When I left my full-time job at CBS, my ego died a slow and painful death when the paychecks stopped. I wasn’t prepared to go through a truncated version of that again when my husband left his day job as a news anchor but I did. The night after his last show, I woke up in a cold sweat with this image and these thoughts:
This job made you all special.
The job kept your family safe.
How will we be special and safe now?
What will people think?
What will your parents brag about?
What will I impress people with on my social networks?
I woke up to this full-blown cacophony in my head and knew from experience that these were the thoughts of a threatened ego.
The ego is not a narcissist. The ego is the part of all of us that is looking to keep us safe at any cost. I guess I had not realized how much my ego loved our TV jobs and TV paychecks.
My ego was feeling threatened and unsafe but my logical mind knew that was nonsense. My logical mind knew that we did not need network news to make us special or safe because we had hit our freedom number. We had planned to no longer need our TV jobs.
I couldn’t argue with my ego at 1 a.m. The ego is not logical. So I observed. I allowed these thoughts to yell themselves hoarse, knowing that it was a Rumpelstiltskin moment for old code inside of me that needed to die.
I’ve been through many of these ego sessions in the 6 years since I left full-time broadcast work. I haven’t always been able to observe and deflate. I’ve often jumped right in and believed the nonsensical noise. But this time I knew better and because of that, I almost enjoyed observing this ego death. I knew what it was and I just let it run its course.
I can’t say I will be capable of doing this every time my ego acts up. But I can say that I will try because this way was much better. Much less painful. I didn’t feed the ego. I starved it. Or at least that part of it. A new part will inevitably grow back but it will be up to me to deal with it.
So it’s onward and upward and I’m really excited about this next chapter in our lives! More so after this breakthrough!