You’re trying desperately to manage the strangulating pressures of life, and working hard to reject your impulses to feel rejected. You may think the answers can be found in the dying-to-look-like-they-look comparison game. But you won’t find the answers playing the comparison game because (SPOILER ALERT!) the game is fiction. It’s an illusion.
I want to teach you the difference between ego and soul:
So, what’s ego? For the sake of simplicity, think of ego as the part of you that seeks approval, recognition, and the feeling of being special. Your ego wants you to shine. It wants you to have popularity, privilege, and praise. It wants you to go shopping for what-she-is-wearing outfits. It wants you to have that tight butt and those six-pack abs. It wants you to be noticed and get special attention. The ego stays famished and is never satisfied. Never. I don’t want you to dislike the part of you that is ego, but I want you to understand and tame it.
So, what is soul? Think of soul as the part of you that is curiosity, creativity, love, and light. It’s the spark in you when you’re laughing hysterically with your friends. It’s the feeling of escape when you’re listening to a song that soothes and calms. It’s the trusting friend that wants you to become the best version of yourself without pretenses. The soul is patient and accepting- it doesn’t need you to pretend.
I tell you this with brutal honesty and a straight face: I watch your ego take charge and squash your soul’s efforts to help you relax. Your soul is trying to tell you that much of your anxiety is the contradictory motives of the ego. Remember to look for the trade-offs. Put ego in the back seat and let soul drive sometimes.
The ego fights to be dealt a better hand of cards, but the soul knows the magic of playing the heck out of the cards its holding. Consider these distinctions between ego and soul:
Ego shakes the self-love out of you when you feel upstaged by your best friend.
Soul hugs her when she comes to you for advice.
Ego anticipates the bikini and convinces you to starve yourself the week before you go to the coast.
Soul anticipates the excitement of being in the waves and embracing the beauty of glorious dolphins.
Ego taps you on the shoulder in a jealous rage when you search social media.
Soul finds quotes that inspire you.
I offer you relief from anxiety and worry by insisting that the soul doesn’t need or want special treatment. Release your grip on believing that you need more. Relax. I’ve been in your shoes, and I know relief comes from stepping off of the precarious fence between insecurity and confidence. Learn to trade off comparing for creativity. Trade competing for curiosity. Trade darkness for your own guiding light.
Remember that superficial stuff will never satisfy you like your connections and positive experiences. Go sing your heart out. Light your favorite candle. Cut fresh flowers. Laugh. Laugh more. Then tell your ego to chill so your soul can shine!
“Tension is who you think you should be. Relaxation is who you are.” -Chinese proverb
by Dr. Alison Conner, psychologist and member of the Girlology Expert Panel