Wandering the woods last night I remembered my early years when school awards were given out. Awards for the athletic kids, awards for the smart kids. Praise for excellence. We all seemed to aspire to the praise and recognition, it was encouraged and to be thought of as a looser was a ridicule that bit deeply.
The issues of childhood seemed to stay with me into my 20's and I sought for perfection and recognition. I also remember a point at which my ego finally shattered and I gave up on trying to achieve these and instead focused on what I could learn and understand. At this point I began to listen to my failings and study them. Every time I was defeated with an issue I made a point of trying to put aside the stubbornness, denial and scapegoating that the ego seemed to hide behind. I began to take apart every detail and learn, I would then put myself back into the situation.
I was surprised by the results. Not only did I begin to loose my own fear of failure, but I began to systematically dissect the strategies and attitudes of people who were previously seen as high achievers. Then I began to learn from their failures. In addition to this I also began to question the very rewards of success. The expensive cars, gadgets and homes of those who were apparently "successful" began to mean nothing to me. In many ways I find those who feel the need to show off in such a manner breeds a distrust within me. I found many previous role models lost their influence and control as I looked beyond the apparent.
The repressed ego doesn't mean I have to be used and abused to fuel the ego and desires of another. It does mean that when I deal with such a person my actions come from a logical place and are intended to correct their manners rather then worsen my own.