One of the things that I've done a lot of since having this cold is reading. Yesterday, I got half way through A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle. From reading this, I can see just how much my ego has been in charge of my reactions to relationships, people, work, etc. Here are some passages that I found particularly profound:
"Give up defining yourself--to yourself or to others. You won't die. You will come to life. And don't be concerned with how others define you. When they define you, they are limiting themselves, so it's their problem. "
This means that I don't have to pretend to be someone I'm not. I can be me without a role.
"Negative states such as anger, anxiety, hatred, resentment, discontent, envy, jealousy, and so on, are not recognized as negative but as totally justified and are further misperceived not as self-created but as caused by someone else or some external factor. "
This is the root of unhappiness. Awareness of negativity and the ego's pleasure in it are a start towards shrinking the ego and the unhappiness that it thrives on.
"The moment you become aware of a negative state within yourself, it does not mean you have failed. It means that you have succeeded. " This isn't denial but awareness of thoughts, reactions and emotions that once defined me.
"People unknowingly sabotage their own work when they withhold help or information from others or ty to undermine them lest they become more successful or get more credit than "me"......The ego doesn't know that the more you include others, the more smoothly things flow and the more easily things come to you."
This is common in a work environment where knowledge is power. With the ego in charge, my chances of success diminish because I have cut off people who could help out. I have alienated myself.
"Nothing ever happened in the past that can prevent you from being present now; and if the past cannot prevent you from being present now, what power does it have?"
This is the essence of what I've learned in Al-Anon. Let go of the past, live this one day, and don't worry about the future because we don't know what it holds.