At three years old, when her father was released from jail, she returned to live with her mother and father. The father was an alcoholic and heroin user. Her mother was overwhelmed by life and angry much of the time. Her father took this little girl to the bars with him, and from as early as three years old, prostituted her and continued this until she was a young teen. The mother consistently called her a tramp, told her she was ugly and useless, and that she better pray that some man would want her when she grew up.
When the girl cried or complained, her mother would often put the girl into a closet or dirt cellar. This family lived from one vacant and abandoned building to another. For her, this meant changing schools every few months.
At twenty-one, this young woman was sharing her life with bitter, frustrated people who expected to be short-changed by life. ~ Excerpt from Chapter 1
This is a true story of how, now at fifty-eight years old, she lives her life fully present and aware that she is so much more than the limitations that were programmed into her ego during her childhood years. She lives the American dream of freedom, wellness, peace, and with the joy and happiness we all wish for.
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Read an Excerpt
Dancing With The Ego
Beyond the limited awareness of your ego you are beautiful, you are valued, you are enough and you are loved unconditionally
By Hailey M. Robertson
Balboa PressCopyright © 2013 Hailey M. Robertson
All rights reserved.
The Ego is Who You Think You Are
* * *
Be careful how you are talking to yourself because you are listening
—Lisa M. Hayes
This quote by Lisa Hayes reminds us that we are listening to our self-talk. We develop opinions about who we are as we collect data during our everyday experiences. We listen at many levels and absorb data from many sources, around the clock. Although we are not aware that we are listening, we are taking in information at an astounding speed. We are often not consciously aware of the information we are absorbing, yet that information is what our ego identity draws on, as we live each day.
I would like to demonstrate this by sharing the story of a little girl who was sent to live with her aunt and uncle for the first few years of her life.
Then when she was roughly three years old and her father had been released from jail, she returned to live with her parents. Her father was an alcoholic and a heroin user. Her mother was overwhelmed by life and angry much of the time.
Her father took this little girl to the bars with him and prostituted her, starting when she was three and continuing until she was a young teen. Her mother constantly called her a tramp, told her she was ugly and useless, and said she had better pray that some man would want her when she grew up.
The girl loved to spend time with her dad and played guitar with him. Her dad liked to laugh and sing and was not angry and mean like her mother.
Her mother scolded her for being a daddy's girl and made her serve the men booze and clean up after the wild parties. When the girl complained, her mother would often put her in a closet or a dirt cellar, telling her she needed to think about her disobedience and bad behavior and be grateful that she had a home. The family moved from one abandoned building to another. This meant changing schools every few months.
The mother sent the girl to work cleaning houses on weekends when she was eight. When the girl no longer wanted to knock on doors and clean houses, her mother made her live on the streets, telling her to learn to appreciate the good home she had.
At fourteen, the girl got a job and helped her family pay the bills. As the eldest of five, she continued to care for and support her siblings while living on the streets. She felt there was less violence there than in her home.
She was told that she was not smart enough, that there was not enough money for her to continue her education, and that school was a waste anyway, since girls just got married. She was reminded daily that her biggest problem was that she was a dreamer and that expecting she could achieve an education fed the side of her that would not accept reality.
At twenty-one, this young woman was sharing her days with bitter, frustrated people who expected to be shortchanged by life.
Would you agree that this was not an ideal childhood? Do you think that this girl was disadvantaged and that she would likely be limited in life? Do you think she had a strong sense of self-worth? Would you expect her to be confident or to need guidance? Do you think it highly unlikely that this girl could grow up to be a healthy, confident, and contributing adult without a lot of therapy?
I can assure you that this girl did not surrender to the limitations set by her parents and her childhood experiences. In fact, this child is now a confident and respected woman whom people admire and trust. I can assure you of this because this is my story, or at least a snippet of it.
If you are saying "wow" or feeling a sense of awe, then I would like to introduce you to your authentic self. It is your genuine self that felt awe and joy that this child did not fall into the cracks of society or become an abuser or a drug addict. It is your ego that is surprised, shocked, and doubtful that this is true. Your ego may be suggesting that there must be a catch, something that is not being said or perhaps being exaggerated.
Our ego tells us that surviving such a devastating childhood is highly improbable and quite rare—especially without therapy, counseling, or rescue. When your ego tells you it is not that simple and you agree, you do not put a lot of faith in your ability to change or make much effort to do so. If you want to change your life but agree with the limited awareness of your ego, you can be sabotaged, confused, challenged, and insecure. You may feel that you cannot trust your own thoughts.
I have repeatedly experienced this obstacle. It took me many years to understand that the reason I felt stuck, stupid, and hopeless was not because my mother told me these things as a child, but because, forty years later, my ego was still reminding me of these words. For years, I questioned how I could be affected for a lifetime by the words and experiences of my early years when I had no choice but to be where I was. I walked away from that environment forever at twenty-one.
From where I sit today, at fifty-eight, my first twenty-one years were a mere blip in my life. My intellect told me it made no sense that these years should have a grip on me, yet my life's experiences were textbook for someone with my background: betrayal after betrayal, disappointment, heartbreak, loss, bankruptcy, divorce, sabotage, homelessness at forty, cancer, allergies, poor decisions, repeated cycles, and many, many tears. With thousands of volumes of information to consume, I was relentless, intent on figuring out how something that happened to me so many years ago, something out of my control, could have such a hold over me for a lifetime. I read, listened to speakers, attended seminars, studied, did all the homework, and followed the suggestions. I even broke a one-inch-thick piece of wood with my bare hand during a seminar on developing self-confidence and breaking barriers. I did it without hurting myself or drawing one drop of blood! Each time my hopes were dashed. As I faced bad news or another disappointment, I would curl up and cry. In my darkest despair, I felt useless and unwanted, unloved, and frustrated.
Still, I could not accept that I deserved a life sentence of loneliness, despair, and worthlessness. I could not imagine that any child could be born with such a black cloud hanging over her. I clung to the belief that like all people, I was born lovable, valuable, and beautiful. I was convinced that we all have the right to be loved, cared for, and respected, to be happy even if our family members are not happy. I also understood that with free will we all have the right to make choices, and I believed, as I endured my childhood, that when I turned fourteen I would be old enough to make those choices and no longer be restricted by the anger and neglect that ruled my home. I knew as a child that if I stayed alive, kept my wits about me, and remained clean (no sex, drugs, or alcohol) I could one day be a businesswoman with an education and a happy family.
That dream is what kept me going as I maneuvered past the obstacles blocking my road. I had never thought that it would take this long or be such an interesting journey. At fourteen, my view of what I needed to succeed was simplistic. Despite the many challenges, I blossomed into the woman I am proud to be today. To achieve this, I had to face many things about myself and who I thought I was, including the limitations imposed by my ego. The final step that brought me to the place where I now live as my authentic self, as the person I knew existed when I was a child, was learning to dance with my ego. I hope you will embark on this journey with me and learn to dance with your ego. I hope that in sharing what I discovered along my path, I can help you create shortcuts on yours. My greatest desire is for you to feel free to live as your genuine self—to live as who you were born to be before the world interfered with the perfect you.
Post these words where you can see them every day: Beyond the limited awareness of my ego, I am beautiful, I am valued, I am enough, and I am loved unconditionally.
Dance Partners for Life
* * *
God wisely designed the human body so that we can neither pat our own backs nor kick ourselves too easily.
Thousands of books are available to help us make choices as we maneuver through life. We must live by many expectations and rules if we want to be viewed as successful, spiritual, balanced, healthy, wholesome, and beautiful. We devour tips on how to make career and fashion choices, on what foods are healthy, on how to make friends, how to choose hobbies, and how to be interesting. We can't overlook pointers on how to remain youthful and, most important, on how to attract a soul mate. There are volumes on selecting among candidates for life partner. Add to this the hundreds of books on what to do when we change our mind (or heart) after concluding we have chosen the wrong partner.
Support is available for those who feel they were shortchanged because of family members or career choices and believe their opportunities are limited. There are tips on how to make it through these minefields and overcome life's many challenges. Close, loving, storybook families are the envy of those who feel disconnected from their relatives, so people with family envy issues need pointers as well. There are also thousands of books on business and wealth. Get rich now, but if you don't, there are support groups. Name the cause, and someone has developed a program, written a book, or set up a foundation to deal with it. Once a problem is labeled and categorized, someone will create a support group. With all of the blogs, e-newsletters, e-libraries, and online coaching available, we should have no problems or worries. We can find the evidence to show that we are not to blame for our challenges, losses, disappointments, or confusion. With all this awareness, information, and support, why is it that people of all ages continue to ask, "Who am I? and "Am I happy?" People spend hours of time and billions of dollars searching for their purpose on earth and billions more trying to improve or fix who they are.
Why are we not happy and feeling fulfilled, secure, and loved? We have followed the rules and have all the toys and trappings that prove we are successful, so why are we not elated? Is it possible that our authentic, original self is lost beneath a mountain of information too overwhelming to sift through? Is it possible that when we say we are lost or feeling out of sorts our genuine self is pleading to be heard?
We select our partners by dating and spending time getting to know them before making a commitment to be with them, whether for a second date or for a lifetime. Why do we take so much time exploring a potential mate, yet spend no time getting to know who we are? Knowing who you are is the foundation for success in life. When the cabin pressure on an airplane changes, you are told to don your own oxygen mask before putting on your child's. Your genuine self needs to be nourished, protected, and heard. Give your inner self oxygen first, and then find out who you are. Getting to know who you are is critical to a life of success, freedom, joy, and peace. Most of us go from one experience to the next, never stopping to ask if we like who we are or if we even know what we do or do not like. Do we know what makes us feel good, secure, valued, and loved? Do we know what will make us sad, insecure, or lonely? I have learned that it is just as important to know ourselves and to choose the attributes we desire in ourselves as it is to evaluate prospective partners and friends. When we learn how to know and honor our genuine selves, we can stop searching for answers and live in the moment, experiencing life to its fullest in whatever way brings us meaning.
When we mindlessly go from day to day, experience to experience, without considering how our genuine self feels about things, we allow our ego to lead us in whatever direction it desires at the moment, without thought or question. Our ego keeps the facts about who we are present in our awareness. These facts are based on what we learn as we go through life. If we were told when we were six years old that we couldn't do something, our ego will hold that idea forever, or until we give the ego new information. Our ego is essentially our pilot through life, our source for self-reference. Our ego stores and accesses our failures, mistakes, hurts, fears, doubts, anxieties, and all those things we felt from childhood until today. Our ego also stores our successes and any new information that we accept as true for ourselves.
It is immaterial to the ego that it doesn't know how to manage the many thoughts and emotions accumulated over a lifetime. The ego does not rationalize or think; it simply stores data. As we grow older, our ego does not clean out the files it keeps; it changes the information only when we give it new data. From birth to adulthood, we spend most of our time collecting data on what hurts us, what scares us, what makes us laugh, what tastes good, and what makes others happy, angry, or sad. All this is collected and stored in our ego. When we react to an experience, the response comes from our ego. We all have an ego. We can't live without one. Egos are as individual and varied as people are. We say that some people have big egos; we think of them as being "full of themselves." We see others as having small egos and admire their humility. This tells me that egos are not cast in stone. The ego is adaptable and will change when the information it is given is updated. With this in mind, we should carefully select the information that we want our ego to store. Because the ego is our awareness of who we are, if we want to experience peace, love and happiness, the information our ego holds must accurately represent who we are. If the awareness of who we are is held by our ego, should we not agree with who and what our ego holds us to be?
To get a better understanding of why the ego self can be so different from the authentic self, I looked up the definitions for authentic, living, self, ego, and genuine in the Webster's and Oxford dictionaries.
Authentic: adjective—to be "genuine"
Living: adjective—having life; pertaining to existence; the condition of being alive; the means to support life
Self: noun—the distinct identity and individuality of a person
Ego: noun—the conscious self
Genuine: adjective—authentic: sincere and honest
Oxford English Dictionary:
Authentic: adjective—of undisputed origin; genuine
Living: adverb—at the time of something's occurrence
Self: noun—a person's essential being that distinguishes them from other people; a person's particular nature or personality
Ego: noun—1) a person's sense of worth and importance; 2) the part of the mind that is responsible for the interpretation of reality and a sense of personal identity
Genuine: adjective—authentic; able to be trusted
Ego: a person's conscious awareness of worth and importance
Authentic self: genuine; the distinct identity and individuality of a person; a person's essential being that distinguishes him from other people; a person's particular nature or personality
Authentic living: genuine; having life; pertaining to existence; the condition of being alive; the means to support life; at the time of something's occurrence Authentic self: the distinct identity of the individual person Authentic living: the condition of being alive, with the means to support one's individual life
Based on these definitions, it stands to reason that the conscious awareness of a person's self-worth, the data stored in the ego mind, is not authentic in and of itself. It is the genuine self that can be relied upon to hold the truth about a person's distinct and individual identity.
With so many definitions of the ego, including "Edge God Out" or "the part that makes us human," I wanted to be sure of my theory about the relationship between our ego and our authentic self. These definitions support the idea that everyone has an ego and that the ego holds our definition (awareness) of our perceived self-worth. Our ego makes us human; it is where the facts supporting our personality, presence, and identity are stored. So, if we need an ego to have an identity, why is there such a disconnect between who we genuinely are and who our ego perceives us to be? The answer is key to resolving the question "Who am I?"
We all know that our spiritual self is beautiful and complete, the way God made us, and that it is politically correct to say, "I am beautiful," "I am wealthy," or "I am creative." We have learned the value of repeating these statements as affirmations and mantras, yet the core self often resists believing these ideas. Our ego challenges these affirmations with every thought. Drowning out the voice of the ego with chanting and affirmations may work for some, but not for all. You must be determined to find the method of reprogramming your ego that works for you, and when you find it, you must embrace it, be grateful, and use it!
Excerpted from Dancing With The Ego by Hailey M. Robertson. Copyright © 2013 by Hailey M. Robertson. Excerpted by permission of Balboa Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
Chapter 1: The Ego is Who You Think You Are.................... 1
Chapter 2: Dance Partners for Life.................... 7
Chapter 3: Be Aware of the Land Mines.................... 17
Chapter 4: What Is Your Dance Style?.................... 27
Chapter 5: Do You Matter?.................... 37
Chapter 6: Am I Who I Want to Be?.................... 43
Chapter 7: Why Am I Here?.................... 51
Chapter 8: Your Genuine Self or Your Ego Self?.................... 59
Chapter 9: The Hypnotic Factors.................... 71
Chapter 10: External Influences.................... 97
Chapter 11: Internal Influences.................... 147
Chapter 12: To Be or Not to Be?.................... 169
Chapter 13: Dare to Believe.................... 177
Summary of Exercises.................... 181