To find happiness we have to understand the selfish part of ourselves. The ego is what motivates us to survive and through ambition and competition enables us to prosper and achieve our goals in life. We can control our selfish instincts by making an effort to be generous rather than mean-spirited. By being open to new ideas and influences and always ready to learn from our experiences, we can become less conceited. We need to develop the ability to see ourselves objectively. Feeling continually sorry for ourselves can lead to feelings of depression. We can avoid this by taking responsibility for ourselves, a liberating experience which will make our lives richer.
Self-centeredness is another form of the ego that is different from selfishness. A self-centered person can be generous to those he or she cares for but likes to be the center of attention and receive appreciation and flattery. When he is not, he feels disappointed and frustrated and this causes stress.
Those of us who enjoy good friendships, happy relationships and love the emotional support of others can cope better with everyday pressures. When we are faced with a sudden crisis such as unemployment, bereavement, the break-up of a relationship, or a serious illness,
having caring and understanding partners and friends makes it less likely that we might need professional help.
Pride is yet another form of self-importance. We are perfectly justified in taking pride in a friend or partner’s success, but being excessively proud about our own achievements is a sign of superficiality.
If we lack a proper sense of ourselves, we are more likely to be exploited by people with stronger and more cunning egos.