It has been hard for me to let go of egotistical striving. I was reared, as I am sure many of us were, to equate “success” with ego games–to equate the “good life” with having achieved. Part of me has always believed that actually “dropping out” was the way to go, and at various points in my life I have done just that, but never for very long. I enjoyed these respites, but ultimately I rejoined the success trap and sought in my everyday life and profession (especially profession) to achieve success because I knew that this had gotten me kudos as a child. Getting good grades was always highly regarded, and as a first and only child, this type of commendation was taken to heart in a big way.
When I discovered A Course in Miracles, I began to realize, as I read, that the egotistical striving that I was doing to “deserve” love, and my belief that only if I were successful would I have God’s stamp of approval, were just myths. Yet a part of me still wanted to strive, because, I told myself, what if I would come to regret a slowdown in the future? In my own case, library administration was my bugaboo. This is where the money is in librarianship, my profession, but more importantly, this also signals “success” in the eyes of my colleagues in my chosen field. What if I did not pursue this, and later felt sorry? The fact that I had not sufficient intrinsic interest in the responsibility that this would entail, or in the antagonism that I would likely incur from my subordinates (whom I would be evaluating) did not dissuade me, at least for a long time.
This period of indecision lasted fully 15 years. Once in a workshop that was boring, I wrote out five or six pages of reasons (pro and con) that I was considering for my next direction. Later, I destroyed the pages in an attempt not to be sucked back into this quagmire.
As the years were passing, I dropped big hints to my supervisors that I did not want to be considered administrative material. I said “no” before I might be asked. The fact that I was not asked (until later on) seemed only a minor point; in my egotism, I felt that I would be if I expressed interest. And I did not want to be faced with something that I might have trouble declining. I see the wiliness of the ego even in my indecision.
Later on I was asked. And it was largely a disaster that lasted scarcely two months, ending with me in a frazzle, resigning because my temperament rebelled. So, all along, my real self had been trying to get through to say that this particular pathway was not for me. I am a slow learner; it took trying it out to realize that my doubts (conscious and subconscious) knew best all along.
Let the ego battles go. Our inner Self knows the way we ought to go.