Frank Lloyd Wright was an American architect, who is known all over the world for his breakthroughs in the world of architecture, fueled by his organic and nature-based designs.
The sentence: “An honest ego in a healthy body”, is the first point in his manifesto, which was developed to guide the architect apprentices. When he wrote down his manifesto, he probably didn’t realize the impact it would have on the world, but decades down the line, people are still actively looking towards his manifesto for inspiration and how to live life.
Though there are nine other points to his manifesto, the first one is quite impactful and there is a lot to ponder about when reading it.
As already established, the manifesto acts as a guide so, Wright is basically telling his disciples to have an honest ego and a healthy body.
What is an honest ego?
To begin with, it is important to understand what our ego is exactly.
Currently, psychology and spiritual learning alike have come up with multiple definitions for the word, some condemning a person’s ego while others stress on the importance of developing a healthy ego.
To put it simply- a person’s ego is the idea they have of their own self.
Our ego is something which we aren’t born with, like our body or our mind. Instead, it is something which we have developed over time and is something which is subject to change.
A person’s ego is how we perceive ourselves and how we project our perceptions on to someone else. This can be better explained through an example. Someone with an inflated ego will go out of their way to point out flaws in another person, often belittling them and everything they do. This stems from a feeling of superiority-or inferiority, and basically portrays a person’s ego.
When Frank Lloyd Wright wrote his manifesto, he probably didn’t know the debate that was to follow regarding ego and what its role is in our life.
While many sources of information talk about destroying the ego altogether, this is something which isn’t easy to do and often, people end up suppressing their ego, but it is still a part of their lives and how they behave.
The alternative, which is learning how to control your ego instead of destroying it altogether, is something which is more effective and easier to achieve.
Developing an honest ego, as mentioned in this famous manifesto basically means identifying those thoughts which are stemming from your ego and those thoughts which are stemming from logical thinking.
It can be extremely difficult to distinguish the two as often, our ego tells us that what it is saying is right making us believe that we are superior to others around us.
When your ego is honest, it will be able to identify your flaws and will also eliminate the need to prove to others that you aren’t better than them but will instead, point out where you need to work on yourself.
Ego honesty vs an honest ego
Though we have discussed what it means to have an honest ego, there is another term known as ego honesty, which must also be addressed here.
Ego honesty is a practice which stems from a dishonest ego, which basically points out flaws in other people and then compels us to tell people their flaws- justifying such behavior on our need to be honest with the people around us.
Though everyone needs an honest dose of advice or an honest opinion from their loved ones sometimes, an ego honesty will make you say things which are downright rude and socially unacceptable.
It is easy to tell a person that the dress they are wearing is tacky or that the color of their hair doesn’t suit them. Often, people who practice ego honesty say things and forget about what they have said but what they don’t realize is the long-lasting impact is has had on the other person.
Ego honesty is a clear indicator of an insecure personality and a dishonest ego, telling the person that they must share their unwanted opinion with another person, just to prove how enlightened they are.
However, what they are actually doing is making themselves feel better about themselves, after bringing other people down.
There is a fine line between honesty and rudeness, and it is imperative to identify this line.
If you feel you have crossed this line, then it is time to look within and evaluate where you stand in terms of what sort of ego you have and how it is impacting your life.
Develop an ego which works for you
Destroying your ego is something which shouldn’t be done because essentially, your ego is who you are and what you believe about yourself.
However, moulding your ego according to how it should be-where it doesn’t bring you or anyone else any harm is also extremely important and here are some steps which can help you do so.
Know your weaknesses
The first thing in this process is to understand which things hold you back and which of these factors come from within.
This can be done with the help of those around you. Ask your close friends and family to tell you your weaknesses, thus allowing you to work on the ones which you feel are a real problem.
The effects of meditation have been researched and established since centuries.
Meditation does help a person understand their true self and helps make a spiritual connection with the environment, something which is essential towards living a good life.
Face your fears
Our ego has developed owing to our life experiences and often, to prevent ourselves from getting more hurt, we create an ego which supposedly stops this from happening.
However, what we don’t understand is that it can lead to the development of a dishonest ego-which one hasn’t faced up to your face fears which is another thing which must be done.
An honest ego plays a major role in reaching success, as has been highlighted through Wright’s manifesto.
The second part of the sentence, which talks about a healthy body is straightforward and emphasizes the need for a healthy life, as without one, a person cannot move forward in their life no matter how hard they try.