Recently Read: You Are Not What You Think

2016 January 24
by Tanya McGinnity


You Are Not What You Think: The Egoless Path to Self-Esteem and Generous Love is the exact book that I needed to cross my path in this particular stage in my life. I’m going through a great deal of “self work” and unraveling some habits and thought processes to fully see how I operate in the world. This book provides a reality check for the ego. A flashlight that can be used to shed light on some of the dark areas where we scurry and hide. I spent a lot of time reading this book, nodding my head with a knowing “Yes. I do that” and highlighting spots to revisit and sit with at a later date.

Again. I am going to say that here’s a book that changed my life. For this, I apologize. I don’t know if I’m “operating at a higher frequency” or “open to the messages that the world is sending” or any other kind of woo woo hypothesis that may be applied to this current situation. Regardless, it’s a good thing.

David Richo is a writer, psychotherapist, teacher and workshop leader. He blends his multi-faith background with psychology training and what results in this book is an offering that is a sampler plate of many different ways to view the ego – in both its healthy and unhealthy forms.

You Are Not What You Think is a deep-dive into the ego. What it looks like, where it comes from and an examination of various views and perspectives on it – from Freud, Jung and the Buddha to name but a few. There are several helpful practices within its pages designed to help discover where it lies and how to work with it. Themes such as what a healthy and unhealthy ego looks like as well as how it presents itself in our relationships with others are also touched upon. Richo presents a world in which one moves about in the world with a healthy ego – free from self-centeredness.

The book isn’t a call to arms to murder one’s ego, but rather speaks to how it needs to be “held and tamed respectfully.” Reading it made me a better person. Really. I started to see a bit of a shitty dark side in how I relate with others which could be put right back onto a fear response that I was experiencing in my day to day life. I find it’s easier to see the egos of others at play- so having a means to see another side was pretty eye opening for me. This book flipped a switch on my usual ego-centered perspective and helped me to expand my view a bit further. I’m better able to see how ego bloating has kept me from living- and loving fully.

You Are Not What You Think presents both a spiritual and psychological way of examining the ego and how to be free from self-centeredness. It touches on themes such as fear, kindness, compassion, awareness, self-compassion and mindfulness. The book features many practices to try in order to befriend one’s ego and let go of the past programming. It’s clear and easy to read and fully relatable. If you’re a fan of Brené Brown (as am I), then this book will be right up your alley given it touches upon fear, shame and vulnerability.

I can’t recommend You Are Not What You Think enough. I’ve already seen great changes in my life after reading it. And that’s not my ego talking!


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