72 Secrets to Happiness
Secret 34 Egotism


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This word has many meanings so I will begin by defining Ego as it is used in this secret to happiness. 

The “I” or self of a person; thinking, feeling, and concealing itself from others..

It is more understandable when contrasted to "Altruism", the selfless concern for the welfare of others.

Egotism, conceit and self-importance as in, "Your ego becomes more unbearable each day."

At the moment of birth, Ego is essential to survival.  We need food and protection and are completely dependent on others to provide it for us.  A strong sense of Ego helps us learn and grow.  But as we grow socially we learn to think about the needs of our family.  But here is the catch! When we are successful and give to others their is a reward for our efforts. This reward seem innocent enough but conceals or hides one of the greatest obstacles to happiness.

Any time we are rewarded for what we do it builds our egotism and our feeling of self-importance.  How?  We believe we are the source of the happiness and that without our efforts and work that this happiness will vanish.  We do not realize that the happiness is coming from the generosity of others.

The true dynamic is that when you give to others, they often give back to you.  While it is true that you are giving happiness to them it is not true you are responsible for creating a need in others to return the favor.  And if you believe there is an obligation for others to return the favor then you will not receive the happiness that you are hoping for.

As adults, Egotism, is the death of happiness.  Suddenly it is everyone else's fault that you are not happy.  You try to be nice and work hard but never quite have enough money or friends or time to find happiness.  The last thing you would think of is giving without expecting any recognition or benefit because you can barely survive by holding onto everything you already have.

But that is exactly what you must learn to do if you are ever to find true long lasting happiness.  You must do favors without expecting favors in return, and you must like without expecting to be liked, and you must understand without requiring to be understood.  You must never give yourself credit when others unexpectedly return the kindness. 

Part of the reason for this is because of the 'judgment factor'.  When we expect or make a judgment about someone else then we are held to the same standard.  That is we are judging ourselves. Giving without expectation is giving without judgment and so we are able to receive without judgment.  Happiness is something we receive from others so we must not have judgment about the motives of givers in order to experience true long lasting happiness.

If you see someone begging for coins and you give them out of guilt or just to feel good about yourself then you have just made a judgment not only to the fact that you are better than the person you just gave money to, but also that you will feel good about yourself because you gave something that you were not required to.  You will believe that you should receive the benefit of satisfaction from giving to the needy.  If you really want to help someone then talk to them and if they are hungry then buy them a meal and eat it with them.  Expect nothing in return and your reward will be priceless.

Judgment arises from opinions that become entrenched over time without challenge.  The more others oppose us the more certain we are about our long-held views.  It is our nature to do what ever it takes to prove our point and we are tricked into making many decisions because of ego over common good.  One is often even humored by the failure of others that do not head our advice.

You must get out of your own way and allow yourself to have an open mind or your judgments will condemn yourself to failure.  Stubbornness is the obstacle and giving without expectation is the solution.  Without judgment you will be able to like yourself and others begin to like you more as well.  In business you will be able to close deals as your honesty is felt and in relationship you will be valued.
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