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As my daughter grew older, I recognized that these changing rhythms of her life seemed to continue.

Sometimes a rhythm or a main event was related to a health issue or a particular childhood phase. But just as I thought I had figured one out, the rhythm seemed to shift again.

I took a closer look and noticed that many more things around me also shifted in fairly well-defined rhythms. Elementary school, middle school, high school, and college years are set periods in a child’s life. But elsewhere, for adults too, there are phases, limits, set times. For example, people lease cars for three or four years. A cellphone contract is usually a couple of years. A lease on an apartment or house can be one or two years. Some people move every so often, and I discovered while reviewing résumés that some stayed in jobs for a consistent – and set — period of time before moving to the next.

There is a rhythm to the way we do things. This naturally occurring rhythm is what I now call our ego-RHYTHM™.

The ego has traditionally had a slightly negative connotation, largely because of Sigmund Freud’s rigid definition of the concept. Originally, Freud used the word ego to mean a sense of self, but later revised it to mean a set of psychic functions such as judgment, tolerance, reality-testing, control, planning, defense, synthesis of information, intellectual functioning, and memory.

The ego separates out what is real, he believed. Freud’s structural model of the psyche uses the term ego but some of his ideas can be difficult for women to accept. Spiritual teacher, Eckhart Tolle, has even called the ego “the enemy.”

I am not going to argue with or dispute anyone else’s interpretation of the term. Rather, I will give you the definition of the word ego that I use here.

The original meaning of the word “ego” comes from Latin and simply means the “I” or “self” of any person: “a person as thinking, feeling, and willing, and distinguishing itself from the selves of others and from objects of its thought,” according to an online dictionary (and why not use that definition as well as any other?)

Is the ego I am referring to – you, as an individual. I believe that there is only one YOU; the “you” that is defined by multiple aspects unique to only you. For me, it is too complicated to explain what these different aspects might mean or how your particular psyche is split one way or another by what makes you unique.

I prefer to look at ego as our ability to examine ourselves from different angles and perspectives. This is what helps us to make conscious decisions. We must accept all aspects of ourselves to feel complete and to function.

Internal battles and screaming matches are not good for us. To the contrary, these feelings fuel our discomfort and the sense many of us struggle with of being incomplete, this sense that we are somehow inadequate. Who wants to have an alter ego that has a life of its own and does its own thing?

Remember, everything that you read or hear from writers or speakers about the ego are only their own concepts and ideas. What I speak about is my own concept of the term, which is based on my own experience and observations. None of the theories about “ego” is backed by scientific proof. They are only theories. The only thing that should make a difference for you is what you believe in and what you can and will accept as your own reality.

And that reality can be awesome.

In your life, you’ve probably thought a lot about what makes you, you. Has there ever been a time when you realized that your own ego, your sense of the world, is different form others, and are you at peace with that? At the same time, do you still want to change? Let me know how you approach this aspect of your continuing growth. I’d love to hear from you!

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