“Confronted by outstanding merit, there is no way of saving one's ego except by
love” Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
One of the single biggest life lessons that can
change both your relationships and your ability to succeed is to learn to get
out of your own way. Generally we learn this lesson in hindsight, after we
have already squandered an opportunity or harmed one of our relationships.
This happened in my life on both fronts this week and so now I am practicing a
healthy dose of the self-forgiveness lesson instead.
The recent release of a book on
Eco-Sex that borrowed from my tagline on making love sustainable was the first
example of my ego blocking me from my own success. I still remember the day
that I got the email from Stephanie Weiss about providing samples for her new
book on Eco Sex. She had found our eco love products first and was excited to
include them in her book, which has received national attention by the way.
Her publishing house’s former editor had been talking to me about this book
idea before she had left. My own book’s progress was languishing. Needless to
say, all I could see was red and Good Clean Love products are not featured in
her book as they could easily have been. Perfect, out of the book example of
ego getting in your own way.
Even more painful is when we
see our egos lead us astray in our relationships. They whisper in our ears in
a quiet yet determined beat about how our partner is not interested in spending
time with us or willing to extend themselves in some social situations. The
tune doesn’t have to play too long and we slip into a negative bias about all
that our relationship doesn’t provide, completely overlooking and minimizing all
the places where our partner shows up and sacrifices silently every day. My
ego has still not learned the critical lesson of the benefit of the doubt. My
ego still does not have the capacity to trust that even if my feelings are
currently being hurt, that my partner is doing the best that he can.
The crux of the issue in both
these situations was that my feelings were hurt. I didn’t have to turn it into
a losing battle about the right to some words, or even who got the deal with a
publisher. Looking back at how my feelings controlled my behavior at that time,
I feel silly and small. In the same way, I don’t have to spin the story of my
husband’s disinterest or unavailability into a weekend long competition about
who extends themselves more for the other. There is no winning in the one-up
game, just senseless hurtful words that only increase the distance that I am
suffering from anyway.
My ego rarely leads me to what
my heart actually wants. If I couldn’t have gotten the book contract, I wish I
could have used my heart so I could be included in it. If I can’t get my
husband to be interested in what I want to do, I don’t have to trash all that
he does do. I can just have my wounded heart, look at it and go on without
turning the relationship in on itself. Healthy relationships add health and
years to your life. Unhealthy ones are worse than being alone. I surrender.
I know that what I want is not coming from my ego, it is a perspective that
requires heart. I am not sure how many days in my life I will have to learn
the lesson of which voice I want to listen for, but I am ready to give up the
half truths that feel like the whole story when my ego is bruised and my
feelings are hurt. How about you?