FREEDOM MONTH: DAY 23: “Safety is all well and good: I prefer freedom.” ― E.B. White
This must be a line from somewhere in “Charlotte’s Web,” which I find to be a wonderful little story with great messages throughout.
But the reason I used this quote today is to write about what Ego does and why this is pertinent to those of us with that issue (all humans, I mean).
Ego’s only function is to solve problems. Therefore, Ego’s view of life is to focus solely on problems it creates in what is going on. This produces fear in us. As little kids, we began to formulate our views of the world around us. This happens, developmentally at around the age of 3-4.
SO, we are often in a state of agitation and fear because the world around us appears to be hostile and bigger than we are. (Because the world around us IS hostile and bigger than we are!) If we do not have caregivers who are helping us feel safe, we begin to develop Ego Defenses. And their only job is to do what? Defend Ego!
Uhoh! So, that is how our egos come to have the tremendous power we give them. The fear becomes so great at a certain point in time that we are quite ready to run all the time. We become escape artists, and the best way to escape is through drugs and alcohol. BUT, long before we drink or use, we are doing all we can (as guided by Ego) to control the world around us for OUR benefit and OUR benefit only.
We try to manipulate life and people and circumstances to stop the constant sense of danger we feel, only to never realize that WE are making the whole damn thing up!
We will watch the news and believe the stories of how dangerous the world around us is, that there are certain people who are dangerous, that danger lurks everywhere. We build a great case for believing that we are always on the edge of some dangerous cliff.
None of it is true. The absolute freedom of 12-step recovery lies in the smashing of the Ego and the ways we are working to live in love instead of fear. But we must move through this process on a deep and deepening level to get fully rid of those beliefs that keep us stuck in fear and anxiety or depression. Anxiety says that the world is horrible and out to get us; and many of us say F… it, I am not going to be in the world. Simply put, we make all of it up.
When we process through these steps, we remove the power of Ego and begin to melt away the Ego Defenses and get rid of them. Or we don’t. It is up to you. I find that I too, love and prefer my freedom.