In the previous week we had seen how we slip into the roles we play as driven by our egos or sense of a separate self.
This week we will examine those factors that drive the ego into action.
Fundamental Ego Drivers
The energy that gives birth to our ego state may be defined as our Will.
Our ‘Will to Be’ is the basic driving force of our egos.
This energy helps us to survive as a separate self endowed with unique characteristics.
Another important factor that drives our ego is the deep felt need for ‘Attention’ from others.
Through receiving attention from others, we in fact receive their energy that makes us feel Alive.
We use our resources of energy to drive our Will. When our energy levels are high, we have a strong Will that drives the ego to accomplish goals easily. When our energy levels are low, we are weak-Willed and our ego’s accomplishments in life are few and unworthy.
The low energy level in the weak – Willed is replenished by the ego through acting in ways so as to receive Attention, and therefore energy, from others.
The Will drives the ego in the direction of accomplishments (through work and actions) that will in turn ensure receiving Attention from others (in the form of praise and rewards).
The ego is thus pushed into action by the ‘Will to Be’ and pulled into action by the desire for ‘Attention’.
Personality as an Ego Driver
Our energy levels (low or high) that drive our Will and basic instincts determine the facets of the personality we acquire and retain throughout our lives.
The endeavor to retain the acquired personality is another driving force of our ego state.
We prefer to live within the confines of our personality traits as it helps us to remain in our comfort zone and give us a sense of unique identity which we strive to maintain at all costs as it makes us feel unique.
Emotions as Ego Drivers
As we grow up we identify means by which we succeed in attracting the attention of our parents towards us. This attention is our basic felt need for survival and growth.
The attention seeking mechanism triggers unique emotional states that we become identified with.
Later on in life these emotional states propel the ego to act in ways that attract attention.
The need to remain in the emotional state that gives us a familiar feel of being wanted through receiving attention is another important driving force of our ego state.
For instance, if during childhood, our parents gave us more attention when we fell ill (felt helpless), we practice to get into the grove of the same feelings of “poor me” later on in life in order to get the attention of our near and dear ones and feel good.
Memories and Past Experiences as Ego Drivers
Memories of our behavior during childhood and interaction with our parents, along with the impressions of past experiences are powerful driving forces of our egos.
These may be categorized as three basic needs and tendencies that propel the ego into action.
1. Need for approval
Whenever we face situations and circumstances that make us feel diffident and small in the eyes of others, or when we feel sorry for ourselves, we slip into what we may term as a Child Ego State. In this state we recall the helplessness we felt for being so small and the ways in which we acted to seek approval from significant others in order to feel good to replace the painful feeling of helplessness . When we enter this state in our adult life, our egos are propelled into action in similar ways to gain attention and approval from others.
2. Need to judge
Situations and events sometimes take us into a state where we need to take a decision after judging the facts presented to us. This is when we tend to be driven into what we may term as a Parent Ego State which helps us to recollect the advice given by our parents and the morals and values we imbibed from them to help us judge the situation presenting itself to us and then act appropriately
3. Need to control
In situations when we are completely aware of the surroundings and we have neither slipped into our Child nor Parent Ego states, we may be said to be in our Adult Ego State. In this state we are in control of our perceptions and actions, and also feel a sense of control over the situation we find ourselves in. This drive to feel a sense of control helps the ego to feel important and is therefore one of the powerful driving forces of the ego.
All these drivers of the ego are the forces that work at the subconscious and unconscious levels of our awareness and propel us to act in ways that we consciously perceive as motives that drive the ego to achieve name, fame, wealth, knowledge and security to mention a few.
However, despite all these drivers of the ego, the most important and significant force that drives the ego into action day in and day out is our innermost and heartfelt need to love and be loved.