10 Tiny Signs Your Ego Has Taken Over

Is your ego controlling you?

Mans ego taking over, as he places crown on head studioroman | Canva

Who convinces you to say the harsher thing? Who makes you snap? Who blames yourself the most? The nasty little voice in your head, right? 95% of people believe the voice is who they are. The truth is the voice is more like an echo — an echo of society, your fears, and past experiences. That’s it. The voice is not you! If you don’t pay attention, it will run your life for you. You alone decide who you want to be not your past, society, or your fears. The only way to take back control is by separating yourself from the voice up there. Once you deeply understand this truth you’ll be able to greet the voice friendly and move on with your life — whatever it comes up with.


"When you observe the ego in yourself, you are beginning to go beyond. Don’t take the ego too seriously. When you detect egoic behavior in yourself, smile." — Eckhart Tolle

If I would listen to the voice in my head I would never publish a single article. Even now it’s telling me: "Karo, this is not the best opening for this article. People won’t understand. You’re a bad writer better go and do something else. You’re wasting your time." Still, I continue writing because the data says thousands of people read and comment on my articles every week. The voice never stops no matter how your reality looks like, you just get better at not buying into its storyline anymore.


Here are 10 tiny signs your ego has taken over:

1. The voice says, 'Why is he/she having what I want?'

Jealousy gets all of us from time to time. The ego hates seeing other people getting what you want. Because it operates from a place of scarcity and thinks when other people achieve XYZ you can’t anymore. In 99% of cases, the opposite is true. Other people show what’s possible for you too. When other people achieve something you deeply desire you feel inferior because you don't have it yet. That means your achievements or possessions are tied to your self-worth.

As William Penn says: "The jealous are troublesome to others, but a torment to themselves."

You are worthy just by being on this planet, don't put yourself through this. When jealousy comes up, be present with the feeling and ask yourself what it can teach you. Shining the light of awareness on it will dissolve the uncomfortable feeling within 90 seconds. Have you discovered a deep desire you don’t allow yourself to dream of?

RELATED: 7 Counterintuitive Ways To Get Rid Of Jealousy Fast


2. The voice says, ‘If I buy this … I’ll be happier!’

You might be happier for a moment or a few days just until you get used to the new thing you bought. Then the voice is back and you end up buying the next thing that clutters your home and the cycle starts again. Without noticing you fill your life with things instead of happiness. As Alvina Celeste says "Clutter doesn’t just occupy the house in which you live, it occupies your mind. Lasting happiness always comes from within. You can’t buy it, you can only cultivate it.

"When you no longer feel the life that you are, you are likely to fill up your life with things." — Eckhart Tolle

Check in with yourself why have you bought the things you bought last month? Do you need them or did you use them to feel better? Of course, we need to buy things to function and live a normal life, but when it becomes excessive, you know the ego is at work.

@christina.mychas Replying to @Sarah | Interior Design looking inward and asking WHY has really helped me. It doesn’t mean you have to say “no” all the time, but it does help me navigate if this will be a buyers remorse item or not or if I’m repeating old patterns #shopaholic #impulsebuying #mindfulspending #mindfulshopping ♬ original sound - Christina

3. The voice says, ‘I should have done/said … instead of…”

Still thinking about that thing that happened last week? You should have said something else or done something differently. I tell you one thing: It doesn’t matter anymore. Move on. Take one more moment to learn something from the situation but then let it go. It can’t be changed anymore so what’s the point?


As Eckhart Tolle points out "The past has no power to stop you from being present now. Only the grievance about the past can do that." While you are stuck in the past you are missing out on the present moment. The warm touch of a loved one. The smile of your child. The sun on your face. Letting go means accepting what happened and observing your feelings. That’s the way out of the past right back into real life.

4. The voice says, ‘I’m right!’

The ego hates new perspectives. Anything different is a red flag for the ego and will make it scream in your head "That’s wrong. It’s not supposed to be like that!" Don’t listen to the voice. Instead, remind yourself of the limited perspectives you have. From another person’s view, this might make sense. Our knowledge is limited — we don't know what we don't know. Acknowledge this universal truth and tell yourself: Interesting. Based on my experience that doesn't make sense but I’m curious to learn more.

Next time, ask questions to broaden your perspective. You don’t have to agree but can you accept that this is the truth for the other person? Bonus points if you understand their reasoning.

5. The voice says, ‘It’s [insert name]'s fault that I’m unhappy.

It feels so comfortable to listen to the ego giving you permission to lean back and let everything be other people’s fault. The ego can’t admit it’s the source of the problem so it has to convince you other people are. Okay, you can dwell a second in self-pity. But only a second! Then observe how this makes you the victim of the situation. Nobody consciously wants to be a victim, right?


So get back up and take matters into your own hands. Once you take ownership of your inner world everything changes. It’s not the other people anymore that make you miserable — you know your healing journey is your responsibility. It requires work to own this perspective but hard work is still more comfortable than being stuck and unhappy for the rest of your life.

RELATED: Why You Need To Stop Blaming Society For Your Problems

6. The voice says, ‘I don’t know what I want!'

Big decision in front of you? You have thought so much about it that you are lost? The ego hates change. It makes you question your decision because it wants to keep everything exactly as is. It’s scared of the unknown and that’s normal. As long as you are conscious of this you’ll be able to find out what you authentically desire. Let Erica Jong’s words inspire you: "I have not ceased being fearful, but I have ceased to let fear control me." Ask yourself what decision your future you (one year from now) would want you to make. Acknowledge the risks but also come up with solutions for each of them. This will calm your ego and clear your mind.

7. The voice says, ‘I’m annoyed I can’t stand the situation.’

Are you impatient or annoyed a lot? Can’t stand the present moment? The ego fears the present moment like vampires the sun. A second of presence and the ego is gone. Being impatient is letting the ego take over. Being patient is being present. The present moment is the only reality we have. Don’t let the ego convince you it’s a bad place to be.


"There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so." — William Shakespeare

Next time you feel impatient or annoyed be aware of your negative emotions. Take a deep breath and return to the present moment. I guarantee you you’ll feel better instantly. If we learn to be patient with ourselves, we learn to enjoy the present moment. And this is what life is about, enjoying every moment.

8. The voice says, ‘I’m stuck!’

Do you feel something is missing in your life? Nothing fulfills you? The ego loves to tell you something is missing in your life — otherwise, it wouldn’t exist. Believe me, I have been there too. Feeling stuck is something all of us experience at some point in our lives. True happiness can only come from the inside as it is our true nature. If you feel stuck right now, start looking inward for just a few minutes every day to discover who is below all the layers of social conditioning. Remember right now you already have everything to be happy. The storyline in your head is holding you back.

Be happy with what you have. Be excited about what you want. — Alan Cohen


RELATED: The Simple Question Happy People Ask Themselves Any Time They Feel Stuck

9. The voice says, ‘I can never forgive you!’

Forgiveness is hard. Your ego will never be ready to forgive — don’t wait for it. The ego is addicted to drama but you don’t have to. Forgiving means letting go of anger, resentment, and pain. Who wouldn’t want to live with less of the above? Forgiveness is for you — it gives you peace of mind back. You don’t even have to tell the other person. Love and empathy are always the better choice but it takes strength to execute this.

"Your ego is not ready to forgive but your soul is." — Maxime Lagace.


10. The voice says, ‘Nobody cares about me!’

One of the core needs of human beings is to be loved, to feel seen and heard. When this doesn't happen in our reality the ego immediately jumps in. The ego loves to dwell in self-pity. Feeling whole and worthy from the inside is a lifelong journey. You can’t rely on external factors to feel loved. First, you have to love yourself. This will broaden your perspective and you will see the suffering of other people and how this makes them behave in dysfunctional ways. Then you know, their behavior is not about you — it’s about them.

Self-worth is something you have to cultivate actively during your whole lifetime. You are always worthy no matter what. The ego causes us a lot of pain, but by deeply being in touch with the present moment we can greet it with a smile and recognize how it wants to protect us from psychological discomfort. You don’t need its protection anymore. You are safe. You are equipped to feel discomfort. You are loved.

"When we are mindful, deeply in touch with the present moment, our understanding of what is going on deepens and we begin to be filled with acceptance, joy, peace and love." — Thich Nhat Hanh

RELATED: Why You Need To Stop Letting The Voice In Your Head Get The Best Of You


Karo Wanner is a writer and author of the Mindful Monday newsletter — a weekly newsletter, trusted by 1.200+ mindful people, full of practical advice for cultivating peace of mind and living a more mindful life.