Skip to main content

Verified by Psychology Today


How To Tame Your Ego and Gain Forward Momentum

When you blame others for your own inaction, they win and you lose.

Key points

  • The key to getting unstuck is to know where the block really exists.
  • Your ego is yours to shape and mold. Be bold with the design.
  • Blaming others for your own inaction gives them strength and diminishes your power.
  • Ego will serve you when you understand its true purpose: to show you what matters.

I bared my soul again at a weekly writer's meeting when the group's moderator prompted us to name our demons. “Like Voldemort,” she said. We chuckled and we pondered and then we began.

One member said, “Procrastination.”

Another said, “Writer’s block.”

I said, "My ego." I explained how my ego is concerned with what others think of me and my work. I am afraid that readers, those anonymous eyes who put down good money to read my books, will say, "It’s not very good," or, "Her previous book was better," or, "she’s no Joan Didion."

One of the male members of our group off-handedly spouted, “Just get over it!”

And I fired back, “That’s a guy thing to say.”

And the other guy in the group bristled back with a chuckle and a knowing smile. Even on Zoom, I could see their hackles raised. I hoped they could not see my neck blotch as adrenaline prompted my visceral reaction—not only to the initial remark but also to my quick retort.

But here's the thing.

Telling someone to ignore their ego is like telling someone near-sighted to see better.

It’s like when my mom doesn’t understand depression. “What have they got to be sad about?”

It’s like when someone who lacks the confidence to ask for a promotion reads the platitude "Confidence is a choice."

But maybe there is something to consider with the simple remedy, “Just get over it.”

Author Wayne Dyer writes, “That which offends you only weakens you. Being offended creates the same destructive energy that offended you in the first place—so transcend your ego and stay in peace.”

At this point, I argue with myself. "Are you really so afraid of someone taking exception to your words that you resist sharing your words at all?"

Dyer writes more extensively about ego in The Power of Intention:

I am what I have.

I am what I do.

I am what others think of me.

I am separate from everyone.

I am separate from all that is missing in my life.

I am separate from God.

He goes on to offer remedies to ego's beliefs with four stages:

  • Discipline: Train your body to activate what’s inside of you already.
  • Wisdom: Focus and be patient with your thoughts.
  • Love: Love what you do and do what you love. Enjoy the feeling.
  • Surrender: Relax and allow your infinite self to guide you.

"Just get over it," my colleague said.

How can I flip this switch? On the one side, my ego fears your comments. On the other side, the ego does not—cannot—care.

While I might believe that someone, somewhere needs to read my words, the ego takes a higher view. The ego knows that my words matter to me.

Adversity will always exist. There will also be the complacent, who are content to just be. The disenfranchised sometimes lack the means to act, but even they can believe. Look to the larger world for inspiration.

To blame the male members of my writer's group for my foibles in self-confidence enhances and bolsters my ego.

It is not their curt remark or their maleness that limits me.

It is me. Me alone.

And if it is for me alone that I write these words, then I have achieved greatness?

Will my ego be proud?

The ego doesn't care.


Dyer, W. (2009). The Power of Intention: Learning To Co-Create Your World Your Way. Carlsbad, CA: Hay House, Inc.

More from Bernadette Stockwell Ph.D.
More from Psychology Today