The other day my special someone and I were talking about our past relationships. He said that one relationship in particular was the best he'd ever had and that he probably will never have a relationship like that again. I immediately became defensive and started trying to find something wrong with this girl he once loved so much. I felt inferior and tried to make myself feel better by pointing out her flaws. That was my ego at work.
Whenever a person feels inferior (or superior) to another person he or she can be sure that his or her ego is at work. The ego strengthens itself by distinguishing itself from the "other." The ego has a need to be right and for the "other" to be wrong. That's where defensiveness comes in. When I tried to find something wrong with my special someone's ex my ego was trying to make itself right and his ex wrong.
To overcome identification with the ego all we have to do is be aware of when it is at work. The moment we do this we become more than our automatic thoughts and reactions; we become the one who is aware of these thoughts and reactions. We cannot stop the ego from engaging in its mindsets; we can only be aware when it happens.