Oh the mighty ego.  It can be responsible for so many great moments in your life.  It can also be the mighty ego that destroys so much of your life.

As strong as it is fragile, you'll best recognize it’s value when you least realize it’s strength.  Often, it's then that it's most vulnerable.  

How do you make it look so easy?

You'll trek along in your life, saying what you think, holding your head up high, buying what you want and disguising your fears and emotions behind a nice home, cool cars, sharp clothes and manicures, if you're into that kinda' thing.  You'll work hard to make your peers look at you and think, that guy doesn’t have to put any effort into his great life.

Woops.  Wake up!  Merrily, merrily...life was but a dream

Why do we do this?  Because the cost to buy some ego is a lot less expensive than the cost of our ego for a good dose of reality.  The kind that hits you between the eyes when your boss fires you, wife admits to cheating on you or worse yet, when you do some self-realization on your own (aka mid-life crisis).  Yes, this is when we realize we aren’t quite as great as we would really like to think.

Yep, those reality checks can really do a number on the mighty ego.  The higher you are, the harder you and your ego fall.  Well my friend, divorce is one of those hard falls. It’s the reality check of all reality checks.  It can make you question just about everything and everyone, including yourself.  

It leaves you doubting your qualifications to make even the easiest decisions.  You feel like your ex-spouse is kryptonite to your super ego and often while you may feel entirely crippled by her and the failed marriage you may not recognize your own contribution to your loss and ego deterioration 

The lies we tell ourselves...

You may notice your ego issues through your feelings, actions and behaviors rather than clear and conscious awareness.  You feel edgy, irritable and achy.  You may not be really sure why you're acting and feeling so bad about things, so you assign all blame to the divorce and ex. 

Isn’t it easier to think you're not getting anywhere in your life because that awful spouse and marriage really messed you and your life up.  Simpler to think you aren’t qualified for the life you want because something or someone is in your way.  

Blame

While both the ex and the divorce may formerly be to blame, after all you may have a divorce decree that says so; it's difficult to realize that under it all is a lot of self-blame and scrutiny.  Disappointment in your own choices (those that may have led to marrying or divorcing your former spouse included).  Disappointment leads to feelings of self-doubt and fear. 

Sometimes our ego hides such fears in an attempt to protect ourselves.  But, in doing so, it really hides those issues that need to be addressed. 

Instead they come up in mysterious ways like mentioned above: body aches and pains, low energy, irritability, distractibility, anger and blame.  Eventually these stressful underlying issues can lead to diagnosable depression, anxiety and/other life altering conditions and illness.

You don’t fear new things, new relationships or increased activity just because you blame your ex.  You fear and avoid it because you blame and doubt yourself.  Perhaps it isn’t at all about your marriage, divorce or spousal choices.  In fact, it may be about the false ego you've worn for so many years.  

Perhaps it's the opposite.  Perhaps you denied your ego a trip once in awhile and now you want to blame anyone who contributed to your denial.  But, again, under all the contributors to your failures, ego and choices, resides the primary contributor, you.  

But, does this recognition really improve your ego?  Does it help you?

Life paradox #1,234,567,890

So, like a catch-22 you find yourself unable to feel better whether you blame someone else or recognize your faults and blame yourself.  Either way, you still end up feeling crappy, right?

Buy your way out

Some of us gravitate towards the easy way out.  Shop 'til we drop.  We ignore the problem and hopefully we can spend our way out of personal happiness problems.  The only problem is that these purchases rarely help us feel better.  The gratification wears off and out we go again, shopping, spending, buying and lying.  Lying to ourselves.  Like an appetite suppressant that satisfies our ego hunger by suppressing our awareness of why we're hungry/why we feel self diminished, we look for all the quick fixes our happy plastic can secure.  Each purchase providing a little less satisfaction as time goes on and purchase price goes up.

In some cases you may develop a spending or shopping addiction.  Every time you make a purchase, your brain is rewarded with endorphins, a group of pleasure hormones secreted in the brain and nervous system that causes pleasure and reduces pain.   When serotonin, oxytocin and dopamine mix with these endorphins, it makes you happy, in some cases, euphoric.  Activities like sex, eating, shopping, gambling are all ways that naturally (without drugs or alcohol) raise these chemicals in your body.  This may lead to addiction to these kinds of activities.

Shopping therapy, okay?

While in some cases, purchasing something during or following a challenging time in your life may be necessary, generally it's not a good time to overspend or try to "feel better" by making large or numerous purchases. 

It's perfectly fine to occasionally take part in some shopping therapy (shopping that takes your mind off your problems and allows you the freedom to splurge on something you normally wouldn't buy).  However, this means, a day here and there, nothing that requires a credit application and shopping well within your budget. 

It shouldn't be relied upon to fix your ego, improve your overall mood or happiness.   Instead, complete your divorce recovery with ego boosters that don't cost you money.  

Non-materialistic ego purchases

Develop a healthy ego with realistic self-esteem builders and positive actions.  In doing so, you'll find that the ego purchases will no longer be materialistic purchases.  They'll be good, healthy choices that give you the strength to face your loss, your demons and your former self with ease.  It'll give you the courage to realize real contributors to a high self-esteem.

This means caring for your mind, body and spirit.  Work towards better relationships, career goals and achieving true happiness.  You must reasonably challenge yourself, never stop learning and improving yourself.  Empower your faith and belief system.

Don't ignore problems that need to be addressed.  Seek professional guidance when necessary.  Counseling, group therapy or credit counseling may help.

It's important to have confidence in the decisions you make.  That starts with forgiving yourself for poor decision making of the past to improve your confidence to make good decisions for today and tomorrow.  If you can't forgive your former spouse, forgive yourself for allowing him/her to steal your positive energy.  Be forthright in seeking new achievements and personal success.  Be empowered to think, speak and take action for yourself.

Don't be fooled into some ego purchases that quickly burn out.  It’s important to pace yourself and build upon your "new you" slowly and with intentions that represent your conviction to stay focused on all that makes you a better person, a better you and with a healthy ego.

Without a doubt a new car, vacation or motorcycle are unlikely to do any of the above.  So, skip the debt demons, they won’t make you feel better, just poorer. 

-OurDMK.com



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1"Row, Row Row Your Boat" by Eliphalet Oram Lyte