During my spiritual path I have dealt with my own inflated ego from time to time, and luckily have loving people around me who have made me aware of it and that I needed to take it down a notch (or two.) Ego is part of being human. The Universe often steps in and knocks that crown off your head by presenting you with setbacks until you recognize it, demonstrate humility, and work to get yourself back on track. For those in the healing and magical arts, ego can be especially detrimental because it makes you forget why you have been placed in this position of power in the first place — to be in service to others. So, what are some of the signs that ego is taking over your practice?
- Jealousy over another’s success. Do you feel that someone else doing well in their practice is a reflection on yours?
- Smack-talking other practitioners. While what you’re saying may very well be true (because we all know wackos and incompetents in every field), does your negative talk about them help to advance you in your eyes?
- Are you a certificate hussy? Do you throw around your certifications by asking others in your field “are you certified?”, “where were you certified?” or the cringe-worthy “But I AM certified,” – usually thrown into those conversations when you wonder why the other guy got the gig that you didn’t.
- Do you compare yourself to others in the Spiritual community? Do you imply (or say outright) that you are more gifted than others, therefor deserve special attention or more respect?
- Do you forget the people that helped to get you where you are or dismiss their contributions?
- Are you more concerned about promotion than actually being present for the client in need?
Jealousy holds you back from excelling because you are not focused on your own task at hand – to constantly improve and evolve. We must all use our own talents to reach the level we want to achieve. And, perhaps, the other practitioner actually IS more talented at something you are not from web design, to public speaking, to dealing with clients on a very personal level. Recognizing your weakness and tackling it will serve you much better in the big picture.
Smack-Talking can damage your own reputation because it can be uncomfortable or negative for another to hear. It makes you the villain. Does this mean you shouldn’t warn clients away from unethical practitioners or scam artists? Certainly not. But choose your words wisely and come from a place of concern in those situations. Just like jealousy, bad-mouthing others is taking up valuable time that could be spent improving your own practice. Also, it brings down your vibration to a negative place — which actually drives away potential clients.
Certificates in the magical and healing community are pieces of paper showing that you passed a course laid out by another person or institution. First of all, Bravo for a job well done! But, I can tell you that there will be plenty of people out there who will be more gifted than you who have had no certification at all. Their gift may be natural, or perhaps they are better at retaining knowledge than you, or maybe they ….. etc. etc. Today we live in an instant gratification world, and the certification process in the healing arts can reflect this, often forcing teachers to take students to the next level faster than they would have in the past. When I was in my 30’s, certifications in the healing arts were usually spread out at least a year apart, giving the student time to practice their skills fully before moving on to the next level. A certificate does not make you more psychic. A certificate does not make you a better healer. The only things that can truly give you mastery is by doing the work, practicing, and dedicating yourself as a constantly-learning apprentice to your chosen art.
Comparing yourself to others will never serve you — on any level. In case you hadn’t noticed, as humans, each and every one of us is completely different. Some may take the comparison route at different angles. Talking down other practitioners is one (see smack-talking above.) Others may think they deserve the best time-slots for services in the local metaphysical store, or should be considered first “above the competition.” Or perhaps they only compare themselves to others on an internal level, which is akin to issues of self-esteem. On comparing yourself to others — just don’t do it. Embrace your unique gifts and work on the ones that need improvement.
Remember those who helped you along the way because our teachers and mentors help mold part of who we are. They taught us things we didn’t know before. Sometimes, they showed by example a better way to conduct ourselves in our chosen field. Denying their contributions can be a way of putting yourself above them. The student does not become a master in every case. We should honor our mentors instead of focusing on trying to replace them. Putting in the hard work to become their equal will be much more rewarding and make you a better practitioner in the long run.
Promotion over compassion– doesn’t sound good in black and white, does it? Sometimes the runaway ego makes us want to push to the front of the line. Do you spend too much time talking about yourself vs. listening to the client that came to you for help? After all, that is why we are here in this field – to fully listen to and assist others in need. During a session, the most promotion anyone should probably ever do is to hand them a business card at the end of the meeting in case they need you in the future. Or, have you ever been guilty of promoting only yourself in a collective setting where there are other practitioners alongside you? This comes down to simple manners. Let’s say you are one of several tarot readers in a shop. Someone asks for a reading (not from a specific person), but you aren’t on the schedule until the weekend. Telling them to come back then when your colleague is in the next room taking appointments at that moment? Not only is that bad form, but it’s also ego talking. It is that need to push to the front of the line. What should you do? Let them know about your colleagues, and then give them your card and tell them that you’re also available this coming weekend. Share the love. Because, I can promise you this — when your fellow practitioners witness you leaving them out in public, it is almost guaranteed that they won’t be recommending you in private.
The very act of writing this blog post has brought some of my own ego issues to the foreground for me, reminding me again to work on humility. It’s a constant struggle for us human beings. If any of this sounds familiar, ask yourself why you are having a problem with the ego. Does it come from fear? From self-confidence issues? Admitting it is the hardest part. Once you get past that and consciously choose to work on the problem, you will find yourself walking on the path that leads to the best possible version of yourself. And when you get there, be aware that there is always more work to do — every day.
Papa Gee (Greg)