The Human Ego is Fragile — Handle With Care

If you want to succeed with people, keep the ego in mind

Brian Tubbs


Photo by CURVD® on Unsplash

You’ve seen the boxes that come in the mail that are labeled “Fragile! Handle with care.” The human ego should be labeled the same.

Wait! The ego is bad, right?

Most of the time, the word “ego” is used to convey something negative and it admittedly has a negative bent. But…

The reality is we all have an ego.

David Lieberman is a bestselling author and sought-after expert on human behavior and relationships. He explains:

“Three forces within us are often at odds with one another: the soul, the ego, and the body. In short, the soul seeks to do what is right; the ego wants to be right and see itself in an optimal light; and the body just wants to escape from it all.”

(Lieberman, David J. Never Get Angry Again: The Foolproof Way to Stay Calm and in Control in Any Conversation or Situation. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2018).

According to this paradigm, there is the impulse to do what feels good (our body), the desire to do what makes us look good (the ego), and the more noble call to do what is good (the soul).

Even if you can’t fully embrace that paradigm, Lieberman’s main point is that the ego is concerned with how it sees itself — and how others see it.

The ego is focused on self-esteem and public image.

Les Giblin, a famous personal development guru from the last century, put it this way:

“Whatever name you want to give it: human dignity, personality, or uniqueness…deep within the heart of everyone there is something that is important and demands respect. Every human being is a special, individual personality, and the most powerful drive in any person is to defend this important something against all enemies.”

(Giblin, Les. The Art of Dealing With People. Leslie T. Giblin Books, 2001).

This sheds light on why insecure people, those who have been traumatized or abused, and those with low self-esteem often live painful lives and can (at times) be challenging to work with or relate with — in families, in organizations, in business…