The ego-self or individual identity plays a pivotal role in self-development or self-improvement.
What is the ego? Where does it come from, and how is it created?
When you were born, you did not have an ego-self, which is personal or individual identity. With the development of the five senses (sight, smell, hearing, touch, taste), you began to be aware of the things and people around you through your perceptions. This awareness of self becomes the substance of your identity or ego-self, which is essentially reflected awareness of the things and people around you. In other words, your ego-self is built upon a reflection of "what" others think of you, as well as "how" your perceive what others think of you. For example, people around you say you are smart; soon enough, you will begin to believe that you are smart. For example, you have repeatedly made some good money on the stock market; before long, you will begin to think that you are a successful investor. This is how you build up your ego-self. But your ego-self is a mere reflection of the awareness of your mind. Remember, all your mental perceptions are stored in your conscious and subconscious mind. In your conscious mind, you consciously decide what you want to remember and what you want to forget; your subconscious mind, on the other hand, absorbs everything that you are exposed to, and it is your subconscious mind that controls the conscious mind. In other words, your perceptions, voluntary or involuntary, become the materials with which you build your ego-self.
As you continue to grow older, you have more accumulated experiences, whether they are good or bad, and your perceptions, whether they are conscious or subconscious, continue to be stored in both your conscious and subconscious mind. Given that your subconscious mind not only dominates but also controls the conscious mind, over the years, your subconscious mind continues to give you a reflection of what others think of you--or the ego-self you have thus created for yourself.
Unfortunately, your ego-self is unreal because it is only a reflection of your perceived thoughts. So, how do you get rid of your ego-self, or, more specifically, how do you know your "real" self? Fortunately, the real can be learned only through the unreal.
Once the ego-self is there, you will consciously and subconsciously do "anything" (to cheat, to do injustice to others, or even to break the law in order to protect it. An example is the once-celebrated but now dishonored cyclist Lance Armstrong. To protect and enhance his ego-self, he resorted to taking performance-enhancing drugs. In addition, you will do more than necessary (what the ancient Chinese Tao wisdom calls "over-doing") to make sure you will accomplish your goal to sustain your ego. Furthermore, you will anticipate in your mind's eye that things will happen the way you want them to happen.to boost your ego. The presence of the false identity often becomes the source of human miseries, such as anxiety, fear, disappointment, and regret, among other negative emotions.
The danger of the false identity is that once it is formed, it continues to seek attention from others. Sometimes you need not seek it; people are too wiling to give it to you. The ego simply feeds itself on attention.
So, can you get rid of that your ego-self? No, it is almost impossible once it is formed.
However, the good news is that you can be the master of your own ego-self: you can separate the illusion from the reality because it is no more than a reflection of social phenomenon. Essentially, it means it is a reflection of the conditioned thinking of society. The words "smart" and "successful" have little or no meaning other than the definitions attributed to them by human society; it is all in the mind. A mind that has no problem of its own can see through itself, can separate the truth from the illusion or self-delusion. A mind that is composed and relaxed will let you see your "real" self as opposed to the false reflection of self.
You need not strive to suppress your ego-self. Live in the now, that is, in the present moment, such as in meditation, and watch it with acute awareness. When your body and mind are in perfect awareness, as in meditation, your ego-self will gradually disappear into thin air.