Indeed, we all find ourselves in that situation where we feel powerless in communicating with someone because of their stubbornness – their ego. What happens most often is that the other person has the gift of activating our own ego. Then, here we are trying to control each other. We try to convince the other of our point of view.
What is ego?
First of all, it is necessary to know that the ego is the set of all our beliefs in good, bad, correct, not correct, normal, not normal, etc. As soon as there is any negative judgment, it activates fears and/or guilt. We know then that we are no longer in control of our lives, that we are letting our ego take over.
On the other hand, when we try to impose our personal beliefs on others, it becomes pride. Pride is more often called a BIG or GREAT EGO. It is especially pride that, everywhere, affects relationships the most, whether on a personal or professional level.
Some tips for managing the ego
Here are some ideas on how to behave and what to do when faced with a proud person.
There are several ways to do this. However, none of them will work if you don’t start with the most important one, having COMPASSION for each other. If you cannot reach an agreement with the other person after trying different ways and the situation becomes more and more frustrating, it indicates that you have not been able to feel the other person’s pain and fear.
Take three deep breaths, drink water if possible, and take time to feel each other. How scared, how guilty, how afraid the other is of feeling guilty about something in the situation.
Setting the scene
For example, Mary is trying to convince her partner Bob to eat better and be more health conscious. She is very self-controlled, but she says she likes it better than being fat and sick. Bob, on the other hand, eats at all hours and likes anything that makes him fat. He doesn’t exercise and Mary, who loves him very much, is worried about him because he gains a little weight every year.
Not a day goes by without Marie making a certain remark. She tries to convince him and especially to make him admit that she is right. The more she insists, the more stubborn he gets. Bob tells her it’s none of her business, it’s his body and he has the right to do what he wants with it. He doesn’t want to control himself like Marie who doesn’t seem to have as much fun as he does. He finds her too serious and demanding of herself.
In all other areas, they get along quite well and they like each other a lot. However, in the long run, this dispute is getting in the way of their happiness. You can see that it is their egos that are constantly clashing. Which one will win? Unfortunately, both will always lose. You can never win with ego. Even if Mary held back and stopped trying to change him, or Bob began to agree with her to keep her quiet, it would only be an illusion of victory. Both would continue to be unhappy in this situation.
As it is Mary who started this debate, she must take the first step. To truly come to an understanding and make peace, she must FEEL Bob’s fear. The latter, even if he is not aware of it, is very afraid and feels guilty all the time, because if it were not the case, Mary would not try to make him feel guilty. Next, Mary needs to check her own fears and guilt.
The next step is REAL COMMUNICATION, i.e. based on questions. Mary can explain to Bob that she realizes that this situation is hopeless because of her own ego that is taking over and causing her to want to control him. She can tell him about the fears and guilt she has discovered about herself. She can also ask him if he has ever questioned his own fears and guilt. If he says yes and wants to talk about it, it will be very beneficial. She only has to listen to him and can ask questions, especially about how he is feeling. Most importantly, it is important that she not talk about Bob’s ego, as he is the one who needs to find out for himself for the discussion to be successful.
He is likely to say he has no fear or guilt. Mary should then let go and tell him that if he ever finds out, she hopes he will want to tell her. She can ask him how he feels when she tries to control him in this situation. In true communication, there are never accusations or judgments, only interest in what the other is experiencing.
Letting go means that we keep wanting something, but we don’t try to control how and when it will happen. We trust the Universe. There is nothing to stop Mary from asking Bob from time to time if he has discovered something, but without insisting.
When both are able to admit their fears, they can discuss how they might compromise and come to an agreement. For example, Mary can accept that she sometimes has less control and allows herself to deviate from her strict diet with Bob. As for the latter, he could perhaps agree to be like he was before only every other time. The most important thing is that both of them continue to talk to each other and feel what the other is experiencing.
If you decide to experiment with the above, be especially patient and tolerant of the other person, and of yourself. It may be that on several occasions, despite your good intentions, the ego of one activates the ego of the other. Stubbornness and control may be back. It is beneficial to say at this point: I think it’s best if we stop this discussion and both admit that we don’t agree at this point because our egos have gotten the best of us. We’ll talk about it another day.
After practicing a few times, you will find that this kind of understanding and peace will become easier and easier with everyone around you. You can’t learn anything without practice.
If you feel you need help with your communication with others, make an appointment with one of our professionals!
Source: Lise Bourbeau