Ego can be defined as a person's sense of self importance, worth or identity. Ego is the view of ourselves from our own viewpoint. One difficult thing to determine is what influences our view of ourselves. What determines our self worth and importance? Is our identity something that we created for ourselves or did someone else create for us?
If our determination of worth or identity is determined by outside forces such as our peers, society, media or loved ones, how does that affect us? If external opinions govern our self worth, then our ego will drive our actions to please these external opinions by seeking validation from those influences. This drive to please our ego is called egotism.
Keep in mind, how we think people think of us may not be entirely accurate. For example, you may feel your identity or worth is defined by your athletics because your friends and family always talk about your sports achievements when talking about you. The truth may be that they think of your as more than a athletic person but your ego is locked into that image. So you may find yourself, working out and pushing yourself physically not because you enjoy it but because you are trying to fulfill that identity that you feel everyone thinks defines you. You may act a certain way or dress a certain way. But it defines your daily routine slowly then entirely. By breaking this image, your ego is conflicted and you feel that you are letting people down. In truth, they may not care at all but your ego cares. The ego feels this pain so we will avoid it so we end up keeping up this image.
If we associate pleasing our ego with removal of pain or happiness, then egotism will become our primary purpose in life. It becomes a self feeding cycle. Please our egos by pleasing other's opinion of us to get a little bit of happiness. We end up defining our happiness and purpose by maintaining a identity that others want us to have.
When we are young, our primary identify is defined by our parents. They provide us our initial sense of self. Our self worth may be defined by being a good student or a well behaved person to please our parents. Or perhaps it is to become a sports star or musician. Regardless it is not the identity that may make us happy. Your ego lives based on the happiness of others. Egotism drives us to please our parents and seek approval which maintains our sense of identify and self worth. This approval keeps our ego happy and us happy. At some point, everything that we do from the clothes that we wear, the college that we attend, the people that we date, and many facets of life become defined by egotism. Your ego becomes the prison that controls your life and what you do.
In the end, when we let our ego drives our actions and lives, it takes us further away from who we are or can become. Think about all the things that you do. Do you do it for yourself or do you do it to fit neatly into an identity that society created for you? Look at what you wear. Do you wear it to fit an identity of success or an identity to please other people? Do you eat and drink certain places to match that identity? Do you even enjoy it? Or is it your ego that is driving you? Questions why you do things because you may find that you are living a life to please your ego. The people who loves you will loves you even if you're not a perfect person fitting a perfect image. If they do not love you, then they love the fake you; the you that is driven by your ego. Then you can let those people go because they do not love the real you. Your true friends will love the true you. The egoless you.