Ego. What is Ego ? Well if you will look for the literal meaning of this word it is synonymous to self esteem, self importance, self respect. But if we dig deeper and understand the actual meaning of it, it is pretty different.
There are many spiritual meanings attached to it too. For eg: It is the shadow of you. You identify yourself with your physical body and that is ego. But i would not dwell into that meaning. Lets talk real here.
According to me ego is when you believe that yours and only your path is the right path. Even if deep inside, you know you might be wrong, your ego doesn't let you do the right thing. You must be wondering how ? For instance lets take a very small example, you had a fight with your loved one and you are not letting your guard down. Why? Because you believe you are probably in some way superior to that person. Or you think it isn't your mistake and why should you be the one to take an initiative. Or the other person started the fight and you would want him/her to end it. Or some other reason perhaps. If for once you put your ego aside and talk to that person, and try to sort things out or mend your relationship, things might turn out to be different. And no, i am not asking you to let your guard down at some expense. For instance, if you know that the other person is not going to do the same, or wont be willing to understand you, or probably he/ she will take you for granted. Also emphasis on know, don't assume that the other person would behave this way. In most cases though, one should try and solve and sort as far as possible and if you do not see efforts from the other end, well its not in your hands, you are only responsible for yourself.
Now why i say that ego is the killer of all the right emotions? Okay now i don't know how and when it originates within you. Probably the way you are brought up and the company you have had and other situations in your life shaped you in a way that ego has co-existed. And by the time you reach a stable age, you have become a certain type of person and bringing about a change in your habits is very difficult. And if that ego has been there, it stays. It might be heightened by achieving status or dominance over someone. Because ego needs to be satisfied all the time. And as you feed your ego through various means, it grows bigger and bigger, without you even realizing it. Your ego might reach a point of no return. At that point any kind of disagreements with your loved ones, or any other point of view of someone would not reach your rational thinking brain , as it would be clouded by your ego. Thus your understanding power is clouded. When your loved ones would want you to let your guard down and do some efforts to understand the other person's thinking, you wont be able to, you might feel anger, frustration as your ego is not being fulfilled and anyone who tries to trash your ego might get affected. Thus it affects your love for that person. And if the other person goes against you despite everything, you might become unhappy and irritable. If you are not able to control the situation, your ego would be unsatisfied. If your not able to dominate, your ego would be unfulfilled. If you are not able to take things in your hand, your ego would be affected. Slowly and gradually, ego clouds all the right emotions like love, happiness, joy, kindness, calmness etc and surfaces all your negative emotions like anger, envy, jealousy, frustration etc. An example of this can be all those MCPs (male chauvinist pigs) out there in our society. For years their ego has been fulfilled as they were able to dominate women. Now, with women standing up for their rights endangers their ego and they behave irrationally. Even though somewhere deep inside they might understand and know that women are equal, they wouldn't let her study, wear clothes of her choice, be at par with men etc. And despite that women are reaching great heights by breaking those barriers. So these MCPs out there react, in so many ways which i don't feel like enlisting here.
So yes, this type of Ego is harmful for you as well as others around you. All i can say is kill your ego before it kills all the positive emotions inside of you. No matter what age group you fall in, just try. Nothing is impossible. Do not loose your self respect but never confuse it with your ego. As parents, understand your child's point of view. As children, understand your parents. As lovers, as friends understand each other at various times, understand their reasons. Try and be more empathetic. Try to be a good listener. Let your guards down sometimes. No matter whatever you have achieved, no matter how rich you are. Consider the possibility that you can be wrong, consider the possibility that the other person can be right. Lets feel what we truly have to feel and not let our ego cloud it.