Humility and Ego

Growing up I was extremely shy about dancing, especially partner dancing. But I would stand in great awe admiring two persons dancing, moving in sync, gently carrying each other, one humbly leading, the other humbly following. 

As an adult, I got hypnotized by the dancers on the cable programme Dancing with the Stars. My eyes… like the eyes of an eagle glued on its prey above the heavens.  This is a fresh image because a radio host recently lamented the death of the Latin, Salsa, and Tango dance but not (?) the murderous weapon of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Dancing. What an idyllic metaphor for the co-relationship between the human ego and humility! In the spiritual life, the ego and humility need each other. But, humility must take the lead. The human ego is truly a divine gift to humanity. The human ego is

“a collection of patterns and definitions that shape and determine what and how you think, feel, desire, and behave” (William Jarema). 

If, for example, I am socialized in a family to think critically, independently, unafraid to speaking out, and challenging the norm, then I grow in self-confidence and courage. My human ego would be formed for success in my professional and personal life.

But the ego needs taming. If not, it transforms from a spark to a wild fire. History has innumerable evidence of notorious religious and political leaders whose untamed ego destroyed lives. Their egos danced alone.

In the play Hamlet, King Claudius confesses to destructive consequences of his ego in an act of murder and prayer:

Bow, stubborn knees, and heart with strings of steel, Be soft as sinews of the newborn babe!

The human ego needs humility as its dancing partner to soften its heart. With this pair moving gracefully around the dance floor of life, the world, relationships, societies, and communities will be recreated.

If humility and ego are the dance partners of life, then dance on!

If humility and ego are the dance partners of life, then dance on!

One thought on “Humility and Ego

  1. Beautifully stated. I’ve always thought that EGO was Edging God Out. Happy to read the positive connotation, when it dances with humility.


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