We all feel the need to be validated by others at one time or another. We get a certain boost of confidence when people see our positive side, while we try to make our less desirable traits less evident to others. We can attribute this behavior to our ego.
When you hear the word ego, what springs to your mind? Do you immediately think about people with an inflated sense of self? If so, that’s a common thought.
However, all of us possess an ego. Ego simply refers to a person's sense of self-esteem. A healthy ego means we have a favorable view of ourselves, making it essential to our identity, whereas for some people, having too much of a positive view of themselves can also pose a problem.
An unhealthy ego can harm a person’s emotions, thoughts, and reactions. An unhealthy ego can become an unpleasant trait once it causes a person to exhibit excessive qualities of self-importance.
Having a problematic ego does not happen overnight. If you are worried you may have an over-inflated ego, here are some signs to look out for.
Not Asking For Help
For some people, not asking for help is a sign of strength. However, it can also point to an ego problem. People with unhealthy egos choose not to ask for help, even if they know they could use some, for fear of tarnishing their image. For them, asking for a hand is a sign of physical, emotional, or intellectual weakness. They believe that they are very much capable of solving their own problems.
However, no person is an island – there will be times when a little support from others is necessary. Asking for help is not always a sign of weakness. On the contrary, it takes courage and strength to admit any limitations and accept advice from others.
Not Asking Questions
Another sign of an unhealthy ego is not wanting to ask questions. There is no single person who holds all the answers all the time. But this is a bitter pill to swallow for people with unhealthy egos. For them, asking questions shows that they are uninformed or ignorant.
However, we know that this is simply not the case. Asking questions is a sign that a person is thinking critically. It could also show that a person is interested and wants to know more about a specific topic or process.
Not asking questions is a dangerous trap for people with an ego problem. As a result, people around them may feel alienated, as asking questions hinders them from reaching out to others. These people don't realize that asking questions shows one's willingness to communicate and openness to learning more.
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Wanting To Win All The Time
Everybody wants to win. We all know how winning validates us while losing can be a real heartbreak. People with problematic egos like to win all the time, no matter what the cost. Because of this attitude, egocentric people have no problem with cutting corners, deceiving others, or employing other shady techniques just to emerge as the winner.
People with ego problems consider losing to be a failure because of their incessant desire to be right all the time. In most cases, they will not stop fighting until they get their way. Once they win, they love letting everyone know about it too. But when they lose, they will often get angry or vengeful. Simply put, people with unhealthy egos are neither grateful winners nor gracious losers.
Ignoring Negative Feedback
Psychologist Barry Kaufman defines ego as our aspect of the self that has the constant need to be seen in a positive light. For people with ego problems, negative feedback goes against the persona they wish to showcase. That is why they mostly ignore negative feedback.
Their ego prevents them from listening to others and accepting others' points of view, especially if it directly affects them. Egocentric people avoid hearing criticisms about themselves because this negative feedback hurts their sense of self. What they don't realize is that they miss many opportunities to grow and improve by blocking out this feedback from others.
We all have something to say, and we all want to be heard. However, people with an ego problem believe that only their opinions are valid. This is why they will tend to interrupt others in a conversation. They think that only their voice deserves to be heard, so they drown out others' opinions and do not give others a chance to express themselves. This behavior stems from their belief that they are smarter than everyone else and therefore their information is the right information.
People with unhealthy egos feel often feel that they are the best at everything, and because of this attitude, they don't get to build authentic and positive relationships with others. They may become defensive and bitter, failing to be grateful for what they have.
Avoid falling into the trap of an inflated ego. Instead, practice self-awareness and become mindful of these signs to achieve a healthy balance of your ego.