Q&A: Self-Respect, Ego & Pride: The Difference

Ashwita, is there any difference b/w ego (pride, arrogance, superiority complex, over confidence), self esteem and self respect.  I am not sure whether the words which I have put in brackets are one and the same.  These are the things we usually hear in arguments.    

I understand this – person having ego will get more anger than the person having self respect n not ego.  I’ve even heard people saying/arguing that every person should have bit ego.  Is ego in itself good or bad? People even say that educated people and people in higher jobs  GENERALLY have ego.

In arguments people keep arguing it’s ego – it’s self respect…..  how to clarify this to the other person so that bitterness doesn’t enter in relationship.

In case if one has ego, should he/ she give more Reiki to knees during self healing. What can dissolve an ego – a technical understanding or only love is enough (more healing of heart chakra)?

Ego is simply separation. So unless one is enlightened, the option of having or not having an ego is not really there, so it is a pointless discussion. In a sense we can say that a little bit of ego (sense of I am separate from you) is useful after enlightenment because otherwise people can take up a lot of suffering from other people – Ramakrishna Paramahamsa walked across a cow being whipped once and had marks on his back as he passed by. That is the result of almost no ego at all, something most ordinary people are incapable of normally.

Ego is also commonly used when we actually want to refer to a bloated ego. This is a problem, and having a little or too much doesn’t matter, it is always destructive. Bloated ego is nothing but a superiority complex. So before we go further, let us separate all the terms you have used.

Ego: Sense of separation
Self-Respect: I am worthy of respect (and I don’t need proof from you)
Pride: Feeling of delight/ joy in one’s own (or loved one’s) achievements. Can be positive or negative
Superiority Complex: I am better than other people and deserve more respect than them
Arrogance: I am superior to you and you are not worthy of respect
Over-confidence: Imagining one is capable of more than one really is capable of
Bloated Ego: Often a combination of superiority complex, arrogance and over-confidence

So you’re right in saying that a person with self-respect is likely to stay calm in situations where a person with a (bloated) ego will lose his temper. If people are really functioning through self-respect, they will not feel a need to violate the other’s self-respect. When people tell you that higher education or positions give people a (bloated) ego, that is usually correct because most people feel small and after they have ‘a feather on their cap’ they feel they have compensated for their smallness. Ultimately all superiority is a coverup for a feeling of inferiority.

Getting rid of the ego is an idea of the ego itself, so that needs to be dropped. The solution is to open one’s eyes more and more. The more you see, the more you realise that you are not superior, and neither is anyone else. When that realisation is genuine, ego is not bloated anymore.

As for Reiki practice, daily self-healing covering all the chakras plus ears, knees and feet for at least 35 minutes with a feeling of surrender helps with deepening one’s understanding of oneself and life, thereby taking one further spiritually and making the ego a helpful tool instead of  hindrance.

Author of ‘Healing Through Reiki’, Ashwita learned Reiki in 1997, and started teaching it in 2006. She now incorporates other forms of energy healing, as well as hypnotherapy and past life therapy in her work. In her free time, she enjoys cooking, crafts, reading and painting.

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