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Thoughts On Detaching From Ego And Walking In Peace

Originally published in October of 2012

As I approach the last few years of my fourth decade on planet earth, I find myself feeling grateful for some of the conclusions that I've been able to draw from various life experiences. One in particular that I try to hold close to my heart, especially in times of triumph and disaster, is this:

The more we detach from our egos, the greater potential we have to experience peace.

I'm far from being an expert on varying schools of psychology, so please excuse me if any of the following thoughts don't jive with what you might find in the original works of Freud, Jung, or Adler.

Here's some of what detaching from ego means to me:

It means when someone intentionally or unintentionally criticizes or insults me, deep down, I don't feel terribly wounded because everyone is entitled to an opinion, and at the end of the day, I have my conscience to tell me how I'm doing.

It means that I walk with gratitude for all that I have right now, regardless of what others around me have. All of us are living out miraculously unique journeys, so to compare what we're doing, where we've been, and what we have in the name of sizing each other up is a waste of time.

It means that I know that it is wrong to try to gain social mileage out of the accomplishments, behavior, or appearance of my children, life partner, and anyone else that I am linked to.

It means that I don't gain or lose emotional strength from external markers of success like the amount of money I make or the score of a tennis match.

Speaking of tennis, being a huge fan of the game and an active player, I can tell you that this relationship between degree of attachment to one's ego and level of inner peace is easy to observe on the tennis court.

In playing with a number of people of different ages and backgrounds, I've observed that tennis players whose egos aren't overly uplifted or crushed by what happens on the tennis court seem to be doing pretty well in other areas of life, especially in their closest relationships (life partner, parents, children, colleagues, etc.).

Then, there are a few players here and there whose egos are too fragile to handle the labels of winning and losing. One such player I know is so tortured that it's uncomfortable to be on the court with him. Worse than the temper tantrums is the seemingly endless stream of excuses to account for his miserable circumstances, which, coincidentally or not, include difficulties with making a living and connecting with his spouse and children.

It's been said that playing sports can help build character. I'd agree with this notion, especially as it pertains to youngsters who are rapidly growing into themselves and figuring out what they want from their lives. But for older adults who have been through major life experiences like working at a career, having a long term relationship, and raising children, I'd say that while playing sports can certainly help build character, moreso, it reveals character. Ditto for all life challenges.

How do you know if you can use a little detaching from your ego to enhance the quality of your health and life? Some clues are frequent agitation, complaining, excuse-making, and frustration in your closest relationships. If you're relatively free of these unhealthy states most of the time, you're probably secure in your intentions and how you're going about your life. This isn't to say that any of us can be totally free of moments that we're not proud of. The idea is to ensure that a fragile ego and over-attachment to what others think about us do not prevent us from accessing our potential as human beings.

Where does unhealthy attachment to ego come from? I imagine that it comes from many years of being told that we're not good enough unless we look a certain way and accomplish specific things. Once we adopt these beliefs, we live with some degree of fear, fear of having others think that we have failed in life. I think it's this fear that drives chronic angst in most of its disguised and transparent forms.

So in recognizing this, how do we find a healthy balance of being authentic with our emotions while maintaining reasonable detachment from our egos?

For me, the answer is in the moments that make up each day. In particular, those moments when I am acutely aware that I have one of two choices: to act in an effort to protect my ego, or to put my focus on those around me and the principles that I want to live by.

For example, when someone attacks my character, if I'm in the mode of trying to protect my ego, my natural reaction will be to defend my behavior and attack back. But if I'm able to catch myself and widen the space that exists between stimulus and response, I stand a greater chance of experiencing peace by striving to help the other person feel understood - through empathy, a sincere apology, or any other means necessary.

This takes practice. It's an art, really, to widen the space between stimulus and response, and to consistently choose thoughtful behavior that's about the greater good rather than flipping the finger to someone who we feel is being nasty. And I can say from experience that each time I widen this space, each time I choose a kind and gentle response rather than one out of hurt and anger, I feel a sense of victory within. In my book, this is real life detachment from ego, and few other experiences are as deeply satisfying.

Another example would be when we feel the need to talk up something we've done or accomplished to have others know that we measure up. For me this urge usually arises in the face of someone boasting for attention. To recognize the silliness of joining this game and to consciously choose not to take part is another inner victory that helps me feel like I've strengthened my character and loosened the grip of my ego.

In discussing ways of overcoming attachment to ego and crippling pride, I don't think we can overlook the importance of feeling like we're doing something valuable with our lives. As Anne Frank put it, "laziness may seem attractive, but work gives satisfaction." I would add to this that engaging in work that is personally meaningful is essential to developing and maintaining healthy self esteem, which I believe is needed to rise above the constant stream of opportunities to display poor behavior. As an aside, I can't think of any type of work that can be more meaningful than raising children, taking care of elders, and nurturing our closest relationships.

I know I'm treading somewhat above my pay grade when I make observations about ego, pride, and how problems with either can affect performance and quality of life. But then, I generally trust my instincts about people, and a life that is being crippled by a fragile ego isn't hard to notice, especially when it's mine. It's disturbing to look at, not unlike coming across a gruesome car accident (lots of double negatives in this post, which means that I'm feeling it).

Let me be clear that I'm not referring to a situation where a person feels incapable. Like the case of one client I will never forget, who, with tears in his eyes, confessed that he simply felt like he was too emotionally damaged to function at an adequate level in our society. I will always have warm feelings about this particular client and others like him, because in my book, to so vulnerably profess doubt in one's capacities is a mark of extraordinary decency.

Where there is enough emotional strength to evaluate and recognize one's shortcomings, I believe there is immense potential to experience personal growth and truly intimate and satisfying relationships filled with respect and even reverence. Humility and genuineness breed fondness, right?

Where pride and ego don't allow honest self examination or the ability to share existing vulnerabilities, I just don't see how there can be hope for a life without major regrets.

My radar for life-crippling, easily devastated egos might be above average in sensitivity because I come from a family and culture that practically invented the idea of starving to death rather than wash dishes for food money. My parents are good-hearted people who wouldn't cheat another soul for a penny, but in all the time that I've known them, not once do I remember them proactively apologizing for something. I think for many of their generation and old school Korean culture, apologizing is viewed as a grossly shameful act and perhaps an invitation to be ridiculed.

Raised without seeing what a mature apology looks like, as young adults, I think my sisters and I were emotionally handicapped, not unlike my parents. I'm grateful that somehow, perhaps through a combination of good fortune and hard knocks from the school of learning how to survive on our own, for the most part, we turned out to be adults who aren't handicapped by overly fragile egos and all of the disadvantages that come with.

This is not to say that I don't have moments when my pride makes me behave in a way that I regret. Twinges of envy, defeat, anger, and humiliation regularly run through my heart, and with each twinge, my ego feels the urge to embrace itself. These are moments when, in trying to save face, I am most capable of hurting myself and those around me, sometimes with thoughts that have no ill intention, and sometimes with insults disguised as compliments. The goal in these moments is to slow my thoughts down and to behave in a way that leaves me feeling at peace the next day.

To bring this to a close for now, here are two strategies that I find helpful to detaching from ego and striving to be a clear-thinking, productive, responsible, and compassionate person in all of my capacities:

  1. Whenever I feel tempted to defend myself, boast, or attack out of hurt, I try to stop my runaway train of thoughts, widen the space between stimulus and response, and choose behaviour that nourishes the other party.

  2. I strive to make good use of my time and talents and take good care of my health every day because these actions build and maintain real self esteem.

How about you? If you use any specific strategies to walk in peace, relatively free of the desire to feed your ego by gossiping, criticizing, defending yourself, comparing, and boasting, please consider sharing your thoughts in our comments section below.

Related Post:

The Space Between Stimulus and Response


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I am so massively grateful for the support you offer - Thank you!

Yes, widening the space between stimulus and response....that will stick with know you are human as well Dr Kim and are not afraid of showing vulnerability is truly a blessing to all who read your newsletters!

Thanks so much, David and C. I am grateful you connected with some of these thoughts.

Dr. Kim -
Many times I have considered myself so blessed to have stumbled across your newsletters. Thank you!

Today's article was very easily understood as our environment, specific culture, etc. add conditioning that the mind absorbs and accepts as natural. Thus, we are 'brainwashed' to accept that upbringing as our only way to live. Maturity may bring questioning, but usually the conditioning wins out.

You may be interested in checking out the website for MasterPath, which is definitely NOT part of organized religion or metaphysical thought...just a way of life that proves to us we are NOT what we've been conditioned to believe but are a beautiful and perfect soul...each and every one of us!

I came across a prayer today on the net that depicts quite a bit of what you are saying in your article, and I'll close with a copy of it below.

Your article is rated at a 5 star! Thanks for being the beautiful soul that you are!

Best Prayer I Have Heard In A Long Time...

Heavenly Father, Help us remember that the jerk who cut us off in traffic last night is a single mother who worked nine hours that day and is rushing home to cook dinner, help with homework, do the laundry and spend a few precious moments with her children.

Help us to remember that the pierced, tattooed, disinterested young man who can't make change correctly is a worried 19-year-old college student, balancing his apprehension over final exams with his fear of not getting his student loans for next semester.

Remind us, Lord, that the scary looking bum, begging for money in the same spot every day (who really ought to get a job!) is a slave to addictions that we can only imagine in our worst nightmares.

Help us to remember that the old couple walking annoyingly slow through the store aisles and blocking our shopping progress are savoring this moment, knowing that, based on the biopsy report she got back last week, this will be the last year that they go shopping together.

Heavenly Father, remind us each day that, of all the gifts you give us, the greatest gift is love. It is not enough to share that love with those we hold dear. Open our hearts not to just those who are close to us, but to all humanity. Let us be slow to judge and quick to forgive, show patience, empathy and love. Matt 5:44

Working for God on earth doesn't pay much.. . ...but His retirement plan is out of this world.

Dr. Kim
I have just recently started receiving your newsletters and have enjoyed everyone of them. However, this is by far the most poignant and pertinent one so far. This comes at a time in my life when I need to reach out to my loved ones who are suffering with me in the loss of our mother a few days ago. In times of high stress and emotional upheaval it is easy to become over protective of our egos. This truly has helped me refocus on the task at hand, taking care of my mother's affairs. Thank you and God Bless you.

What a wonderful prayer,Penny. If we all said this at least once a day and acted upon it life would be more beautiful for us all.

Dr Kim:

I am like Ruth, I stumbled upon your newsletters, although I don't really believe in accidents so perhaps I should say "I walked right to your newsletters through".

Anyway, I wanted to thank Ruth for posting that prayer and that I copied it to a file so that I can start reading it every day. I think perhaps it will help when I become so short tempered, which seems to be pretty often these days because of the rudeness that is readily experienced. If one detaches from their ego and stops thinking of it as a personal assault, it does allow you to imagine the trials and tribulations that that other person is perhaps experiencing, and thus the reason for his/her rudeness that really has little to do with me and more to do with that person not being aware of his/her actions. If you start looking at life in this manner, the anger dies more and more.

I also wanted to thank you Dr Kim for your newsletter as they often say to me exactly what it is I need to hear! It is sometimes very uncanny!

So, thank you both!


Oh Ruth!!!
This prayer is PRICELESS....thank you so much for taking the time to share :D
I'm going to send it to everyone I can xo

I truly appreciate your #1 strategy as I find a "runaway train" as a very good description of what happens if I am under attack especially by someone I am very close to. I will try to use this as a visual to help me to STOP it!

What I do though when I am able ;-} is to breathe and listen. Let them get it all out, every last word, even let them pause to reload if necessary and amazingly this helps me to stay calm and not be reactive and to look at the whole thing as them venting
and during this time of me breathing and them venting I am able to think and realize that it is not so much about me - its about them, and so then I don't have to be so defensive.

Another thing I am doing at this time is silently praying for the Lord to help me to respond to them in a way that will bless us both.

As for boasting or being around people that boast, I find it easy to let people boast and I believe I am a good listener because I figure they are needing something, some encouragement or admiration or something.

I'm sure I boast also, mostly when I am excited about something I am happy with, be it myself or something I've created but what my biggest problem is - is putting myself down. I do it a lot and I think it is my way of lifting others up but I think it backfires when I realize the others are then trying to encourage me and so then I stop. ;-]

Increasing the space between stimulus and response is one of the most productive ideas I've heard in a very long time. I agree with you completely that divorcing our egos will make us more peaceful and the world a much happier place. Thank you for this wonderfully inspirational post. Thanks, too, for your proteolytic enzymes and super greens - both are helping me improve my health!

I love this article! I feel that society as a whole needs more of this viewpoint. I have always been striving to better my self, at least lifetime, and I am learning everyday how to create more happiness from me to me. Though I am far from the goal of my idea of true spirituality and inner peace, I try to incorporate the following.

1. Aspire to be benevolent
2. MIND your own business. (This does not mean withholding help if needed)
3. Strive to be joyous in winning as well as losing.
4. Remember how precious this life truly is, and how fortunate we are to have this opportunity to grow as spiritual beings.
6. Enjoy every moment!
7. Remember, thoughts are things and what you consider is senior the the physical universe!!!

My husband's family all have to constantly boast about their accomplishments! It's really funny to me, because I let it rain down on me, but feel no need at all to chime in. I feel that strength and peace you're talking about.

There is somewhat of a disadvantage to this though, because when someone is truly interested in what I do, I have a hard time explaining it, because I don't have any practice talking about myself :)

I found this to be an excellent true article. I am a Christian and have struggled to be like Jesus, but realize that I can never in myself be like Him and so I finally faced the fact that I must quit looking at myself, either my so-called good points or my badness where I fail, but to forget about those things and focus instead simply on Jesus and His will and purposes in this world, forgetting myself completely and seeing what is really important, that others desparately need help and encouragement and peace (which I have found only Jesus can give me)

Thanks for this article Dr Kim.


Like Diana, I am a Christian, and found the principles you expressed in this article to be a reflection of God's truths in scripture. Our biggest obstacle to the peace that is found in Jesus is our ego (self.)

John 3:30 "He must increase, but I must decrease."

Thanks, Dr. Kim.


I think one of the biggest obstacles preventing real peace on the planet is the divisive effect that religion has on the worlds inhabitants.

So many religions and the believers of each one try to find it in their hearts to forgive their brother for being led astray by a religion other then their own. Religious belief is really driven by fear not love. Religious people would disagree but in their heart they worry about the consequences if their faith should falter.

In the Beatle's song Imagine they paint a world without religion, no Heaven above or Hell below us. I see religion and the Ego as obstacles to peace on Earth.

If everyone minds their own business instead of pretending to have answers for all, it will be fine.stop interpreting, just tell the naked truth or tell nothing and it will be fine.
I fullheartedly agree with Luke.His summation is sublime.I like it.

Completely agree, Jeanine. Dr Kim's comments are in agreement with what the Bible teaches about learning not to put "self" first.

Your article about ego is one of the most beautiful and simply put I have ever read. A while ago I was trying to explain to a friend the difference of having a huge ego and self-steem. I couldn't be as eloquent though. I explained to her what I believe as selfsteem the state of mind that can be verbalized as "I am." No judgment no description no justification. Accepting yourself as you are and still moving. Looking to others with no analysis. Self steem is a fruit of self discovery. Once the ego is gone almost all the misery is gone.


I agree

Move to another country! I found the quickest way to cut down a huge ego is to not be able to do the simplest things on your own. I needed someone to help me do everything: talk, buy things, find work, everything! It was an extremely humbling and a very LONG lesson that I didn't see any value in until years later. I spent the first few months complaining and whining about how much better things were in my home country. But I soon realized that the people listening to me didn't really care nor did they fully understand everything I was saying. They just couldn't relate at all and often told me honestly that I was too independent and self-focused. I didn't allow their words to really sink in until much later.

I was putting all the blame for everything I didn't like on other people and my environment. And it was only making me more miserable. I had to stop focusing on the negative and I actually had to change! Can you imagine? Change my perfect self. I had to "give up" always being right and using every opportunity to make myself look better to others. Not an easy thing to do. And I'm still working on it. Like Dr. Ben said making good use of your time and health are important. But so are finding the true meaning of life, living your own exciting and drama-filled life (and not wasting your time addicted to the drama of celebrities, meaningless sports events or movies) to the fullest and being okay with maybe not accomplishing what society says is the "perfect life" (good paying job, spouse/kids, nice house, etc). Dare to focus more on others than yourself and dare to live a simple, but fulfilling life.

Hello Dr.Ben Kim,

Thank you for your intent.

In my experience..........senses observe the symptoms.

So, how about addressing the problems way before we notice them.

That's done by focusing on the Origin/Creator of all that is, the absolute intellignce that knows all: God, please forgive me. Thank you.

And, senses are to observe, and not for anything else.


When God is your reason for loving, your ability to love is guaranteed. (this came from the book The Love Dare and I thought it was very helpful)

This was a lovely article; pertinent, softly written.

I am currently reading Eckhart Tolle's "A New Earth". An intelligently-written book, it is rocking my world with its truths about detaching from our egos and accompanying negativity (mind chatter). It speaks to me. We all need to find that which does.

I am an attractive, very healthy female 60-yr.-old cynic, have lived more life than most, and have suffered a lot of pain inbetween the joys. I am getting tired. I am considering a move, however, because, sometimes to let go of who you are enables you to move on to who else you can be. Perhaps another fresh beginning will re-energize me. We spend a lot of life as strangers to ourselves.

Have you watched "The Dog Whisperer"? An amazing man. Notice that he touches the dog sharply with his fingertips when aggressive behavior begins. One technique I use, when my thoughts turn poisonous (in that pre-sleeptime when one is vulnerable), I think of my favorite sound, that of water running over rocks, and it stops the negative tapes from beginning to roll. It seems simple, I did not read it anywhere, but I had to stop the chatter in my head somehow. It works for me every time. Perhaps someone will read this and it will work for them. Keep believing in the good. We all deserve it.

Dr. Kim, I have read many newsletters in my lifetime; yours is the best, user-friendly, and most down-to-earth. Keep up the sanity. Best regards, Jericho

Hi Dr Ben Kim,

Thank you for your article, I found it to be interesting and really relevant to many situations we encounter in life. I was wondering how you consider you apply the first of your recommendations in situations where you feel the other party is being abusive, manipulative or undermining on a long term basis.

I have been in a relationship where my partner has been slowly overtime manifesting these sorts of negative behaviours. As I became aware of this, I was also aware that I must be allowing him to behave like this, and so instead of giving him the space to express himself, as I had done before, I was looking for ways to draw that very line to protect myself, defend myself, to stop him walking all over my ego and self esteem with his words. Perhaps I am protecting my ego, but if I had not set limits to protect it, he risks undermining me even more. I risk making the relationship worse, but already the way he behaves is very damaging and I feel in such a situation a need to establish what is not ok.

I am still involved in this relationship, although I have taken a step back from it and I would be interested to read your insights into how to move away from ego in a situation where your environment is attacking your self-esteem and sense of worth.

and of course everyone.. be careful also of some (but not all) guru types who use the terms 'surrender your ego'. Speaking from some personal experience my family had while we were in a vulnerable place. If any mystic types offer some help/therapy always remember to listen to your own heart and gut when dealing with such people, particularly ones that mix psychotherapy and spirituality. Offered help may not be always what it appears to be!

love your website Dr.Kim

Cannot tell you my immense gratitude for the wisdom words I so longing to hear! It has brought me a level to reconnect with my soul and investigate my true self... I keep on forgetting how refreshing it is from time to time to come to your website to find jewels time after time! Dr. My hat off to you, your work doesn't go in vain and once again THANK YOU for all you do... Blessings always

I've been meditating for a while but as Pema Chodron tells us, this is a life-long, never-finished practice. Also, I heard Joseph Campbell say once that he thought that it was more natural for Asians to achieve this ego-detachment than for Westerners, who apparently are programmed to be more individuated. Who knows.

Your message is timely and very appreciated. I am so glad I signed up for your newsletter. It has been very helpful in all aspects of my life.

This is a great article. I went to AA many years ago, and went for about 10 years. Stopped going when I relocated to another state, but kept up my contacts from my "home base" friends. One of the most important principles learned in AA was to learn to watch for ego and keep it in check. The ego can be a dangerous trouble maker. It was good to be reminded of this. Thank you!

As always, your message is so thoughtful and beautifully said. Thank you.

Thank you for your thoughts on ego. It took me many years to come to grips with what "my" problem was - it was ME! LOL! The ego is like a charging tiger inside, always ready to jump and that is what keeps humans agitated all the time. I am so happy to have tamed my 'beast', I am more at peace with my self and the world. I used no special techniques to quell my ego, just 'watching' myself, stepping back, breathing deeply before I speak or act, much of what you state you do. It takes much discipline but is doable. I just read today an article on how the self esteem for children movement needs to be replaced with a discipline movement as the self esteem way is leading to young adults who have no control of themselves in that they are failing at the game of life at a high rate. Is no doubt since many parents put their children on a pedestal and never let them 'lose' at anything, never let them want for anything etc. But I digress, thank you for another wonderful article. Ani

Thank you so much. Your article came at the perfect time for me (I always seem to be in a constant struggle with the ego!). I'll revisit your words regularly and I hope it will bring me - and those around me - peace. Thanks again for raising my consciousness!

Why would anyone want to be detached from his/her ego? Ego just means your sense of being a physical being in our earthly, God-given home, not some spirit in the afterlife.

Your essay makes it sound as if feeding the ego is inherently a negative, harmful thing to do. I agree, we shouldn't feed it by criticism, gossip, etc. But that doesn't mean that there aren't situations that feed our ego in a good way. If a person, perhaps having few natural talents or skills to speak of, decides to "make something of himself" through sheer hard work, I say that would rightly feed his ego.

Your comment "hate to spoil the party" speaks volumes about who you are and how you think... I find it helpful when trying to reach others that sharing your thoughts (as opposed to imposing them) will garner a greater, more passionate following.

Thanks, Kevin, for the compliment.

I always love reading your posts. This particular one really hit home for me, and I a truly grateful to read it. It does take practice to live your life egoless, however being conscience of the ego is the first step in living beyond it. The ones in the household really are most affected by your ego. That's the best place to start for me. I feel I am getting better everyday, and everyday I am learning myself more. It is a wonderful, liberating feeling!

Thank you, thank you so much for this post!

First I want to thank you Dr.Kim for contributing to the betterment of the planet. I used to be a huge tennis fan and competitor also so I can relate, but in recent months have stopped tennis due to acid reflux/gerd because of the discomfort. I miss my tennis friends but not the pettiness and ego blindness of those who would result to any means because of their need to win at any cost.

I have a new interest now and love it even more which I never thought possible. Playing and singing the music of my roots (country, bluegrass and gospel) It gives me even more of a natural high than tennis without the ensuing aches and pains! And I've made many truly fine new friends.

Anyway...back to the subject... it really is a constant struggle to rise above negativity and the desire to defend ourselves when hurt or unreasonably attacked. The Word of God is always a strength to me. I attempt to ponder, meditate, pray and think about good, pure,and honorable things. It is important to SEEK WISDOM in all things. I am learning that wisdom always chooses to do and be that which it can be proud of later.

We love you, Dr. Kim, and we'll always be exceedingly grateful for your wisdom and the great, precious light and beauty of your soul. Thank you for all you do to help others. Our only regret is that you're in Canada and we're not. Regardless, we still have the wonderful benefit of your website and newsletters, and for that we're very thankful.

We are right on the same page with you re: the ego and the importance of detaching from it and all harmful attachments. Knowing these things intellectually is one thing, implementing them is another, as we all know all too well, like giving advice is easier than taking it. But from our experience, whenever our egos allow us to remember, it's so true: the more consistently we remember God, or the divine, and others, and the less egotistically attached we are, the more consistently happier we are. It takes discipline, gentle reminding, and practice, but it can be achieved like anything else.

The following quotations, and there are so many, can be very helpful:

"unless the ego and its dysfunctions are crucified upon the cross of truth, love, and knowledge, we can never grow into our higher self as vehicle of soul and spirit."
--Robert Wilkinson

"Remembrance of God is forgetfulness of ego."

Thank you and all the best to you and your precious, beautiful family, and everyone,
Joan and Ed

One way I feel more at peace is reading books about it. Two books that I've enjoyed are

1)Buddha's Brain: The Practical Neuroscience of Happiness, Love, and Wisdom
2) What the Buddha Taught

The first focuses on how modern neuroscience/psychology findings correlates beautifully with the original teachings of Buddhism. The latter is an introduction to Buddhism, for Westerner who want to see exactly what the Buddha taught amidst all the confusion regarding it.

Your views and observations in the article brought out the goosebumps as I realised that this is exactly how I try to behave! And believe me, its difficult, especially in a city like Mumbai, India (Where I stay). Economic progress has led to hugely inflated and fragile egos, where the quest to strut your stuff takes precedence over everything else.
I stumbled over your website while surfing for some info, and am hanging on to it, relieved to know that there are still people like you left in the world... Thanks for everything Doc Kim...

Thank you Dr. Kim. I learned a lesson about the art of "complaining" or shall I say "giving negative feedback." There was a technical issue with a video clip on a website and I wrote to the TV station about it. An employee responded. A year later, I found out that this person died of cancer. Apparently, he was fighting with a life-threatening disease and still went to work. Since then, I realize that we have to be forgiving and careful with the choice of words when we give negative feedback.

Thanks for sharing so eloquently on this topic. I too, had parents who never apologized for anything, but also a mother who always made you feel like you were that "Bad" guy when she was wrong. I am grateful to have experience coming to know the Lord whereby I not only have eternal life by His mercy and grace, but am able to grow into a mature adult through His love, loving relationships He has put upon my path, and by the power of His Spirit, that makes me able to walk in His ability to face the challenges of life.

Again, thank you very much for a well written piece on "Detaching from Ego"

The most important thing for how we act and react is always that we think about the consequences, before we act affect based.
If we are treating somebody badly or are reacting in a negative way because somebody is treating us badly, we or that person may not be aware what the consequences are, because we may feel overwhelmed by feelings.
But negative (re-)actions have negative impacts, and who in its right mind would want that, respectively likes to be responsible for bad deeds and likes to deal with negative backlashes?
Thus it is crucial to recollect oneself, to keep a level head and to deal with such situations prudently and with positive repercussions in mind.

After all, we enjoy being happy, and are capable to empathise with somebody else's happiness too.
Why would you not rather take pleasure in somebody else's fortune, than to feel miserable of envy?

Criticism and self-defence can also both be positive as well as necessary (because of the issues indicated above).

Hi Vital,
Well put. I try to teach my daughter the concept of "stop, drop, and roll:. As in when there is a fire, don't panic and react in a crazy way. I really wish this were possible at all times. practice,practice..
how hard it is to control our emotions and reactions when we are being hurt, especially if it brings up old wounds unconsciously which can only be determined at a later time. Even if we freak out though, God can bring good from it. unfortunately though a negative reaction can sometimes cause irreversible harm in a relationship. but then, was the relationship worth it? or is it another lesson in learning to breath, think, stop, drop and roll before reacting. oh the pain.

Dear Dr. Ben Kim, Thank-you for your heartfelt words. I am reminded of Deepak Chopras words "it is impossible to experience ego (edging God out) and gratitude at the same time". If you are heart centered (move your energy to your heart and think of everything in your life you are grateful for)you will be removed from your ego. Marshall Rosenberg's words also ring true when he states "you can't say empathy". Words don't express empathy it can only be "felt" with the person you are communicating with. Thank-you again for all that you give. Blessings, Lee.

I'm very grateful for this post. This is something I think about every day--and every day, the events of my life give me practice in creating more space between what happens and how (or even if) I react. Having spent much of my life experiencing hair-trigger responses to all kinds of stimuli, it's a blessed relief to refrain. When I do.

Dr. Kim,
Thank you for your wonderful newsletters. This article is one of the best I have come across it delivers the message without preaching, and this makes it so much better.

Thank you so much for this truly insightful article. It was by chance that I stumbled onto this article while I was dealing with some issues regarding my ego and all the ails it brings. With all the dynamics of social networking and having everybody's life so open and put out there on a daily basis, it isn't easy not to compare my own life with those around me. I think true success is basically making the best out of my own circumstances with a humble and compassionate nature. Thank you once again!

Dr. Kim I am sooo glad that I found you, it seems whenever I am in a time of trouble things that are helpful find there way to me or viceversa...anyway I will be a reader of yours from now on...everything I have read so far has been helpful. you are a loving kind wise soul and we need more people like you on this planet...I am happy to say there are many out there who are practicing love and kindness and who are filled with wisdom...Jesus says ask for wisdom everyday...I found that interesting because I thought as you grew older then you would get some wisdom ...but when I read His comment that we are to ASK for wisdom, I was surprised...he says it is more precious than gold and a gift God would never refuse to give us and we are to ask everyday for I have been praying that way and it does come during the day especially when I need it! Thank you, you are a true blessing...I am sending my friends your articles too!

Hello Ben
What an insightful post. You strike me as a well balanced person who has managed to get to grips with EGO, which stands for (Everyone's God Ocean). We all dive in and swim for dear life, we should all be born with a buoyancy device to get us to dry land instead of that Jet Ski, surf board or yacht to zoom around on.

Even without knowing you I believe I would be happy to call you a friend. Your honesty and integrity shine through.

Brilliant Post - please point me in the direction of the Ego Release Booth.

Ego Centric

Thank you for writing this, Dr. Kim. Your articles are always worth reading.

First, thank you so much for all your intelligent, thoughtful, and meaningful posts. You have very lucky children!

Second, I'd like to share a document called "15 Styles of Distorted Thinking". This was given to a friend in therapy, and has helped him tremendously. He reviews it at least once a day, and doing so has helped him reprogram his responses and behaviors. The result has been nothing short of remarkable! This list exists in various forms online, but this version seems the most concise and understandable. Everyone I've shared this with can relate to at least one list item; my friend related to all of them. I hope this can be helpful for others, and try to share it whenever appropriate:

I loved your article about mirrors! I often ponder the human condition, and how it's been affected (perhaps afflicted) by various cultural adoptions. This is one I hadn't considered.

Thank you for all you do, and for so many.

Thanks so much for your thoughtful contribution, Rebecca. I am grateful. :)


Amazing article. Personally I need to stop reacting & start appreciating myself as I am. Thanks for the tips :)