The Devil Made Me Do It
As I was getting Zion’s uniform ready for school this morning, I could not help but reflect on the events of the past week.
It was a bittersweet week in which we had a fabulous island vacation followed by a totally unexpected family feud. Yes, believe it or not we still don’t completely see eye to eye on everything.
As I was ironing, my mind wandered to what causes us to say and do the things we do to hurt others, whether intentionally or not.
“The devil made me do it.”
It was a term I heard a lot growing up. In fact, I remember one time my dad telling me that people tend to blame the devil for every ill, when it was really they, themselves that truly wanted to commit said acts and decide to blame it on the devil.
And then it hit me. EGO is the devil.
I recalled reading in the bible (Matthew 4: 9) during the phase of Jesus’ temptation that the devil offered Jesus all of the worlds riches and what not, if he would bow down and worship. If that doesn’t sound like the EGO, then I don’t know what does.
What is the EGO?
Freud describes the ego as being the part of the personality or mind that refers to the “I”. It’s about I and me and not about us and we, could this be the problem? Often, we refer to the ego as that part of us that wants to protect and promote us. But often the things that we appear to need protecting from are just an illusion. The ego will tell us not to put ourselves out there because you may get hurt, be defensive, get them before they get you or don’t be too open or vulnerable. The ego deters us from embracing the very things we need to grow.
Humility and Civility
The strategic battle plan for defeating the devil and conquering the ego is this-having a healthy level of respect and consideration for the feelings of others. It’s as simple as following the Golden Rule of treating others the way you would want them to treat you if the tables were turned. Sounds super simple, so why isn’t everyone doing it? Because it’s a lot harder to do than to say, especially in light of our do what you like culture. When we did away with the old-world rules of etiquette and protocol, we threw away the proverbial baby with the bath water. Discarding the part of etiquette that encouraged us to consider others as a way of ensuring that we all had a pleasant and pleasurable experience. What would happen if we made a conscious effort to restore civility in our homes, communities and businesses? What would happen if we decided to overlook an offense occasionally rather than turning into a real housewife from Hades or a modern-day Mr. Edward Hyde?
Of course, there are times when we absolutely 100% should take offence to a situation; but let’s challenge ourselves the next time our ego rises and instructs us to act offensively. Take a moment to assess the situation. Consider what outcome your reaction could produce whether positive or negative. Allow yourself the opportunity to decide rationally on your course of action and then be prepared to accept responsibility for your decision, because at the end of the day, your ego made you do it.