I read a wonderful blog the other day form Marc and Angel Hack life called “The seven negative people you need to ignore.”. As I was reading I realized that all of those “people” are in me. They have shown up over and over again in various ways to suit their own purposes resulting in self-condemnation, fear, anger, hatred etc., etc.
A little background from my Orthodox past.
The word ‘sin’ is loaded with negative connotations of God hating us. Because of the guilt he will throw us into hell because we have offended Him. He can do nothing else but cause us to suffer for ever in the fiery pits of doom. Today sin has been replaced by another friendlier word—as long as it is not demonized—‘ego’. Ego has become a shorthand for sin, sin nature, flesh, body of death, separation from God and everything else that defeats us in our lives, and the eventual cause of all its outward projections seen in the horrors we afflict on our world. The explanation of ego/sin is covered in great depth from every possible angle in A Course in Miracles, all of Dr. David R. Hawkins books and of course the Christian Bible.
My first insight that ‘sin’ and the ‘ego’ are the same thing came from reading the Aramaic translation of the Bible by George M. Lamsa and following that the Roth Aramaic translation of Hebrews 12:3. In his footnote Roth uses this verse as one example of how the Greek New Testament is secondary to the Aramaic Peshitta:
“Not only has the Greek lost volumes of magnificent poetry, but here the Greek redactor dropped an entire phrase! The Greek reads: “Consider him who endured such hostility against himself from sinners, so that you may not grow weary or lose heart.”….The Aramaic reads “Behold, therefore, how much, he suffered from sinners, for they were adversaries of their own soul, that you may not be discouraged, nor your soul become remiss.” Obviously NOT just some small remission here! [emphasis Roth’s]”
This really awakened me to the entire idea that ‘sin’ and the modern replacement of ‘ego’ is exactly the correct interpretation. Sin/ego does not make us an adversary of God whom he needs to defeat and punish forever in the fiery pits of hell but we are our own adversaries and it is God who is helping win this battle that our soul is fighting against the ego.
How are we to recognize the ego in our lives and what do we do with it once we see it? This is where Marc and Angel’s post becomes very helpful. I am going to re-interpret it here from the perspective that the “Seven Negative people” are found first in us then manifests in the world via the people we meet. As seen in the verse above those who are adversaries of their own soul have no problem projecting that adversarial position onto others. And because the ego/sin nature would rather kill us—i.e.,seen in all addictive behaviors—it would rather kill others first because “they are the problem.” Seen here in Hebrews 12.3 as it references the killing of Christ Jesus. The ego wishes to kill the Christ in us because the soul is where Christ resides.
I’m going to start with Marc and Angel’s point number 7 “The Inner Critic.”
All six prior negative ‘people’ to stay away from are disguises for the this inner bully. My own inner critic had no problem seeing God as my father and hiding it’s negativity behind the religious doctrines of original sin, the sin nature and the belief we are born in sin and there is no good thing within me. In fact it was now able to condemn me without obstruction via the belief that it’s constant nagging about my smallest short comings as the “conviction of the Holy Spirit,” the third person of the Godhead. This was HIS JOB description. The comforting part only came after rigorous self-inspection, brow beating, attempt after attempt and finally many many trips to the altar. Only to find myself once again in the clutches of this inner authority heaping loads of guilt and condemnation for the slightest infringements.
Today, I know this is not God and never was God. I am amazed to look back and see how many preachers and teachers—I was in their number— did nothing to lessen this false idea of who God and his role in our lives. Even to the extent of equating this constant condemnation with the love of God as the reproving parent. It is no wonder I left the church
Yes by all means ignore this voice and all the people who show up in our lives mirroring this aspect of our ego. This authoritarian voice is not God.
Point 1. The hopelessly hostile drama queen. The ego/sin nature loves to stir up controversy and drama for no apparent reason—it will create many justifications for which any and all infractions of it’s arbitrary positionalities will do. Don’t buy into it’s propaganda. The ego loves drama. Stay out of other people’s drama which the ego enjoys creating in our minds. Don’t allow the ego to spew hostile words at someone silently in your mind. Just because they aren’t said does not mean they aren’t heard. Keep your composure and replace the stink of confrontation with the fragrance of resolution. The louder the ego wants to yell, the more drama it wants to stir up, calmly and confidently speak to this drama charade and tell it to be quiet or just go away. Don’t let it get to you.
Be an example of a pure existence; ignore the egos outlandish antics and focus on kindness. Communicate and express yourself from a place of peace, from a place of love, with the best intentions. Change that inner voice of drama towards others by love and forgiveness towards good. Use it to inspire, to encourage, to educate, and to spread the notions of compassion and understanding. We created the Drama Queen we can uncreate it.
When your inner drama queen manifests as an actual person you will be better able to love that person because you have learned to love the drama queen inside you. You can create a mental space of love and when the time is right you can walk away if they insist on foisting their drama on you.
Forgive yourself and the role you have taken. Then extend that forgiveness to the ‘other.’ This will create the space you need to not take it with you when you go thus not perpetuating your own drama.
Point 2 The person you have failed to please a hundred times before. The ego is impossible to please; you will not be able to satisfy it no matter what you do. It lives on dissatisfaction.
The dissatisfied ego will show up in your life as people who discredit you, disrespect you and treat you poorly for no apparent reason at all. Don’t consume yourself with trying to change them or win their approval. And don’t make any space in your heart to hate them. Simply walk away and let karma deal with the things they do, because any bit of time you spend on them will be wasted, and any bit of hate and aggravation in your heart will only hurt you. (Read Emotional Vampires.)
If this isn’t the ego showing up I don’t know what is. It will never be happy with anything EVER. Its job is to keep us running all over the world attempting to fulfill its minutest demands and then moving us on to the next, on and on and on and on. It is constantly distracting and constantly unsatisfied. It’s incessant hunger is always projected outward onto other people and things in the vain attempt to get happiness from someone or some thing out there. As the song says, “looking for love in all the wrong places”
Marc and Angels advice to “simply walk away” is the endeavor of all aspirants of higher spiritual consciousness. Every positive faith tradition I have read are guide books for leaving the ego and it’s incessant demands and to become completely fulfilled in God alone. This ego self is the self we are to die to in order to live for Christ.
3. The naysayer who always dumps on your dreams.
Stop giving credit to the ego/sin nature which always discredits your dreams. it will readily attach itself to all negative statements about you and magnify them as the only reality of your life. If listened to the ego will squash your potential by slowly extinguishing your inner flame with its watered down vision of what you are capable of achieving. These people showed up early in my life as parents and teachers; “David doesn’t work up to his potential” is a common phrase on all my report cards. Rarely was I given credit for what I had accomplished but pointed out my short comings. This is the biggest hurdle I face in my creative endeavors. I will never be good enough no matter how many ‘A’s” I get.
Marc and Angel point out, “If you give in and let their negativity convince you of who you are, their madness will wither you away. You will morph into who they say you are, rather than living honestly as yourself. In this way, these people will steal your life from you. You will lose track of where their opinion ends and your reality begins. Their fiction will become your life’s story. What is possible for you. So look beyond their presumptions and mental limitations, and connect with your own best vision of what YOU are capable of and how YOUR life can be. Life, after all, is an open-ended journey, and 99% what you achieve comes directly from what you work to achieve on a daily basis.”
4. The manipulator.
Your ego will and has been manipulating and bullying you. It will try to use it’s negativity to intimidate and manipulate you into believing your negative thoughts are who you really are. If you stand back and observe it from a distance, you will realize that it is completely self-referential with no concern for others. In other words, the ego wants you to fit into it’s plan simply based on how this false you can be used or manipulate you for it’s own survival.
The ego routinely prioritizes its own feelings and needs over and above your true best interests. It will demand that you submit to help it, but if, heaven forbid, you ask the ego to help you achieve true happiness it will resist at first but then morph into the ‘spiritual ego’ which becomes the wolf in sheep’s clothing.
Bottom line: It will say and do anything, thoughtlessly, to get you to do what it wants you to do. Do not accept this behavior as normal it is anti-normal. When the ego/sin nature tries to bully you, stand up for your true Self and say, “Not so fast, buddy! Your delusion of superiority is your problem, not mine.” And if it refuses to reason with you, walk away without a fight. (Read Codependent No More.)
5. The stubborn one who insists you should be someone else. The ego will never be happy with who you are right now. Listening to it will always keep you dissatisfied and there will be plenty of people who show up to reinforce the point you are not alright right now. Oddly enough in choosing a life of spiritual transformation the ego/sin nature will use all the things you are learning to reinforce the point you are not good enough right now. Hey isn’t that why we choose to work on ourselves in the first place? I think the first lesson we need to learn on our spiritual journey is to not condemn ourselves for anything. God never does nor ever has for anything. Jesus told a group of thousands of people in his sermon on the mount; “You are the light of the world.” Right now before you make all those changes you think you should make “you are right now, here as you sit on the grass listening to me, the LIGHT of the world.
Now that the ego has put on a spiritual mask it will insist you need to act in such a way in order to please others and demonstrate how “spiritual” you really are. Of course we are not perfect yet but the spiritual ego will demand we appear to be to others. Hence the rise of hypocrisey. It is really easy to be ‘spiritual’ on Sunday morning.
You don’t have control over what others think about you, but you do have control over how you decide to internalize their opinions. Leave them to their own judgments. Don’t feel threatened and don’t conform just to please them. Let people love you for who you are, and not for who they want you to be. Or let them walk away if they choose. They can’t harm you either way; it’s their understanding that is faulty, not yours. See Marc and Angel’s book 1,000 Little Things Happy, Successful People Do Differently.
6. The unforgiving friend who refuses to forgive you for your mistakes.
The ego will always condemn you. God never will. A statement from A Course in Miracles puts it this way, “God never forgives because he has never condemned.” And from the New Testament “there is no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus.” Which is the whole human race. Unfortunately the majority don’t know this. Self condemnation of the ego will draw others into our lives to mirror its opinion of us.
The ego wants to rub your face in your mistakes every chance it gets. It will keep bringing them up over and over again until we feel completely worhtless. The past no longer exists. If you have done what you can to fix your errors then that is all that is expected of you. Some mistakes may require societal sanctions but most of us allow the ego to imprision us in a life sentence. The egos interpretaions give that power to God and believe they are suffering for past errors via karma or God’s righteous indigantion. This is not so. The purpose of God and karma are for healing and growth in love. No one deserves eternal punishment for finite errors. God never condemns us so why should we?
Shining the light on the shenanigans of the ego/sin nature rids it of its forcefulness in our lives. There are many different ways to deal with it once recognized; the oldest and I think least effective is putting the ego/sin nature and your true Christ Self in an adversarial position. Resistance always creates counter resistance with the result we are in a constant battle of the ‘bad’ versus the ‘good’ me. The apostle Paul say in Galatians 5.17 “The Spirit and your desires [ego] are enemies of each other. They are always fighting each other and keeping you from doing what you feel you should.”
“You have heard people say, “Love your neighbors and hate your enemies.” 44 But I tell you to love your enemies and pray for anyone who mistreats you. 45 Then you will be acting like your Father in heaven. He makes the sun rise on both good and bad people. And he sends rain for the ones who do right and for the ones who do wrong.” Matthew 5:43-45
If Paul is correct that our desires/ego/sin nature is our enemy then shouldn’t we follow Jesus’ admonition to love the ‘enemy’ inside us. Once we learn to love this ‘enemy’ within we can love those who show up on the outside in the disguise of our own ego traits. Do we need to hang around with them, not necessarily, can we ignore them, perhaps. Can we leave their presence, if necessary. However our greatest teachers show up in those we are closely related to in family, work or organizations and neighbors.
The inner critic, drama queen, the unsatisfied person, the naysayer, manipulator, the person who does not like you and the unforgiving ego, once loved inside you, turn out to be not so bothersome in person and actually become our best teachers. Humility reminds me that in some form I’m bothering others even if I don’t intend to so we are helping one another, even unwittingly towards the goal.