In this podcast, Amadon DellErba discusses self-awareness and the importance of growing out of self-importance. In the pursuit of self-mastery we have to go through the painful process of ego death; becoming more aware of our true self and less invested in our false identity.
Self-importance, or the exaggerated opinion of one’s own importance, is a common problem in today’s society. Everybody can feel self-important at times, especially strong people who are competent and recognized for their talents and abilities. Self-importance often leads to isolation because people don’t value teamwork and interdependence.
Our attitude towards life is key to our self-mastery. We can easily think our souls are flawed or cursed when really, we simply need to shift our thinking, from thoughts of presumptuousness to thoughts of gratitude.
Amadon pulls from other sources including Stuart Wilde, Viktor Frankl, Santeen, Gabriel of Urantia to further support his thoughts on and understanding of self-awareness.
Lastly, Amadon shares a short passage from The URANTIA Book, illustrating how we can use humor to help us all take ourselves less seriously, while remembering the greatness and grandeur of the Creator.
I think self-important people really pride themselves on thinking they're so independent, and they're so great... but really it's not acknowledging our interdependence with other people; that our greatness, our accomplishments, our values, you know, our ability to be efficient, to be leaders, whatever it is we're trying to do, is really based upon our interdependence of other people around us.
“Nothing You Do Matters Unless What You Do Matters”
I’m Amadon DellErba and this is “Get Real or Die Trying”
Hey tribe. How we doing? Amadon DellErba here, welcome to episode 18 of my podcast. Today's episode is called “Self-Awareness: Growing out of Self-importance.”
You know the root of self-mastery, in my opinion, is self-awareness. And while the root of suffering is self-importance. Coming out of self-importance into self-awareness is a painful process. I think it's, you know, it's happening to me right now in many ways and that's why I wanted to talk about it. Because in revealing these terrible traits about myself, I'm identifying some of the ideas and concepts around self-importance and the duality of the fact that at the same time I'm trying to become more increasingly self-aware. You know, self-awareness is really relinquishing of control and of false identity. It's tearing down the walls in our consciousness that we build that supposedly protect our fragile egos and our attachments. It's coming down off of our ivory towers of understanding. It's the dying of the ego essentially. Moving from self-importance to self-awareness is like stepping off the stage where you're being applauded by the adoring audiences and it's like going into a small, quiet room with a mirror in it. And when you stare into that mirror, you only see your imperfections and weakness. There's no applauding, there's no adoring here; there's only the deafening silence of seeing your own ugliness. That's okay. We all have times in our lives where we need to be willing to go into that room and to do that.
What really is self-importance? You know, the dictionary definition I believe of self-importance is having or showing an exaggerated opinion of one's own importance, essentially, and acting pompously, or conceited, or haughty. So I think all human beings can be self-important at times, especially strong people, natural leaders, people who are in positions of power, people recognized for their talents. You know, basically anyone that is very capable and successful really seem to be more susceptible to becoming too self-important. I think I see this in the world a lot with lawyers, doctors, CEOs, authors, celebrities... people who have accomplished a lot in their life and has some type of illusion of power and importance can form that own self-importance. But anybody can... not just those people I mentioned. You know, self-importance really actually leads to self-isolation. It pushes others away and it makes us not approachable. So when you're self-important, everything becomes personal, you know, you take everything personally and become easily offended. And I know this personally, because I can be like that. And I think the opposite is that self-awareness is welcoming and it makes us approachable. It makes us welcoming to other people's opinions, ideas, support, correction. Self-importance blinds us to our own weaknesses and distorts our view of strength in others, I feel. And I feel that insecurity is a symptom of self-importance. You know, it's an interesting thing because you think you're confident and your operating from your ego, but that insecurity actually builds in you when you're self-important because you base your security and your confidence off of the, you know, admiration, the recognition, and these false charms (so to speak) of others and you're really not actually truly confident in self, when your importance is validated by anybody else.
I think self-important people can often live with a sense of under-appreciation. They never feel like they're appreciated enough. They're always looking for validation and want recognition. They love to be noticed and they need constant acknowledgement. Self-important people expect agreement. They feel offended when they're challenged. They always have the answer, it's always right; they have the answer to everything. They think they know everything. They idolize the various trappings of power. You know, they have no problem supporting someone who they view as weaker around them, and who aren't a threat to them… but they actually compete with people who are competent and, you know, whether those competent people may be family members, colleagues, you know, associates in the workplace, you know, if they have any level of competence, competition enters. They have no problem working to advance themselves, even if it disadvantages others around them. And self-important people bristle at being under authority, you know, they want to be the authority. And I can say these things because, I've evaluated them in my own self and these traits, and identified them and it's an ugly process. And I think that every human being can go through this at some time in their life until they're knocked off their high horse, so to speak. And the humility is really the answer.
And you know, this reminds me of a book by author Stuart Wilde in “The Art of Redemption” he talks about practicing the three graces: generosity, kindness, and respect. And to practice these graces, it means you don't really perceive yourself as separate, special, or elite. You know, you recognize your interdependence of all things and all people.
And to me personally that's a key factor here. It's really about interdependence vs. independence. It's a concept my spiritual teacher and elder (and my father) Gabriel of Urantia has been talking about for years; interdependence. I think self-important people really pride themselves on thinking they're so independent, and they're so great... but really it's not acknowledging our interdependence with other people; that our greatness, our accomplishments, our values, you know, our ability to be efficient, to be leaders, whatever it is we're trying to do, is really based upon our interdependence of other people around us.
Another key concept that came to me when contemplating self-importance in the early morning hours this morning, is that enlightenment is not elevation, it's integration. Enlightenment is not elevation, it's integration. Self-awareness integrates oneself, while I really feel that self-importance separates. So coming into self-awareness is like using our true, internal compass rather than our external compass when being self-important. What I mean by that is our internal compass of self-awareness can be driven by intrinsic-goals, higher-values, you know, our higher selves, and our ideals and things we're striving for… While our external compass is driven by rewards such as money, fame, praise, them things in the material world. Those things can disappear in an instant where the things in our internal sense of self cannot be taken from us. You can't take my spiritual values and the things that I hold within me.
And again, this reminds me of a Victor Frank quote that he said in his book man’s search for meaning that I’d like to read. He says,
“Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms - to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”
You know, we must realize that our attitudes that we develop in life are not the same things, always, as our personality traits. I think I've made the mistake of thinking that my personality is just cursed when it's actually my attitude. We can change our attitudes with discipline and persistence, and like he was saying in that quote, it's our choice… it's our choice. No one can take your ability to choose your attitude and how you deal with circumstances. No matter what, nobody can actually take that from you. They can take everything else from around you. You could be in a prison cell in an isolation chamber and you still have the choice to accept and deal with that however you're going to… it’s a terrible situation, but you still have the choice. They can't take that choice from you, that attitude of how you're going to deal with that terrible circumstance.
And so like I was saying, I've made that mistake sometimes of confusing my attitude with my personality, and even thinking that my personality was innately cursed when it's not the case; and flawed. It's my attitude that's flawed. It's my attitude that affects my personality association with others, and with life and how I go about you know, going through life.
Another great quote that comes to mind is by Santeen, who was a great spiritual man. He always used to say, “We must have attitudes of gratitude.” And I think gratitude is a key concept for us to transcend out of self-importance into self-awareness. You know, we must strive for compassion, acceptance, honesty, gratefulness, and humility. And when we improve in these areas, I think we'll see much more noticeable difference in our day-to-day actions in our day-to-day attitudes and how we go about dealing with things in life. When we have more self-awareness and less self-importance we invite the graciousness in of life, the graciousness of others… That's another concept I was really thinking about is that it's really not gracious to be self-important, but when you're self aware and you're walking with more grace and humility, the magic can happen. And we feel like when we're in our modes of self-importance, that we can make things happen, that we can push through, that we're smart enough, that we're strong enough, that we're persistent enough, that we can do anything... but it's really not the case because, that's presumptuous. Presumptuous is kind of the opposite, to me, of graciousness. In self-awareness and in graciousness we realize that we are truly reliant upon our brothers, and our sisters, and the team, and the people, and the friends, and the family, or at work the colleagues, the people around us, who really support us and help us achieve our goals. It's not a one man or one woman show, ever.
And then lastly, I want to close by reading a quote from The URANTIA Book, which I often cite on my podcast because I find The URANTIA Book revelation to be one of the most complete spiritual tools to help facilitate my spiritual walk and growth. So from The URANTIA Book, there's a beautiful little quote here about how to deal with self-importance and using humor.
“When we are tempted to magnify our self-importance, if we stop to contemplate the infinity of the greatness and grandeur of our Makers, our own self-glorification becomes sublimely ridiculous, even verging on the humorous. One of the functions of humor is to help all of us take ourselves less seriously. Humor is the divine antidote for exaltation of ego.”
How do we exalt our own egos? And how… and what is that humor? I think that humor is so important because until we can make fun of ourselves, laugh at ourselves, you know, see our own flaws, and not take ourselves too seriously we're still operating in modes of self-importance. We take things too seriously. We blow things out of proportion. We're easily offended by others.
When we become more balanced, more self-aware, more mature, we're able to laugh at ourselves more. We're able to really see, you know, our flaws in a balanced way. And so for me personally, I can ramble on about self-importance and wanting to come into self awareness because that's a process that I'm personally going through; because I'm going through a process of wanting to identify, “how am I self-important?” I think it's a question that we can all ask ourselves and the answers will be different and how that self-importance manifests in all of our lives, day-to-day, and our choices will be different. But there are some underlying continuous themes of self-importance that I touched on in this podcast, I think can relate to everybody. And so once again, let's strive for self-awareness, which to me is generosity, compassion, graciousness, and humility, in our actions.
Thank you so much.
Thanks for listening to episode 18. And that's my take, my friends, on self-awareness and growing out of self-importance.
I’d like to read a quote by Viktor Frankl. How do you say it? Frankl?
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