Everybody Loves Ego

Did you ever watch ‘Everybody Loves Raymond’ when it was on TV? I did, and I used to really like it. So much so that I’d watch back-to-back episodes on TBS and think that it was hilarious… but after a while it lost its humour. It wasn’t that the show itself went downhill; the writing quality remained the same, as did the acting, but somehow the constant negativity and bickering became less than appealing to me.

It wasn’t just ELR, it was all sitcoms that revolve around marriage. Most of them depend on the same story line: the dopey, half-witted husband who can never do anything right, the over-bearing, martyr wife who burns dinner and never puts out, and their pursuit of happiness in their largely unfulfilled lives. There came a point where I wondered, was I getting a glimpse of my own future in marriage? Was this really what it was going to be like? When you see past the “funny” situations, the whole sitcom view on marriage is just really sad and depressing.

http://www.tbs.com/stories/story/0,,60924,00.html

“Marriage is like a tense, unfunny version of Everybody Loves Raymond, only it doesn’t last 22 minutes. It lasts forever.” -Knocked Up

What was even sadder is when I realized that this portrayal of marriage accurately mirrors a lot of people’s realities. They wouldn’t think it was funny if they couldn’t relate to the content. I wouldn’t have thought it was funny if I couldn’t relate to it. Married or not, a lot of people get stuck in patterns that create a perpetually negative relationship: an atmosphere governed by the infamous, primal monster within us: the ego.

The ego exists only for the self and needs constant emotional fueling. The ego makes us defensive, needy, jealous, adulterous and resentful. (It also makes for at least 9 seasons of hard-to-watch TV.)

A while back I read a post written by John at realtruelove.wordpress.com that revolved around this issue of the ego in relationships. He said that most relationships “default to be ego-based.” meaning that the relationship “exists for recreation, (to provide an escape), to add fun, entertainment, comfort, convenience and utility to a person’s life.” While all of that may not sound so bad, all of these reasons depend on the other person doing something to make our lives better. As the ego often does, it detracts responsibility away from itself, and puts responsibility on an external person or force for its fulfillment.

When our partner inevitably fails to fuel us with these perks and good feelings, those guided by their egos will blame their partner instead of looking inwards, where true happiness springs from: “Ego-based relationships exist for the comfort and benefit of the ego, not the… transcendence of it, which is why for the ego others are always expendable, interchangeable, replaceable, and never truly real or unique”.

As John explains, there are relationships that are ego-based and there are those that are soulful. Unlike an ego-based relationship that we create “to hide from our true selves… and validate photo-shopped versions of each other”, a soulful relationship “ is a means through which we… come to know ourselves as we really are… and who another really is, and to do this together, with as much compassion and understanding as possible.” There is still give and take in a soulful relationship, but it is done with much more “generosity and gratitude”. It becomes “something we are called to invest ourselves in, nurture, care for, take responsibility for and work at”.

Soulful doesn’t mean perfect. The concept of perfection doesn’t exist in any one of us and it definitely doesn’t exist in any pair of us. Marriage can be extremely trying, and difficult to watch on TV and in real life, but if both partners commit to living soulfully, by facing their egos and growing together, then marriage can be “a centerpiece in our lives, a place where we make the fruits of spiritual practice tangible and visible.”

Marriage isn’t easy, because no matter how conscious you are, you will lose sight of your ego once in a while. But if you’re lucky enough, when one of you is lost, the other will find you, and you can inspire each other to remember to look inwards once again.

 

To read John’s blog go to realtruelove.wordpress.com

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17 comments

  1. Excellent article! As suggested “The Bridge Across Forever” is a must read. Thank you!

  2. Thank you for the great post! Much wisdom here.
    Russ

  3. Just wanted to let you know that I took this chance to share your blog with the people that follow me by nominating you for The Very Inspiring Blogger Award. That, and the fact that I do find your blog inspiring on a regular basis. Please feel free to participate or not.Thank you for sharing your thoughts.
    http://www.magnoliabeginnings.org

    1. Thank you so very much! I am honoured.

  4. Lisa @ Tofudie · · Reply

    Beautiful post, it is so easy to get lost in ourselves, and as you mention here, we don’t always know we are lost. I love the line ‘when one of you is lost, the other one will find you’, this is a beautiful marriage mantra and one that my husband and I practice often, after all, this is what marriage is all about, to love, guide and support, always.

    1. It really is easy to get lost. I find that at any point in time one of us is living more aware than the other and can snap the other one back to reality. Thank goodness for that!

  5. By the way, since I moved mi blog to wordpress.org and I am hosted in another server, you are not receiving my updates so if you would like to continue following my blog, I would appreciate your visit to: thinkingforanswers.com and subscribe again. Thank you very much….

  6. Nice post! Haved you ever read “The Bridge Across Forever” by Richard Bach? He talk about the same subject. I think you are right, but it’s really difficult to go out of our egos, especially because very often we don’t realize that we are there. Thank you! 🙂

    1. I haven’t read that book, but it sounds cool. I’ll look into it! Is there a way to subscribe to your new blog through wordpress? I followed you on twitter, but can I get your posts to come up on my WP homepage?

      1. Sure you can. To suscribe to my blog you have to visit: thinkingforanswers.com and suscribe via email (I’m sorry but there is no other way because my blog is not hosted in wordpress.com 😦 )

  7. What a lovely post. I love that idea of a soulful marriage, and I hope my husband and I have achieved it. At least I’ve never identified much with those marriage sitcoms, so that must count for something. 🙂

    1. I wish I could say the same about not ever identifying with the sitcoms. That is something to be proud of! Nice to see you’re back from your blog break!

      1. Thanks! As for the sitcoms, if asked, my husband would probably compare me more to Sheldon from The Big Bang Theory than any of the sitcom wives. And not because I’m smart, but because I’m annoying. (Hey, I like keeping my usual spot on the couch. 🙂 )

    2. Haha, that show I DO like. Is your spot also ideally located both in relation to the heat source in the winter and a cross breeze in the summer? If so, I don’t blame you.

      1. Come to think of it…yes, it is! 😉

  8. I agree 110%… apart from the Everybody Loves Raymond part… I used to call it Not Everybody Loves Raymond because I was sick of seeing it on the flights to/from England and the US LOL

    But that last paragraph… yes… that’s something I will strive for and seek the next time around… if there is one 🙂

    1. After a while the banter just sounds like nails on a chalkboard. I don’t think I could watch a full episode of it anymore! Thanks for reading and for your comment : )

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