You have probably heard people describing somebody else as having a big ego. However is it bad to have a big ego, or can it actually be good, and what does it mean?.
The ego in this sense is our self image, which is influenced by our emotions, personal pride, defence mechanisms, societal standards, past experiences, personality preferences, self esteem and social status to name a few factors.
What is a Big Ego?
The true meaning of the ego is the conscious mind, and how it deals with the unconscious parts of our mind and the world around us. However when we describe someone as having a big ego it means something different.
Having a big ego is basically a high belief in ourselves (high self image), for example our abilities, skills our importance to people and our place in society. This high self belief (Big Ego) is just a self perception which doesn’t necessarily mirror the truth. We as humans are very ego centric and our minds are often looking for ways to boost up our egos and to feel good about ourselves.
There is nothing wrong in us feeling good about ourselves. Having a high self image and self worth is more beneficial than a low self image, which could lead to conditions like depression. Having a low self image or suffering from depression is obviously a bad thing, it’s life limiting and potentially harmful.
Why is having a big ego bad?
Having a big ego can lead to arrogance and even hubris which are generally unlikable character traits. Those with big egos also tend to try and reinforce that ego at almost every opportunity which can lead to egotistical and narcissistic behaviors. These behaviors are unhealthy which can cause problems for the individual and the people around them.
When a person seeks to boost up their ego, they often target other people to accomplish it. Insulting them directly or indirectly in order to make themselves appear and feel good. They may put down other peoples achievements for the simple reason of gratifying their own egos, no matter what those achievements are, they will look to undermine them.
Having a big ego can lead to a delusional way of thinking. They may say things such as “I am always right” or “I am never wrong,” they may never admit when they are wrong, their ego’s wont allow it. Most of us have probably known a few people that have said these, or something similar, and that can’t admit to making mistakes. These sorts of comments are self indulgent and basically delusional, just a way of massaging the ego. They will look for evidence to support their high opinions of themselves, and discard anything that could threaten their high self believe or ego.
Excessive focus on ego boosting is unhealthy and leads to delusional thinking, so yes, a big ego can be a bad thing.
Can a big ego be good?
Yes, many successful business people and sporting professionals have big ego’s, a high belief in oneself is important if you want to achieve something great, or to be the best at something. It just has to be balanced and controlled with enough self awareness to prevent a healthy self belief turning into harmful delusional thinking.
Big ego and low self esteem – connection?
The mind often tries to compensate for itself, so for example if a person has a low self image the mind can try to correct it by seeking to build a high self image. This compensating is sometimes the reason for someone having what is known as a big ego, however the boost to their self image will be unstable and temporary. So the next time you encounter one of these ego boosting individuals, bear in mind that they actually maybe just compensating for their deep routed low self image or confidence.
This is very likely to be an unconscious process, they themselves are probably not aware of what is going on.
Having a big ego can be a good or bad. If your life is benefiting from it then it’s good. However if it’s causing you problems and negatively effecting people around you, then it maybe something that you need to look at adjusting.
How to overcome a negative big ego
- Self awareness of one’s own actions and the effects those actions have on other people may be enough to encourage change.
- Understanding that this need to boost up your ego could just be a compensation for a low self image.
- Realizing that there are better ways to feel good about yourself than just a quick ego fix. For example the feeling you get from helping somebody or generally doing good is far better than a simple ego boost that comes from putting somebody else down.
- Understand that seeking a quick ego boost is a very limited and short sighted method of feeling good about oneself, that will probably do you more harm than good in the long term.