the child and by the time you have matured it would become less and less. Unfortunately none of us have our citizenship in that perfect world. We have learned to put on a show for others, go along with dad’s rants, don’t step on toes or say what you really think. And as you get older, instead of this ego getting smaller over time, it becomes more complicated. The facade get’s heavier and the resentment gets darker. Sometimes we develop depression and anxiety because of our facade.
It’s time to unlearn and to relearn some very important lessons. Being good is not the goal anymore. Mommy doesn’t need you to stay quiet and sit still. Those behaviors that helped you before, now need to drop off just as the training wheels on your bicycle came off. You have outgrown them. Dare to BE. You are in charge of your life. And it’s time to give yourself the permissions you need. Your ego is there for a reason. It is your training wheels. We can now let our personality fully integrate and the ego will either become one with our personality or it will adapt to a more reasonable structure.
There are several authors I would recommend. You may have heard of them already. Caroline Myss and Pia Mellody are a couple that I enjoy. There are many blogs and sites available on the internet. One of my favorites is Meadow Devor. Another one I like is Bravegirlsclub. Whatever allows you to bloom and be strong; whoever encourages you and inspires you; anyone than tells you that you belong and that you have a right to be here, that’s the ones you need to listen to. I also like hypnosis New You.