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The Battle Within

There is a battle going on inside of you. It happens every day and happens not only to you, but to everyone around you.  You see it play out in everything from business boardrooms, to politics, to the much more intimate one-on-one relationships you have with other people, and most importantly, this battle rages within you. 

This post is going to sound a bit trippy with hippie speak, but bear with me as I think if you can understand the nature of this battle, you will be better equipped to win it.

Two Sides of Your Ego

When most people think of the ego, they think of loud mouth bragging.  To me, the ego can manifest in many ways, from the false bravado of someone exclaiming “Watch me!” to the “What if’s” that come from deep inside ourselves causing us to doubt our hopes and dreams before we even start an endeavor.

The Raging Child

​One part of the ego is one that I call the Raging Child. This is the part of the ego that wants, what it wants, when it wants it.  It’s all about having fun, getting its way, and always feels it is “right” and you’re wrong.  If it isn’t getting its way, or it’s doing something it doesn’t like, watch out!

I would say, when working with clients, I see the Raging Child come out at least a few times per day.   They know it’s not “them” but they also know that they don’t like it, so they’re quick to say, “Fuck you” to me or the “I hate you.”  It’s all good and I understand as I tell myself the same thing when I am putting myself through those same workouts.

If you’re looking for an example in everyday life, look no further than a certain president.  In fact, a lot of political talk is nothing but Raging Children everywhere.  Which is just plain disheartening. 

The Logical Whisperer

The other aspect of the ego, is what I call the Logical Whisperer. This part of the ego wants to protect you and ensure you’re safe.  This is the part of yourself that whispers, “But what if you don’t lose weight” and you begin to doubt yourself and kill off motivation before you even had a chance to get started. 

​Or if you’re making progress, and your Logical Whisperer says, “Well, don’t you think you deserve this piece of cake.”  Or the mom speak of, “Oh my god, you’re getting so skinny.  You need to eat more,” or the equally insidious aspect of, “Honey, do you think you need to eat that?” The one other thing this Logical Whisperer likes to say, especially if you’re not seeing results quick enough is, “Oh what’s the point?  I’m not making progress anyway.” 

Many people see the Raging Child and can understand that part of the ego, but most don’t see the Logical Whisperer because it contains our individual doubting self-talk that cut us down, and the potential of others, before hopes and dreams even have a chance to land in the ground and sprout. 

The Function of the Ego

Thus far, the ego wants to protect you, make sure you get what you want and that you have fun.  This sounds good, right?  No, it’s not great, but it does have its functions and I’m not so naïve to say that just relying on these things won’t get you success.  I’ve seen plenty of body transformations fueled by the Raging Child, where they “hate my body, ” and make drastic changes.   Yet, all too often, after they achieve their goals, they’re still unhappy with their lives.  They thought making the changes would bring happiness, but now they just have one less thing to use as a scapegoat for their unhappiness. 

On the other hand, the Logical Whisperer has probably killed more dreams and happiness than the Raging Child.  That desire to make a change to your life, whether it be from changing your body to changing a relationship or career, has become stifled and dead, because you have to “make a living. 

The worst part is when they join forces.  When the Logical Whisperer and Raging Child work together, that’s a shit storm for unproductivity and name calling (our whole political system), but on an individual level, that’s when you justify the piece of cake that you earned and then claim, I hate eating healthy (because you ate something unhealthy) and it becomes this vicious cycle, perpetuated by both sides of the ego. 

If you were only those two forms of your ego though, many people would stay unhappy for most of their lives, going from one “fun adventure” or goal or conquest to another, while never aspiring to their true desires, but there is a third part. 

The Quiet Observer

There is a third part of your Self, that sits there as the Raging Child tells you “You’re right” and the Logical Whisperer helps to keep you safe.  

This third part, to me, is the real you. 

It’s not loud, but you can feel it when you’re with someone who doesn’t live through the two sides of their egos.  This is the Quiet Observer and this part of yourself is fueled by connection and love.  

This is the part that helps you to understand someone else’s point of view and can bridge gaps between two opposing points of view.  It’s the part that when you’re making a change to your health and fitness, does so because not only do you feel healthier, but also feel like a better, more realized version of yourself. 

This is the part of yourself when your raging child says, “F’ getting out of bed,” nudges you and says, “You don’t have to, but you know you’ll feel better afterwards.” 

This is the part of yourself when your Logical Whisperer says, “What’s the big deal?  You’ve earned it,” will tell you, “If you’re going to have it, enjoy it and get back on track.”

It’s the part of you that when encountering a Raging Child doesn’t try to use logic, but gives it a hug, and says I understand.  It seeks connection first.  It’s the part that when you know you’re going to hear a comment like, “Wow, don’t you think you’ve lost too much weight,” anticipates it with a genuine, “I know what you’re going to say.  You think I’ve lost too much weight, but I have to tell you, I love the way my body looks and more importantly feels.  So before you say it, know that yes, I lost a lot of weight and I worked hard to do it.  Thank you for your concern and yes, I am still very healthy.  Thank you for caring.”

Living with All 3 Aspects

The bottom line is that you can’t get rid of your Raging Child. It will always be a part of you, especially if you’re hungry or tired.  And you can’t get rid of your Logical Whisperer.  They are both there trying to help you, although they do a shit job at it.  What you can do is to help guide them by giving all 3 aspects of yourself what it needs.  In doing so, you can decrease the influence of your ego, knowing that you will have to restart the battle day after day. 

The Raging Child needs understanding.  Its basic function is “to be right,” and will do anything to show that it is right.  Therefore, being understanding can be especially difficult when you know the person is factually wrong.  But facts will never change someone in a Raging Child state.  The best parents do this to their children automatically.  They empathize with them and in doing so, help to diffuse the situation.  Doing this with adults takes even more patience. 

The Logical Whisperer needs an anticipation of concerns.  Want to diffuse a situation with someone? Anticipate what they’re going to be concerned about and address it before they have a chance to voice their concerns.  You can, specifically do this with your Self best.  If you’re going to attempt to change your body, but are scared of how you will find time to workout and eat healthy, don’t be scared to reason with yourself before the fears get entrenched.  “I know finding time to workout won’t be easy and you might fuck up a lot.  You might miss more workouts than you planned, but remember something is better than nothing.  If I mess up, which I will, know that it’s the part of any change.  No one is perfect and that is Not an expectation I should have for myself.” 

The Quiet Observer needs a Voice.  Only you can give voice to your higher and better self.  And only you can choose to do so, day after day.  It is always there, when the raging child is raging and the logical whisperer is whispering, your quiet observer is there, observing.  But its power is when you give it a voice. 

To me, if you can get to a place where the Quiet Observer has more influence over you, especially when you’re making changes to your body (or really any aspect of your life), you will have a much higher chance of success over the long term.  This is true, not because you will be doing something that is healthy for you overall, but you are doing something that is listening to your best and happiest self.  

You’re not drowning it out with alcohol, or food, or even excessive workouts, but instead from a place of genuine contentedness.  

The hard part though is to recognize the genuine Quiet Observer that is yourself and to give it a voice.  

In fact, with all the advertisements that tell you that you’re not enough, or the messages that say you have to buy something in order to THEN be happy along with the political climate where there are so few and far between that rise above the Logical Whisperer or Raging Child, it’s hard to know what you should aspire to. 

But when you can get more familiar with the Quiet Observer, you have the potential to have a power that is unique – to experience both serenity while taking meaningful action. 

So the next time that you start getting mad for something out of control or start to undercut yourself before you’ve even started, take a few seconds and try and remember what you really want – a better connection with others and your true self. 

Notes: 

  1. Advertiser’s love playing to our inadequacy. They are playing to our Logical Whisperer’s basest desires.  In the marketing book, Winning the Story Wars, Jonah Sachs discusses it and even describes it as “Whisper Copy.” See the highlighted text below:

2. Yes, I know Freud had a similar concept of Id, Ego, and Superego. I honestly don’t know much about it, but I read an article online about it, so now I’m an expert, obviously.  They somewhat align, but Freud went a lot deeper and that theory is in need of a revision.  I’m biased and I like mine better.

  1. I do feel that if there is a quote that shows what the Quiet Observer is, it’s Michele Obama’s, “When they go low, we go high.”It’s not a gut punch of words and it’s not one meant to undercut.  It needs to be backed by consistent action, but it’s one that aspires to our better natures.  And if you can do that, then you give yourself an opportunity to not only achieve your goals, but be happy with them when you achieve them.
  2.  Guys are typically funneled into showing one emotion above all others – anger – and therefore you will typically see more males exhibit this type of ego.  If you’re looking for an example, look no further than a certain president.  In fact, a lot of political talk is nothing but Raging Children everywhere.  Which is just plain disheartening.
  3. What does all of this have to do with fitness and health? Seriously, everything.  These two aspects often cut us down in every way imaginable.  The Raging Child wants nothing to do with getting out of bed in the morning, or eating healthy when it wants a slice of PIZZA!  And the Logical Whisperer says, “This is too much work,” and you quit because of that fucking whisper.  There are thousands of examples, but the next time you hear yourself talking to yourself, watch what is speaking.  Is it the Raging Child, the Logical Whisperer, or your Quiet Observer?  By knowing what part is doing the speaking, you then have a chance to stay on track.