Monday, August 11, 2014

Tim Keller on Understanding the Ego

"The ego often hurts. That is because it has something incredibly wrong with it. Something unbelievably wrong with it. It is always drawing attention to itself -- it does so every single day. It is always making us think about how we look and how we are treated. People sometimes say their feelings are hurt. But our feelings can't be hurt! It is the ego that hurts -- my sense of self, my identity.

"It is very hard to get through a whole day without feeling snubbed or ignored or feeling stupid or getting down on ourselves. That is because there is something wrong with my ego.

"It is incredibly busy trying to fill the emptiness. And it is incredibly busy doing two things in particular -- comparing and boasting. ... The way the normal ego tries to fill its emptiness and deal with its discomfort is by comparing itself to other people. All the time.

"In his famous chapter on pride in Mere Christianity, C.S. Lewis points out that pride is by nature competitive. It is competitiveness that is at the very heart of pride. 'Pride gets no pleasure out of having something, only out of having more of it than the next person. We say that people are proud of being rich, or clever, or good-looking, but they are not. They are proud of being richer, or cleverer, or better-looking than others. If everyone else became equally rich, or clever, or good-looking there would be nothing to be proud about.'"

Source: The Freedom of Self-Forgetfulness, Timothy Keller


California Girl said...

Thanks for posting this! I needed to read this. :)

Marti said...

Yeah, I needed it too! This season of my life throws me out of my comfort zone so often, I'm having more trouble putting aside-self-consciousness than I've had since I was, oh, 14!