If you ask me, the ego is one of the most fragile things in the world, and at the same time, one of the most powerful.
If you let it control you, it can grow to enormous proportions, and thus, interfere with your daily life and relationships with other people.
Before we make things complicated, let’s start with a simple definition of ego: An ego is a person’s sense of self-esteem and self-importance.
So, what exactly does it mean when you have an ego problem? It means that you have overly high self-esteem and self-importance. Let’s not confuse ego with self-love.
I’m not saying that you shouldn’t have a great opinion about yourself and your skills, but the key difference between an ego problem and a healthy ego is in creating balance.
To help you understand it better, below, you’ll find a brief comparison of healthy and unhealthy egos + warning signs of ego issues, including solutions.
Healthy Ego vs. Ego Problem
When you have a healthy ego, you have a healthy dose of self-esteem and self-importance, which provides you space for further personal growth. You don’t have problems accepting criticism, and you don’t need to feel like a winner in all circumstances.
When you have an ego problem, you have difficulty being flexible, expanding your knowledge, and you can’t help but constantly compare yourself with others.
Does any of that sound familiar? Then, it’s time to check the following signs that indicate you have an ego problem. You’ll also learn how to free yourself from it.
9 Warning Signs You Have An Ego Problem (+ Solutions)
You know you have an ego problem if you detest criticism, always need to feel like a winner, or need to be right every single time (even when you know you’re not). Below, you’ll find these and other signs explained in detail, and accompanied with solutions:
1. Criticism is your mortal enemy
People with big egos can’t stand criticism. This means when someone is giving you constructive criticism, you won’t see it as something productive, but rather offensive.
There’s another reason why you would avoid criticism, and that is the pain of hearing the truth from other people. Do you think that listening to others is a direct attack on your capabilities and effort? Think again.
Accepting advice and tips on how you can improve things is the only way you can grow as a person. Let this famous quote by Socrates inspire you: “I know that I am intelligent because I know that I know nothing.”
- Learn to take responsibility for your actions.
- Keep in mind that not everyone is going to like you, and that’s okay.
- Practice self-awareness.
Be aware of your flaws and qualities. Don’t focus only on exaggerating the positive sides of your personality or work. Embrace the fact that there are so many things that you can learn from others. Remember that you’re also prone to making mistakes just like the rest of us perfectly imperfect human beings are.
2. You can’t help but constantly compare yourself to others
Do you always have this tendency to compare yourself to others? Let me rephrase. Do you always think that you’re better than others?
This could be your co-worker who just got promoted, your friend, neighbor, or someone in your family.
If you can’t help but think that you deserve better things than others because you have better skills, you’re prettier, or you’re more capable than them, then you have an ego problem. It’s one of the signs that your ego is slowly taking its toll on your mental health and viewpoints.
The grass is greener syndrome has always been a part of our lives, but it’s up to you to choose rational instead of delusional thinking.
Focus on yourself in a rational and modest way. When you focus on things going on in your life, you’ll have less time to think about what everyone else is doing. You’ll have less time to compare your life to other people’s lives or to compare yourself to a prettier woman or man.
The key solution here is to see yourself as your biggest opponent instead of others. Your goal should be to improve yourself and not compare yourself with others.
3. The urge to always feel like a winner is strong with you
Name me one person who likes to lose in love or in life. And, I thought so. Not a single person enjoys losing, but people with inflated egos take this to the next level.
They will literally do anything to win and prove to others that they are better than them. This includes lies, deceitful behavior, and other manipulation tactics.
Oftentimes, if an egoistic person thinks they can’t win, they won’t even participate in a certain activity because they couldn’t survive losing.
Such thinking is totally unrealistic because no matter how good you are at something, there is someone who is better than you at it.
Refrain from seeking validation and praise, and focus on celebrating other winners when you lose. Work on realizing your true worth and not the worth you’re imposing on yourself.
When you realize your worth, you won’t feel the urge to constantly feel like a winner. You’ll feel in balance and content with yourself. And remember, controlling your emotions doesn’t mean avoiding them.
4. You feel the need to be dominant in every conversation
Here’s the thing with people who have big egos: they have difficulty valuing other people’s opinions because they’re solely focused on being superior to others, a.k.a. being dominant in every conversation. This also includes social media.
If you’re doing the same thing, it basically means that you believe you’re smarter than others and only your opinion should be praised.
You also have difficulty compromising with others (be it in a romantic relationship or with coworkers) because you’re convinced that it should be your way or nothing.
I’m sorry to put it this way, but this is called being selfish, and it can’t bring anything good either to you or to people around you. This is both a matter of self-respect and respecting other people.
If your present moments mostly consist of moments when you’re trying to impose your self-image and sense of self-worth on others, think about the reasons why you’re doing that.
Allow others to express themselves, and value their opinion even if it doesn’t match yours. That way, you’ll be more flexible and empathic. You’ll allow yourself to enrich your perspectives and grow as a person.
Quieting the ego will positively reflect on your well-being and relationships with others.
5. You don’t feel the need to express gratitude and appreciation
Do you appreciate other people’s efforts? Do you ever feel like saying “thank you” for the things they do for you?
If not, then you know your ego is preventing you from doing this. If you don’t feel the need to express gratitude, it means that you feel like others are supposed to do things for you because you’re, in a way, superior to them.
You have an overly high sense of self-worth, and this prevents you from acknowledging other’s efforts or being thankful for what you have. Don’t get me wrong: a healthy amount of self-confidence is very much needed, but it shouldn’t interfere with your sense of gratitude.
I recommend a step-by-step approach. First of all, you need to focus on little things and stop minimizing other people’s time and effort. Understand that every single one of us is a part of a chain called Life, and all of us deserve to be praised and acknowledged because we’re equally important.
We all have our unique purpose, and supporting others on their life path is truly a divine gesture. The key principle to living a happier and easier life is in opening doors for greater blessings, and you’ll do that by expressing gratitude.
With that said, here are some thankful quotes to inspire gratefulness all year long.
6. You always want to be in the spotlight
You know you have a huge ego if you have a strong urge to always be in the center of attention. Regardless of whether you’re at a party or at work, your desire to be in the spotlight will be equally strong.
You also can’t help but show off your leading skills and establish dominance. We’re talking about a twisted image of your self-worth and self-importance.
When these practices continue for some time, you become more and more entrapped in the belief that you’re the center of the universe. Do you think your needs should be superior to the needs of other people? Be honest with yourself because there lies the answer.
Acknowledge that being self-centered is a toxic trait. Be willing to work with others as a team instead of trying to control every single one of them in a group. Love yourself, but also help others to grow, and remind them of their strength and beauty inside and out.
7. You often engage in defensive thinking
How do you react when someone’s opinion doesn’t match yours? Do you consider this as a personal attack on your beliefs? Do you have this tendency to turn even the slightest disagreements into fights?
Well, if you do, then you know you have a problem with your ego. By convincing yourself that no one should express their opinion because you’re always right, you’re jumping into defensive mode.
It’s important to realize that we all make mistakes, and there is no one right answer but multiple variations of different perspectives. By considering those perspectives, you gain.
By implementing defensive thinking, you lose. So, what will it be?
It’s time to make better decisions when engaging in conversations with others. Instead of focusing only on things you want to share, focus more on listening to others.
You don’t have to agree with them on everything, but be willing to accept the fact that they have the right not to agree with you. Embrace diversity and the beauty of different mindsets.
8. You need to be right every time (even when you know you’re wrong)
You’re not interested in other people’s comments or listening to their point of view because you know that you are and you need to be right every time. But, is that really true?
How can we know for sure that someone is wrong or right? Exactly. If you have an ego problem, you’ll be convinced that no matter what you say or do, you’ll always be right and others, wrong.
But, when you look at things from a different perspective, you will notice how flawed this hypothesis is. If you have a strong urge to avoid admitting that you’re wrong (even when you know you are), this means that you’re lying to yourself.
You’re not living a genuine life and you’re not allowing yourself to grow.
Whenever you feel the urge to convince others that you’re the one who’s right and they’re wrong, stop for a few seconds, take a deep breath, and don’t say anything.
Listen to the person you’re talking to and tell them that you understand their point of view, but you don’t agree with it entirely (or you do).
Whenever you know you’re wrong about something, admit it because this will only make you a greater and more humble human.
9. You have narcissistic tendencies
You know you’re partially or entirely stuck in the realm of narcissism when you don’t care about other people’s needs, but you only think about fulfilling yours.
For that, you often use emotional manipulation tactics such as gaslighting, lying, and deceiving others in various ways. Narcissistic abuse is not a joke, and it can severely affect other people’s mental health.
If you don’t remember the last time you thought about how your actions will impact others, then you know your ego is at play.
If you’re in a relationship, you don’t allow your partner to express themselves, there’s no compromise, and you’re always right (or at least you think you are).
The first thing you need to do is understand that you’re not being fair toward others. Instead of thinking only about your needs, focus on meeting the needs of others.
When you’re about to do something, ask yourself: What’s my main intent here? If it’s only about satisfying your own needs, then don’t do it. Always question your decisions and actions in order to prevent your ego from controlling you.
If you have an ego problem, know that not all hope is lost. You still have a chance to work on yourself and make things right. Living a life with an inflated ego is not healthy for either you or the people around you.
The sooner you acknowledge its consequences, the better. The sooner you start working on quieting that stubborn beast called a big ego, the better you’ll feel about yourself.
Getting in touch with your true self is not possible when your ego becomes dominant. Establishing balance in every aspect of your life is a surefire way of forming healthy relationships with others and the one you have with yourself.
Change equals growth.