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Beating Egobesity: Slimming down the ego


A morbidly obese man with the words Beating Egobesity displayed on the picture

The internet is a wild frontier.


Recently, I saw a video of a morbidly obese man struggling to get out of his very low Lamborghini. Try as he might, he just couldn’t lift himself out of his car. It would have been funny if it wasn't so sad. There he was—apparently rich and accomplished, yet sabotaged by his own inability to manage his oral intake.


This tragically comedic picture reminded me of my own ego. Fat with all it so desperately craves: a lust for control, a desire to be liked, and a frantic search for security. These are things guaranteed to cause egobesity.


AN Ego BASED SOLUTION


Egobesity is a suffering state of disconnect from your true self. It is when you are imprisoned by your false self—or ego—to such an extent that you cannot freely make decisions anymore. Your thoughts and actions are now dictated by your ego-needs and desires. It is indeed a subtle, yet brutally effective form of enslavement. It is easy to understand why this condition leads to all kinds of addiction.


“The cave you fear to enter holds the treasure you seek." ~ Joseph Campbell

Egobesity drains your energy. All resources are diverted to maintaining the status quo, with little energy available for anything else. Like a parasite, egobesity besets its host while taking over most primary functions. It becomes the main focus of attention.


In a sick twist of irony, the function of egobesity is to protect you. It is a fear-based solution to prevent you from stepping out of line. Its aim is to keep you on top of things, liked by people, and safe from danger. It is, like Campbell describes, the fear that prevents you from entering the cave of treasure you truly seek—your true self.


Egobesity is the ego’s attempt at steering my life and controlling the future—away from who I truly am. It is ashamed of ‘me’ and doesn’t trust me. Yet it is merely a construct designed to constrict.


Richard Rohr (Center for Action and Contemplation) has a simple, but profound view on this. From his book Immortal Diamond, he writes:


“The false self is all the things we pretend to be and think we are. It is the pride, arrogance, title, costume, role, and degree we take to be ourselves. It’s almost entirely created by our minds, our cultures, and our families. It is what’s passing and what’s going to die, and it is not who we are. For many people, this is all they have—but all of it is going to die when we die.”

The fat man and his Lambo becomes the metaphor for most of us: the ego-self in limbo. On the outside, we assume we present a successful and accomplished image. From a distance, that seems true. People stop and look when we drive by. The container of the ego is indeed impressive. But at some point, the ego will be exposed for what it is. It will be seen for its gluttonous, anxious, and shameful self. Struggling, sweaty, and out of breath, unable to even do something simple, like getting out of the driver’s seat of your life. Pathetic. Embarrassed. Humiliated.


And that's a great thing. Egobesity is totally reversible.


The first step to rehabilitation? Awareness.


Simply being able to spot the ego is already a step closer to disarming it.


“The moment you become aware of the ego in you, it is strictly speaking no longer the ego, but just an old, conditioned mind-pattern. Ego implies unawareness. Awareness and ego cannot coexist.”
~ Eckhart Tolle

Your true self can only emerge once the ego has taken a back seat. That’s how the ‘old, conditioned mind-patterns’ are replaced with new, empowering, and truth-based thinking. But this is a process, not a one-off event. The journey to authenticity is exactly that: a journey. Brené Brown supports this statement when she writes, “Authenticity is the daily practice of letting go of who we think we’re supposed to be and embracing who we are.”


SLIMMING DOWN THE EGO


Like I said, the ego is after three things:


  1. It always wants to control an be in control. Because control means power. When you notice the urge to control things, circumstances, or people, ask yourself if it's your place to control these things. Or even, what would actually happen if you just let it go?

  2. It wants to please people and be accepted. This can come in many shapes and forms, and is probably a little harder to notice - and admit - than our need for control. This normally plays out in relationships through manipulative manoeuvres.

  3. It wants stuff to feel secure. Normally money, because money can buy security. Security in the form of friendships, status, knowledge, gadgets, brand names, property, drugs, cars, technology and the list goes on.


A diagram of a triangle displaying the 3 ego needs of control, acceptance and security as reasons for egobesity
The 3 Ego Needs

Knowing the ego constantly chases after these three primary things - in whatever shape or form, helps us to spot it and disarm it. We can then consciously choose a different path.


And that changes everything. We now have a choice. Freedom becomes an option.


Instead of control, choose love. Instead of seeking approval or acceptance, allow hope. Instead of seeking security, have some faith.


A healthy diet of self-honesty, self-awareness, and a recognition that you are more than simply an ego would lead to some drastic weight loss.


You can let go of the ego-smothered junk food that’s keeping you a slave to your false self.


A simple, lean, and free life beckons.


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