Hello World, You Scare the Sh!t Out of Me!

This is it. The first real post on Authentic Gecko.

This post is supposed to be about this blog and what I want to achieve with it. But it isn’t.

You know why? Because sharing this with you scares the sh!t out of me.

So instead of “Hello World,” I’m writing about why I’m afraid to share this with you.

WAIT! DON’T GO! This isn’t going to be a whiny, woe-is-me post.

Really.

The Voices in My Head

As I sit here my mind is buzzing with a bazillion reasons why I should wait to tell you about this blog — or maybe not write it at all. Everything from, “No one’s going to read it,” to “What if someone reads it,” and “What if someone reads it and hates it. What if they think my writing sucks? What if they think my ideas are moronic?”

So I counter these fears one by one.

  • If no one reads it — so what, I had fun writing it.
  • If someone read it — well, that’s kind of the point isn’t it?
  • If someone think it sucks — a strong reaction is better than no reaction. Right?

After working through each fear and giving myself the “get a grip” speech, I quickly come up with new reasons to put off telling you about this site:

  • There are some formatting problems I should fix.
  • There are several pages and features I should add to the site first.
  • There are a few pages I should delete.
  • There are so many people out there writing fantastic blogs about this stuff, no one needs to hear what I have to say.
  • Authentic Gecko is a really stupid name for a blog about anything — except maybe geckos.

So I talk myself off the ledge again and get back to work.

I know these fears are irrational because if you are reading this you probably know me pretty well (Hi Mom). You’ve seen me make bigger mistakes than poor page formatting, and you’ve certainly judged me for saying weirder things than I’m saying here.

And if you don’t know me, it’s a fluke you’re reading this at all, and I’m thrilled you’re here.

But I digress.

Ego or Lizard Brain, It’s All the Same

You know what? My having these schizophrenic conversations with myself is a good thing.

Actually, it’s a great thing.

It shows that I’ve come a long way in the last few years, and maybe I do have something to say. A few years ago I wouldn’t have recognized these thoughts for what they are; I would have accepted them as true and I would’ve mumbled some excuses and quit.

Now I get it.

Sort of.

All of these reasons to give up can be chalked up to what Eckhart Tolle calls ego, and others have called the lizard brain, or Amygdala (yup I can google with the best of them), the pre-historic part of the brain that is responsible for basic survival instincts like fight or flight instincts.

In other words, my ego is trying to keep me safe by encouraging me to back away from danger.  I bet yours does this too.

The problem is that our egos haven’t evolved much in the last umpteen million years.

Deciding to give up and high tail it out of here was probably the right thought when confronted with a herd of stampeding mammoths, but when you’re facing small talk at a dinner party (or going public with a blog) – not so much.

I get all that, and I’m slowly learning to recognize my ego at work and consciously counter negative thoughts with positive ones. But when you read all the self help books and blogs, they make this sound easy.

It’s not.

The ego is a tricky beast. As soon as I recognize its patterns, it switches it up.

Lately it’s gotten good at mimicking what I call my true self.  The little voice that I occasionally hear coming from deep within that I know is telling the truth.

Oh yah, instead of shouting and repeating itself over and over like the ego I know well, it’s learned how to get quiet and more pointed in the thoughts it sends so I wonder where the thought is coming from – ego or truth.

The ego is a wily devil all right.

Over the last year or so I have often wondered whether I was hearing my ego, or whether something was well and truly a super-sucky bad idea, so I turned to my friend Google and started looking for information on how to identify my ego at work.

Guess what? I found a bunch of stuff from a bunch of smart people, and some of it rang true for me and some of it not so much. Here are a few of the things I’ve found helpful.

It’s your ego talking when:

  • You don’t have control over the voice. It repeats itself over and over and over. And then it starts again (and again).
  • The thought doesn’t make sense. You know it’s not true, you know it’s irrational but it won’t go away.
  • The voice is harsh saying things you would never say out loud to someone else (what you think about saying but don’t doesn’t count).
  • It starts in on you for having the negative thought in the first place.  This is the “get a grip, don’t be so insecure” part of your internal dialogue.
  • The voice uses tones words and phrasing inspired by the most critical people in our lives.

Ok, I actually find the opposite is true for that last point. My ego doesn’t mimic other people. It comes up with the negative self talk all on its own. It plants the seed and then it lurks in the background waiting for someone to say something as simple as, “Are you sure?” or even “Why?” and as soon as they do it sweeps in with a loud “Booyah,” and a smug “Told you so,” while swinging from the chandeliers in my mind thoroughly enjoying itself.

Recognizing ‘Ole Lizard Brain is Half the Battle

The good news is that recognizing thoughts that originate from the ego is half the battle. (If it was the whole battle you would have read this post weeks months ago.)  Once you recognize self-defeating thoughts, you can start to take the steps to counter and work past them.

Those steps are the topic for many other posts.

And that’s what this blog is about. The small steps we take to work through fear, build the lives we want, be our authentic selves, and just be plain ‘ole happy.

What about you?

How do you recognize your ego at work and put it in its place? Share your thoughts in the comments.

Check out what other smart people have to say about the ego:

Eckhart Tolle on Shyness, Self Esteem and Ego

Seth Godin: Quieting the Lizard Brain (19 min Video)

Photo by: EpSos.de
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