I dated a guy that taught me some HUGE lessons about ego and how it’s the universe’s worst enemy. Ms. Iyanla says ego is “edging God out”. I don’t know about all that, but I will tell you that the instant the ego shows up in your dating life, the universe retaliates in full force.
Some of the details included have been edited for the privacy of my partner, but the story and its lesson remain.
I dated a guy whose finances were not as sorted as he showed me. He worked retail so buying new clothes was a mainstay for him. Car kept clean, cute shoes on his feet, the works. I thought, as we dated, that his finances were in order so he could afford his lifestyle–and not just pay for his lifestyle.
Then one day, the shit hit the fan and he confided in me that what I thought was “under control” was really out of control. His money was funnier than he’d liked and he was too embarrassed to tell me. In the wake of the dishonesty of his lifestyle, I said some hurtful things.
“If I had known this, I wouldn’t have moved in this apartment with you,” I said. He was hurt, but he didn’t let on how hurt he was. It wasn’t until weeks later that I realized the pain that I caused him and how big my ego had puffed up to cover my own financial disarray.
The coming weeks, we worked together to get a handle on what now were our household finances. I set out a personal and couple goal that for the next 6-months we were going to clean up our credit. At the time, I meant that as “WE are going to clean up YOUR credit” because the me that I was showing was one that had its finances in order.
Then I got a collection notice from an old cable bill.
Then I got an outstanding medical bill.
Then I got a final notice for an old bank account.
And the financial bad news kept coming. Where weeks ago, I was showing myself as the one who had it together in the face of my partner’s financial disarray, the universe showed me, in short order, that I need to “sweep in front of my own front door” as the old people would say.
The ego is a mysterious part of the self that puffs up to protect soft spots. Sometimes we know about the soft spots like our heart and our feelings. Other times, it puffs up to protect blind spots like mine did with my finances. But just as the ego swells to defend the self, the universe sends a lesson to put the ego back in its place.
When building a long-lasting relationship, our whole job is stay present to the lessons happening around us. Sometimes, it’s our partner who is teaching us something specific. Other times it could be the universe (or God, if you call it that) that will teach us a broader lesson. But catching the lesson is only half the battle–perhaps the easier half. The hard half is applying that lesson to your every day life.
Maya Angelou would say when you know better you do better. Aligning your ego, with your pride, and your self, will help you catch the lesson so you can know a little quicker and do even better.