The ego is not just your “sense of self”. By contrast, the thing an alpha is actually trying to expand is their sense of self, in a natural and powerful way, while reducing one’s (beta) insecurities about acceptance by a peer group (or their false self).
I used to be turned off by the idea of “eliminating the ego”. Sometimes I hear New Age writers or Buddhists speaking of “turning off the ego…joining the collective…recognizing your individuality is an illusion”.
This line of thought has greatly distanced itself from the original stuff Freud was talking about, and is even inaccurate in regard to the ego as a colloquialism about insecure behavior.
In reality, Freud unfortunately never truly defined the personality or essence of a person. This is the thing that shines through when you’re interacting in a free-spirited way. What you’ll discover is the more you chop down the false self-construct (the ego), the more your “pure” personality comes to the surface.
So rather than the ego eliminating one’s sense of self, the ego as it diminishes helps a person’s true sense of self rise up.
And it’s the true sense of self that can operate on a much higher plane of confidence. When you’re behaving in a way that’s totally removed from social insecurities, you actually seem like your personality and character are on FIRE.
And this is the thing to aim for.
How the Fake Sense of Self Manifests
From birth, we don’t really have an ego-construct. While a baby is mostly just the id in action—hunger and physical needs, and a lot of crying if those needs are not met, by around age 1 or 2 a toddler starts developing a unique personality, uninhibited by a social construct.
So, a 2 year-old has no reservation about talking to strangers or saying what’s on his or her mind. But, part of education and growing up is that toddlers are taught to use their logical mind to place hampers on their behaviors—typically for the sake of safety (“Never talk to strangers!”).
The ego-construct is then born.
Assuming a personality has some built in sense of morality or empathy (researchers discovered how babies have innate value systems, which seems to debunk yet more Freud stuff), then the construct-ego is not so much even a value system but trained social behaviors, that may even interfere with an innate sense of empathy.
As time passes, the construct-ego evolves and influences a child’s behavior more and more. The major turning point is when a person begins to believe that their inherent, natural happiness that they’re born with (childhood innocence) is not enough.
This occurs when a child or young adult begins to identify with advertising, peers, and social expectations. They’re told, “Sure, you’re OK right now. But, do you see these sunglasses? They will make you COOL, and accepted.”
And this is where the insecurities begin. The construct-ego manifests in a very overt way through fake behavior, when the person begins to outwardly act as the construct.
The construct personality is always going to be weaker than the core personality. It may involve a very obvious emulation of other people, or even the copying of fictional characters from movies or TV.
The construct-ego is the strongest during young adult years. Identity crises become very apparent around age 14. This is also when kids start to really emulate peers, often adopting unhealthy behaviors that are far removed from their real identities.
After you grow up the construct-ego, however, never entirely disappears.