I used to think of my ego as my friend. Some friend. The more I learn about health, the more I realize that, with friends like this, I don’t need enemies.
I have spent most of my adult life engrossed in a quest for rationality and consistency, encouraged by my so-called friend to ignore that the truth usually does not conform to those patterns. Time and again, I have been set up to be disillusioned when the universe refused to play by my rules.
I have chosen to listen to a different voice within me. It’s a much quieter voice that does not shout to be heard above the ego’s sweeping rationalizations. From now on I am siding with my humor nature.
I cannot listen to both. My ego and my humor nature set forth very contrasting personal agendas. I am forced to choose, and on that choice rests the quality of my health and productivity.
Here are some examples of contrast.
My ego teaches me to approach others with wariness and mistrust. It believes life is a win/lose proposition and that I can gain by taking. My humor nature implicitly trusts everyone, sees each situation as win/win and suggests that I will gain only by giving.
My ego hates surprises. It considers mistakes to be setbacks and thinks forgiveness is a form of weakness. Humor nature hopes and prays for surprises regards mistakes as opportunities and sees forgiveness as a sign of strength.
My ego emphasizes differences, strives for control and dominance, and motivates through guilt. Humor nature celebrates unity, strives for mutuality, and motivates through fun.
Regarding fun, the ego says, “Resist the temptation, then feel guilty.” My humor nature says, “Enjoy it and feel grateful.” This is a huge difference.
For my ego, fun is an irresponsible waste of time. On the contrary, humor nature quietly asserts that fun is always the most responsible option healthwise and a wise investment timewise.
The choice is always between these two opposing factions and the effects are immediate. If I surrender to my humor nature, I am likely to say or do something nonsensical, which provides an immediate sense of freedom and energy. When I chastise myself the next moment with the labels “foolish” and “irresponsible,” I am giving in to my ego, and the sense of restriction is equally swift.
If you can relate to this, let me ask an important question. Which list of attributes best describes your life these days – pessimism, cynicism, hostility, judgment, resentment, guardedness, and disillusionment or optimism, trust, joy, hope, integrity, simplicity, and goodwill?
We rationalize that we must act the way we do for our own protection. If we are not sufficiently crafty, we’ll be trampled and abused. Keep in mind that those are the words of your ego.
Yes, we must take care of ourselves and avoid situations of abuse. But all available data suggest that we are at our best physically, mentally, socially, and spiritually, when we allow humor nature to prevail, which produces the second list.
The point is that, although I cannot dictate the cards that are dealt with me in life, I always have a choice about how I play or fold my hand. That choice is simple, but never easy. It is either my “old friend” or my humor nature.
Which would you choose?