So last week I told you that the Ego has 3 Basic Needs in order to feel safe and at ease. Need #1 is to Be Right, and I challenged you to experiment with making yourself right. It also might be worth noting, when you get triggered, what’s bothering you. Is it one of these needs making themselves known?
I believe that if we honor our needs, we don’t have to be needy in the same way. That is, you won’t resort to desperation to get what your body and soul require.
Without further ado…
I laughed out loud when I learned this. Boy, is my Ego desperate to look good. It might be its primary occupation.
But the best is when I look good and other people look terrible.
I’ve written about this topic at length, about how we don’t live our lives in a vacuum, but how living in full view of other people opens you up to judgment, rejection, shame (“and death,” my mind offers helpfully. Thanks, brain).
We try to look good physically, by having the “perfect” body or by making sure our skin is clear, hair is bright, and clothes are perfect.
We try to look good behaviorally, by eating the “right” foods in the “right” portions or exercising the way we think we’re supposed to.
We love to manage what other people see, making sure they only see the stuff that elevates us in their eyes. How many times have we lied about doing our homework, or being successful at our jobs, or what we ate on our food log?
Your Ego is trying to protect you. It wants to keep you safe. Looking good means being safe. That’s a big deal.
Creativity requires risk. It often doesn’t work out perfectly.
Creation is messy, chaotic, unpredictable. Managing it defeats the purpose.
Looking good can’t live alongside creativity. It just can’t. Not true creativity.
And by the way, everything in life is writable about if you have the outgoing guts to do it, and the imagination to improvise. The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt.
– Sylvia Plath
Looking good is about management and control. It keeps things within a very limited bandwidth. I think that’s why we so often start to rebel against it. “Is this it?” we ask, “Was I really put on the Earth to fit a mold?”
You weren’t. You are here to create.
Create art. Music. Movies. Books. Magazines. Funny emails to friends. A safe environment for your family and kids. Create a thirst for knowledge in school. Create health for others. Create a new experience for tourists and guests. Create hospitality. Create delicious, nourishing food. Create a place where like-minded people can come and get to know each other.
You can create whatever you want.
At its heart, creativity is energy.
Looking good puts fences around that energy. It can keep you small.
The hard thing about these Ego needs is that Ego always wants to be in charge. Always. It’s a relentless letting go of these stories, and reminding yourself of the true cost.
What would it take for you to let go of looking good? Privacy? Anonymity? Safe people? Small steps at a time? A container?
You don’t have to do anything at this point. Just start asking, hypothetically, what it would take for you to be able to let go. What are you afraid is going to happen if you don’t look good? Follow the fantasy, and just see what’s there.
As always, I want to reinforce that all of your patterns are here for a reason. They all have something to teach you, and they will stay for as long as you need them to stay. The point of exploring this theme is just to learn more.
Start with loving inquiry. There’s no need for shame here. Make yourself right, and then see where you’re trying to manage appearances and why.
Let me know what happens.