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The Keys: Open the Door to Empowerment and Infinite Possibilities

by Denise Marek & Sharon Quirt

The following excerpt is taken from the bookThe KEYS: Open the Door to True Empowerment and Infinite Possibilities by Denise Marek and Sharon Quirt. It is published by Hay House (July 15, 2009) and is available at all bookstores or online at: www.hayhouse.com.

Chapter One

The Key of Awareness


I’m aware that ego is a perception of the mind created by what I’ve seen, heard, and experienced in the past. I’m free to believe my own thoughts and release ego’s control.

A hummingbird flew into a garage through a door that had accidentally been left open. In trying toescape, the bird went to the window and was banging itself against the glass. Even when all of the remaining doors were opened and freedom was just a few yards away, the bird kept beating its wings and bumping its little body against the invisible barrier. If you were to watch the bird unsuccessfully trying to get out through the closed window, you might be baffled by its foolishness. How could it continue to throw itself against the window and not realize that what it was doing wasn’t going to work? It would seem ridiculous. Yet isn’t it true that many people find themselves in similar predicaments? When feeling stuck in an unsatisfactory life situation, rather than stepping back for a moment and looking around for an open door, a new opportunity, or a way to make things better, they continue to throw themselves into the same barriers, repeating negative patterns.

The reason they do so is that they believe the things they think, such as: I’ve got no choice. This is just the way it is, and there isn’t anything I can do about it. Besides, if there were an open door, I couldn’t walk through it. I don’t have enough time or money. I’m not strong enough, smart enough, courageous enough, deserving enough, successful enough, or good-looking enough to do it. Even if I were—and if I did—what would other people think? These kinds of beliefs create a lot of fear and keep many of us trapped in dark places, trying to escape through the same closed window.

Where do these self-defeating thoughts come from? They’re generated by the ego. Some individuals associate the word ego with being egotistical or vain. As a result, they believe they don’t have an ego.

However, everyone does—all of us.

Simply put, it’s that inner dialogue telling you what you think about yourself, about others, and about the world. The ego is made up of perceptions and beliefs formed in your past by other people’s rules, religions, and beliefs. It’s been part of you since childhood and has continued to be shaped up to this very moment. From the day you were born, your mind has been absorbing everything you’ve seen, heard, and experienced—all courtesy of other people’s egos—and that’s how your own was developed.

The reason you think about and perceive things in the way you do is because you were programmed to do so based on your experiences and the feedback you’ve received from others—your parents, your teachers, the media, the church, your neighbors, and everyone else you’ve ever encountered. For example, imagine that, as a child, your parents regularly told you that you were very stupid and incompetent. As an adult, what do you suppose you’ll believe to be true about yourself? You’ll likely view yourself as being stupid and incompetent. You could be extremely bright, yet your ego would keep you fearful and insecure

about your intelligence, based on what your parents taught you to believe about yourself in the past. As another illustration, if you grew up in a household where individuals were judged by how they looked or how much they weighed, the chances are pretty good that today you’ll judge yourself, as well as others, based on physical appearance. This may cause you to doubt your self-worth. Your internal dialogue will likely try to convince you to believe things about yourself such as: That’s right; you’re fat. You’re ugly. You’re not good enough. When you buy into these kinds of thoughts, you’re opting to let ego control you.

When that negative side of ego has control over your life, no good comes of it. It creates fear, doubt, guilt, regret, blame, jealousy, and anger. It keeps you imprisoned in past pain and blocked from your innate potential. It may cause you to be hateful and hurtful toward yourself and others. It can hinder you from achieving what you truly desire out of life and from becoming who you truly want to be. You may be scared by thoughts of being less than perfect and also doubt your abilities. You can be preoccupied, worrying about what everyone else thinks, and it can convince you to sabotage and abuse yourself—and others—physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. This is a side of ego that no longer needs to exist within you. It’s not serving you.

You can release yourself from a negative ego and develop a positive one that’s loving and kind toward yourself and others; that allows you to see yourself as capable of achieving all that you desire; and that encourages, inspires, and builds you up with positive self-talk. A positive ego will enable you to live based on your authentic self—and to become who you were born to become. It will create peace, simplicity, and honesty. It will assist you in creating a life of infinite possibilities. That’s the ego you want to develop.

It’s important to understand that there’s a huge difference between creating a positive ego and denying reality with positive thinking. For instance, imagine an optimistic woman who thinks that everyone just adores her, and nobody ever says anything negative to her, about her, or about her life. Yet in reality, she’s just not aware of what’s really going on around her. She’s so absorbed in herself that she can’t see anything else. She can’t observe that those around her are aware that she’s faking herself out, and they aren’t telling her what they see because they don’t want to burst her silly bubble. They’re afraid she’s too fragile and naïve—she’s in denial.

Developing a positive ego isn’t about living in denial, being naïve, or pretending everything is perfect. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. It’s about being aware of the truth, of what’s working for you in your life, and what isn’t. This also means realizing that you’re capable of changing those aspects of yourself and your life that you feel the desire to change. That’s not foolish or naïve at all—it’s real, it’s strong, and it’s empowering.

Perhaps the notion of releasing a negative ego and shaping a positive one frightens you because you believe that the negative serves you—that it makes you powerful, strong, efficient, successful, and so on. Perhaps you think it drives you to achieve maximum personal and professional success. Those perceptions, however, are far from the truth.

The successes you’ve had in the past aren’t the product of a negative ego; they’re the result of the fighter inside of you. They’re the outcome of your spirit’s desires, your true authentic self, the identity that was born to you—the one that knows the purpose you’re here to serve in order for you to be happy and fulfilled.

To illustrate the difference between negative ego and your spirit, consider the following scenario: You have a family to support and feel driven to stretch and reach your full professional potential in order to do so. That urge to succeed comes from your spirit—your true self. It’s pushing you to achieve what it is that you truly want, which in this case is to take care of your family. Here’s where negative ego appears. After recognizing your desire to thrive in your career, your ego chimes in: What if I fail? What if I don’t succeed? What if I can’t take care of my family? Those thoughts create fear, which is the engine that powers the ego. It gets ego started. The “what-if” scenarios that result defeat your ability to succeed. They cause you to doubt your capabilities. If you’re fortunate enough to make it in spite of the fear, it’s because your spirit is stronger than your ego. Sadly, for many people, that’s just not the case. What often ends up happening is the fears become reality. You’re much better off to release a negative ego.

Using the key of awareness will assist you in making this release. It will help you regain control over your thinking, let go of your negative ego, and reprogram your mind. In the rest of this chapter, you’ll discover where ego (and when we use the term ego from this point forward we’re referring to the negative aspect of it) has been manipulating you in your life—physically, emotionally, spiritually, and mentally. You’ll pinpoint the perceptions that have been blocking you from becoming who you were truly born to be. You’ll become aware of the beliefs and opinions that no longer serve you in a positive way and learn how to let go of them. You’ll free yourself from ego’s control so you can be the true, authentic you.

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