con game

In my previous post, I referred to “the Voice”, the whispered wisdom that I hear in the deepest recesses of my mind, distinguishable from all other thoughts, each with their own personalities. The Voice has been my inner navigation system — my GPS, if you will.

But I’m not going to talk about “the Voice” today. I’m going to talk about that other voice that most of us hear, the one that’s negative speak —sharp-tongued and quick to cut us down in one or two words given any opportunity. That voice, the voice of the ego, exists solely to keep us safe. Borne of the emotional body, the ego rules so much more of our lives than we realize.

Much has been written about the ego in the realms of psychology, self-help, and esoteric teachings, which can be easily researched online. What I have come to understand is this: the ego has gotten a bad rap. The ego was originally created to keep us safe in this human experience and well, let’s just say that things got a bit out of control. Or sidetracked.  As we grew to rely more and more on the ego, we lost and in some cases, willingly surrendered, our ability and willingness to discern danger.

What does this discussion of ego have to do with the conversation I’ve been engaging in this past month regarding makeup or no makeup? It’s been my ego’s voice eroding my confidence all of these years (dare I say, decades?) as I put on my mask of makeup each morning.

shutterstock_45716857It’s the voice of my ego mirroring my fear of being unacceptable, unattractive, unworthy …. my daily inner dialogue, originally developed to keep me safe first from the bullying of classmates and later the inappropriate advances of not only my older brother, but an uncle, and a teacher. I developed a sturdy mask to be presentable to my external world. All the while, my self-confidence suffered the tyranny of my ego in my attempt at to be safe, hidden.

I realized I’ve been immersed in one big con game with lots of twists and turns all along. Because this inner voice — the ego’s voice — was the voice of my fears.

It’s ME who’s been doing the conning all along.

This got me to thinking about the origins of the word ‘con’, given it’s overwhelming presence in our language. The root of ‘con’ in Middle English is condien, which means to guide. In Latin, conducere means to bring together. In American slang, when we use ‘con’ it means the opposite, with negative connotations that refer to a lack of trust, as in ‘conning’ someone. It’s confusing. (I can’t help but laugh at that word – ‘confusing’ seems to be redundant, given the origin of ‘con’…. but I digress.)

Con is a lot like the ego, and if I’ve learned nothing else in all of this, it’s that nothing has meaning but the meaning we give it. The ego is just doing its job. A con can bring together, or keep separate. The glass is half-full, or half-empty…. My perspective. My choice.

Wearing no makeup these past twenty-five days has been incredibly revealing on many levels. Stepping out from behind the mask of makeup, I find I trust myself again. And not writing because I didn’t having confidence in what I have to offer, what I have to say, was much less complicated than I’d imagined.

I’ve finally conned myself in every sense of the word.

How do you find yourself talking you into or out of something? 

Copyright 2014 by Donna Cerame. All rights reserved.

Here’s Dr. Ivan Joseph’s terrific TED Talk on self confidence:

2 thoughts on “con game

  1. Love this post…”It’s been my ego’s voice eroding my confidence all of these years (dare I say, decades?)”…I think everyone has heard this voice. I also love your point that nothing has meaning but the meaning we give it…powerful words

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