I recently heard a profound statement from someone speaking at a memorial. She was sharing about dementia and referred to the disease as a “thief of the mind.” I thought that was such an insightful comment because dementia is literally robbing the person of their thoughts without consent.
I also reflected upon the “thief of the mind” and how it could be related to our Ego. Not the “ego” that is typically connected to our level of self-importance or when we refer to someone who boasts about how much money they earn, but the Ego that robs us from our true self and soul. From getting in the way of developing into the person we aspire to become. It’s the part of us that is a container for our shame, guilt and insecurities. The ego constantly barrages us with negative words, self-talk and thoughts. I am not smart enough, pretty enough or I don’t belong, are just a few examples of these invalidating remarks. Ego can create self-sabotage and stop us from pursuing our goals professionally or with relationships. This “thief” is the exact reason why it’s taken me so long to write and pursue a passion project. I allowed it to continually convince me that I had nothing to offer or share that is valuable. Now, I have learned to stop the thief and instead of saying who do I think I am to start writing, I now say, who am I NOT to speak, write and share valuable information?
Eckhart Tolle, author and spiritual leader, explains in his book, The New Earth, that the Ego can create “feelings of inferiority or self-hatred because ego is any image you have of yourself that gives you a sense of identity and that identity derives from things you tell yourself and the things other people have been saying about you that you’ve decided to accept as truth.” I was once told that I would only be a good housewife. At that time, prior to marriage and children being on the horizon, I was devastated at the unintentional criticism. This comment stayed with me for many years and I questioned my level of intelligence. I assumed the person thought that I was incapable of doing anything successful or productive and that I wasn’t smart. It captured the insecurity I was already feeling and trying to hide. The person had no idea that their statement was going to be destructive and it wasn’t their fault. This was the thiefthief in action! I took those feeling of shame and created a story in my head that I couldn’t achieve anything outside of being a “housewife” and as a result, felt ashamed.
The thief thrives when we focus on negative aspects of ourselves or any insecurities. It diminishes any chance of looking at a situation in a more positive light. The thief robbed me of accepting that the housewife statement was merely a compliment to my level of intuition, empathy and compassion that I have for other people, as well as the fact that I loved kids.
Fortunately, there are tools in which we can utilize to defend ourselves from this nasty thief and become aware of it before the offense takes place. Acknowledging that there is a thief in our mind that prays on our vulnerabilities is the first step. Once that is recognized, we can begin to take control and release its grip by using positive statements in replacement of the negative words. Just like standing up to a bully. I used to look in the mirror and the first response was “ugh.” Maybe I didn’t like my hair or felt a little chubby that day, however, the thief would feed on my self-doubt and rob me of thinking positively. This would in turn effect my perspective and I would go about my day feeling ugly and fat. All because my ego got in the way of my true self. Now that I am experienced with the thief, I don’t allow negative self-talk. I will now look in the mirror and smile. This small positive step literally eradicates the Ego, aka the thief. Gradually, with practice and recognition, you can stop the thief from taking away little pieces of your soul, and at the same time, make yourself stronger in the mind and in the heart.
Here’s the love…
Speaking gently and lovingly to yourself every day, all day, is Self-Defense for your soul!