The basis of the ego’s insanity is its selfish dedication to self-preservation—even if this comes with great effort and pain. Any form of diminishment is a threat to the ego. Being wrong, insulted, perceived as inferior, not getting what it wants, or losing any contest may result in an embarrassing childlike tantrum. At some point, we’ve all been there. “What came over me?” you may ask days later. It was the ego merely doing what it does.
On a more serious level, loss of a job, a relationship, fame, physical beauty or wealth will likely result in a state of depression. In this state, the ego becomes so fearful and hopeless that a person may make the error of abusing drugs or alcohol to numb the pain or, in the most extreme cases, even suicide to attempt to end it.
There is only one way to end the pain and suffering caused by the ego. Ironically, the only escape is what the ego fears most—the death and destruction of it by the real you. This ultimate diminishment of the ego is the awakened consciousness flowing through you—brought with the simple realization that you are not your ego and that the ego need not be.
To live in the egoic state is normal in this world, but as A Course in Miracles states, this need not be. Where you look to find yourself is up to you. Let your ego kick and scream for a while as it dies this slow death, but all nightmares end when we awaken. We continue tomorrow and each day after that.