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The Struggle of Ego and Self-Esteem

An email I received from a member describing his struggle with understanding ego, false pride and self-esteem, i.e. self-worth, has given me good cause for thought, and as a review of my own self.  So for what it is worth this is my answer to him, that I thought worth passing on.  

XXXXX, I see your description of self as a manifestation of a lack of self-esteem, stemming from a sense of "less than."  It is a great mistake we make, comparing our insides with the outsides of others. THEY DO NOT COMPARE!

The ego is the “I” or self of any person; a person as thinking, feeling, and willing, and distinguishing itself from the selves of others and from objects of its thought. It is the creator of our perceptions, our illusions, of self-esteem or self-image.  

The ego represents and enforces the reality principle whereas the id is concerned only with the pleasure principle.  The id is the great reservoir of the libido, from which the ego seeks to distinguish itself through various mechanisms of repression (such as your projected image, and our "alcoholic" behavior to "fit in.")  

Whereas the ego is oriented towards perceptions in the real world, the id is oriented towards internal instincts, whereas the ego is associated with reason and sanity, the id belongs to the passions. The ego, however, is never able fully to distinguish itself from the id, of which the ego is, in fact, a part.  

It is interesting to observe how false pride masquerades as true, and sends other ignorant ones scurrying to the defense of those who display it.

We create personas out of our insecurities. We crave attention and notoriety and go to great lengths to display our expertise and our convictions in order to receive affirmation of what is a false sense of self. Others with this same affliction jump on our bandwagon and actually do us great damage by affirming our illusions, and theirs.

We bully and ridicule those whose opinions differ from ours in naked displays of our insecurity. It is very ugly to observe, especially since the insecure often choose the weakest and most vulnerable as their targets.

We take great care that our superficial trappings, our dress, our hair, the decoration of our homes, represent the picture we want to convey to the outside world.

Well, if we are our true to ourselves and live authentically from our true self, there is nothing whatsoever to represent. We simply are. It is from a diligent and throrough practice of the steps that we become real, our true spirit is awakened, and we know who we are, and in humility we accept ourselves simply as we have been created. We have partaken of the greatest gift that God has given mankind, forgiveness of self and others.

False pride can easily be distinguished from true. The truly great feel no need to stand out, and often work behind the scenes to effect the changes they need to see. They need no pulpit, no platform, for they are already lifted high above most others.

They feel no pressing need to answer the criticisms of others because they know who they are and rest in the peace of that knowledge.

They don't need to be 'cool', they don't need outside affiliations to affirm their worthiness. They know they are worthy.

In this distorted funhouse world of illusion, it is easy for one possessed of false pride to collect a gang of followers, but in the end this just makes it more difficult for us to come to the truth of who we really are.

And the truth of who we are is so much greater than any greatness we can achieve in the eyes of fools about us.

Why do we choose lesser over greater? Why do we fail to embrace our magnitude? Why do we fail to be entirely willing and thorough in following the instructions on page 59 and 60 of the BigBook? All the answers we are seeking in life are there.  

Let the storms come as they may .... as we work our way through the steps and life .... to be left standing in who we are .... for it is only then that we can honestly walk through the door to the other side of ourselves and see the face of God .... where the "I" is in Truth a localized, intimte, manifestation of the Divine.  

Love and Peace, Barefoot

Index of A.A. History Pages on Barefoot's World

As in so many things, especially with we alcoholics, our History is our Greatest Asset!.. We each arrived at the doors of A.A. with an intensive and lengthy "History of Things That Do Not Work" .. Today, In A.A. and In Recovery, Our History has added an intensive and lengthy "History of Things That DO Work!!" and We will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it!!

ABC Page 60 -- Barefoot's Recovery Pages



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