Ego Vs Self-Respect

A father is teaching his son about life. He said, “A fight is going on inside me.”

”It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves. One is evil – he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.”

He continued, “And the other is good – he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, faith, and self-respect. The same fight is going on inside you –and inside every other person, too.”

The son thought about it for a while and then asked his father, “Which wolf will win?”

The father simply smiled and replied, “The one you feed more.”

We, humans, are in a constant struggle between negativity and positivity. This negativity and positivity can manifest itself in many forms of thoughts, beliefs and actions. Most of us don’t even realize that the struggle is on. However, we have the power to control who wins in this ongoing struggle.


Ego is the false feeling of supreme. It is the belief that we are at a higher position than others are. Ego obstructs the mind as it gives a lot of importance to self, while rejects other personalities and point of views.

It is a damaging attachment to self. Ego persists because we deeply attach to ourselves, to our ideas and our point of views. This attachment won’t tolerate any kind of criticism or censure. We are lead to believe that people who are finding pitfalls in the idea are there to give us an inferiority complex. We become resentful, we argue, we get angry and we try to intimidate to make our idea stand out. We are so obsessed with our idea that we can’t see it coming second. We try everything possible to make our idea win.


From the above argument, you can ask me, “What if my idea is truly the best?” Should I not fight for my idea then or would that also be ego? The answer is – now you know your idea is the best. The associated feeling is of confidence and self-assurance. While in ego, the associated feeling is of insecurity and fear.

Let me explain further. A five-year-old comes and says something negative to you. He challenges your thoughts and criticizes you. Would you still be offended and take it on your ego? I don’t think so because against a five-year-old you’re confident and self-assured. However, if a colleague does the same, how do you react? You argue or you criticize your colleague behind his back. What is the differentiator on both occasions? I think it is your self-confidence. You are confident against a five-year-old but become get unsecured against a colleague.

If we are self-assured and confident against a contrasting opinion, then we won’t react in an untowardly manner. Instead, we will listen to the different opinions, respect them and analyze our own stand.  When we have ego, we close ourselves in a shell where we are surrounded only by ourselves, our thoughts and our beliefs. Ego leads us to argument, anger and ultimately to pain. However, self-respect leads us to stability and peace.


Ego often needs the other for comparison while self-respect is confidence in oneself. For example, if X claims that he is good in History that is self-respect. However, if X claims he knows better than Y that is ego.

The less you are attached to your virtues, the more self-respect you have. If you are attached to your virtues, you look down upon everybody else, and the virtues start diminishing. Non- attachment to virtues brings the highest self-respect.

With the ego, it is the opposite. The problem with the ego is it can often disguise itself as your self-respect. The ego needs to be validated at all costs in order to survive.  The ego could even be liked by your inner child, by your inner thoughts and it is in constant need of attention and if it does not receive it, it lashes out.

Ego is your self-defence mechanism when others put you to a test. It simply means a lack of respect to the self.

“When you are content to be simply yourself and don’t compare or compete, everyone will respect you.” 

3 thoughts on “Ego Vs Self-Respect”

  1. A very incisive and perspicacious article ! The father’s reply that the wolf that is fed the more wins the fight was very pragmatic. It helped me understand that while self respect is confident yet humble and skeptical enough to question its own authenticity, ego is so self-righteous and dogmatic. Enjoyed reading it ! And hence, I’ll let go of the ego !!!

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