(Ahem, I am quite familiar with all of these excuses…how about you?)
Part of growing as a spiritual being is to be aware of the parts of us that DON’T want to change and grow. Our bodies are set up for homeostasis — and so is our ego identity. Throughout your life, your are growing and changing, but you still think of yourself as “I.” Your ego, the “I” part of you typically has a negative, knee-jerk reaction to anything that lies outside your comfort zone. Over time, it can be coaxed into cooperating with the process of transformation, but until it operates on that level, you need to beware of the ways it can trick you into not taking on the challenges that are best for your personal expansion.
Here I share 6 sneaky ways your ego tries to sabotage your self-growth. See which of these are most familiar to you — and make sure not to “fall” for them next time. A questioning mind is an expanding mind!
6 Excuses Your Ego Makes to Avoid Transformational Opportunities
1) I need to (over) think about it.
Yes, you do need to do a little research for most big decisions. You probably want to weigh your options. But at some point, thinking you have to think about it more and more is just your ego’s way of avoiding making a decision and taking action.
2) I tried it and it didn’t work.
If you say this, ask yourself how hard you tried on a scale of 1 to 10 (with 1 being very little and 10 being the absolute maximum). I find that when my clients use this, they typically haven’t tried very long or very hard. If you tried something with all your being, then this statement may be the truth, but in most cases, I find that the ego makes a cursory stab at something, just so it can say this and dismiss taking on the bigger task (or transformational journey) being considered.
3) This is stupid.
There’s a little reverse psychology going on here. When I hear this one, it’s usually coming from somebody who’s intimidated. Instead of admitting that the path in front of them is a little scary or overwhelming, they dismiss it with a blanket judgment about how dumb it is. The default mode for the ego (which is different than a deeply conscious ego) is to keep things under control and to make itself feel superior. Your spirit, on the other hand, couldn’t care less about your status or who’s in charge. Your spirit just wants to play and grow, so beware of this trap.
4) I’m waiting for the perfect moment.
You may not say verbatim that you are waiting for the perfect moment. More likely, you’ll say something like, “I’m waiting until… (fill in the blank). It could be when you graduate, get a different job, find a different partner, have more money, lose more weight. Whatever it is, it is an excuse, plain and simple. NOW is the only moment you ever have and it is always “perfect.” Likewise, the perfect timing you think you’re waiting for will never come. It. Just. Won’t. Come. Admit it. Deep down, it’s just another one of your ego’s excuses to not actually step up and start creating what you really want right NOW.
5) I can’t.
This is a popular one many of us pull out when we’re afraid to step up to the next level. But the truth is nobody can do something right from the start. So if you’re ego uses this as an excuse, just remember that it’s a totally normal thing that you can’t NOW. That’s why you are stepping up to learn or transform in some way — so that you can learn how you can. Most of us have the bad habit of assuming that if someone is good at something, it comes to them naturally. I’ll never forget when I went to a small Picasso museum in Arles, France and saw the artist’s earliest sketches. They genuinely sucked — dozens of drawings that were dreadfully bad. I could doodle better than that! So how did Picasso become, well… Picasso? He never said “I can’t.” He just kept drawing and drawing and drawing until he was one of the best. “I can’t” should never be an excuse to not do something, because with dedication and practice, we can develop almost any skill over time.
6) I don’t have the resources (money, time, etc).
You can always find a way to do what you really want to do. When it comes to transformational opportunities, the ego likes to make you think that there is some sort of external lack that is stopping you from stepping forward. That way, you can say you “would” step up if you “could.” Don’t buy into that. You always can. Think of a time in your life when you were really resourceful and, against all odds, you made something happen. When you hear yourself making resource excuses, one of two things is happening: either you don’t really want to do the thing you say you want to do, or your ego is sabotaging you. If it’s the latter, fight back. You’re ridiculously resourceful. Challenge yourself and make the thing you want to happen happen!
I’m sure this is not an exhaustive list of the ego’s tricks, but these are the ones I hear pretty frequently, so knowing them should give you a leg up on your transformational path. If you know of some good ones that I didn’t include, by all means, please share them in the comments section below so others can benefit from your experience.
Stay true to your path!
Love and blessings,