It just slipped out during a recent client session. "Ego and Shame are the same".
After I said it, both my client and I smiled and nodded in agreement. It just felt like truth. I did not yet have the words to back up the thought, but it FELT right. I have pondered it more since and here are my thoughts. It seems both ego and shame may stem from our human desire (need?) to feel accepted, liked (dare I say loved) by others. Inflated ego and shame may be manifestations of caring "too much" about what others think of us. This is certainly something I have struggled with in my life and I do not think I am unique.
When I think of people who seem to have a healthy sense of self, they are neither overly self-deprecating nor brag or seem consumed with making themselves look good. They project humility. They rarely criticise others to inflate themselves. They seem to have a solid, quiet, inner sense of self-acceptance and self-love based on knowing they have qualities and worth.
I have observed this in one of my friends. I have thought about him and this topic often and have even talked to him about it. I am conflicted about my theory related to him though. He is extremely intelligent, very athletic, an accomplished professional who has the respect of peers in his field. He is a good looking guy, has a beautiful family, a nice home and lots of friends. I wonder if it is easier to project humility when you are blessed so obviously that everyone knows about your gifts and talents. Is it harder for those of us who are less obviously gifted?
I don't know, but I really desire and strive to attain a healthy sense of inner, quiet self-acceptance and love, and escape my pattern of shame and ego based feelings and behaviors! Maybe you have similar desires?