“The road to hell is paved with good intentions.” How many of us have heard that?
I know I quote this often. Mostly, to people that tell me about what their intentions were but who have done nothing to move toward those intentions and then are surprised when they fail.
The New Year finds me in a completely new state physically, mentally and spiritually, thereby bringing forth a lot of introspection as I look back to figure out what I’ll be carrying with me into this new year and what will be left behind.
I found a crossroad on the highway to intention that I think might be the reason why it paves the road to hell. It’s an avenue of sorts. It’s ego.
Ego defined is a person’s sense of self-esteem or self-importance. It’s the part of us that wants recognition, that wants attention. I’m not speaking of Freud’s ego, that’s a whole other post.
This past year, I’ve had many encounters where ego, whether consciously or unconsciously reared its ugly head.
Let the record show that level of consciousness doesn’t diminish the amount of havoc that the ego can wreak. I’ve found that the more unconsciously the ego works within a person, the more damage it tends to bring forth.
But, I digress. Encounters. Ego.
So many of the messages that I’ve received this past year has been around the mirror. In other words, as I am experiencing the world at large, I have to stop and figure out what part of me is reflecting back and what lesson is there to learn.
I had to give up a precious relationship this past year. One that I thought would end very differently. Ego and intention had their hand in it. In similar ways, I’ve seen unions fall away these past few months and I’ve been in heartbreaking awe of it all. Because, I am familiar with what intentions people were walking in with and I assure you, those intentions were long erased when those souls decided to separate. And by the way, this not only applies to romantic relationships. I’m speaking about relationships and connections in general.
There are no failures. Only lessons. And the reflection I’ve been working through has been that of the ego. It’s been a gut check for me. When things come up, I think “why is it upsetting?” “how does it look on the other side?” ” what is it that looks like that inside of me?” And then, I get to work to dismantle whatever that is. It’s not easy and I am glad for the guidance I receive both physically and spiritually.
So often ego is fed by others. Someone recognizes a weakness in us. It reminds me of the devil on the shoulder. The one that eggs you on. The one that feeds the insecurity within you without making it seem that way. Sadly that devil is sometimes the voice in our head. Oftentimes, though, those whispers come from outside of us, from a trusted friend or confidant. It’s so important that we make sure we check back in with…INTENTION.
Intentional, by the way, is my word of the year. I’ll get into that a little more later on this week but, my word is what brought me to this thinking. Dealing with ego in others and recognizing it within myself is what led me to putting these words down on the screen.
So often we let the ego run rampant and never check back with what our intention was in the first place. We are sometimes embarrassed at how we came up short. And, unwilling to look in the mirror and admit this to ourselves or someone else, we let the ego do the work. That work can turn destructive in a heartbeat, taking away the dreams we created but maybe didn’t actually work toward.
It’s easier to blame others or let our insecurity run rampant than it is to admit that we performed subpar. When we involve our confidants, it’s easy to keep those parts out of the story and thereby provide them with what they think exculpatory evidence when in fact it is an incomplete picture of the situation. This puts the matches in their hands and they light the fire under the ego to make it boil over.
The ego does it’s work of putting the blinders on and lighting everything around it on fire in hopes that it burns the evidence and cleanses the self from guilt. But, we all know that doesn’t happen. Instead, those intentions, the bricks that were carefully laid on solid ground, take a turn and you find yourself smack dab in the middle of hell. Because you refused to look in the mirror and admit a thing. Because you refused to acknowledge your shortcomings. Because you refused to set aside your ego like a fussy baby trying to get it’s way and rather, fed it with hearsay, insecurity and the voices of others which were in and of themselves filled with insecurities and egos of their own (you’ve probably also heard of misery loves company, right?).
Then one day you look up and realize that the destination is NOWHERE NEAR where you intended to go. Now you have a choice. You can look once again into the mirror and admit to yourself where things went wrong or you can continue allowing the ego to carry you forth. And then the bricks continue to be laid. Not for the path that you so desperately wish you could take. They are laid for the home that you undoubtedly build in the hell that you’ve created for yourself.
The good news is, you always have a way back. The bad news is, you’ll need to name the thing that got you away from your intention and pray that it’s not too late to walk the path with those you thought you’d walk with.
The choice, as they say, is yours.