Ego Check: 6 Unmistakable Signs of an Ego Problem

August 18, 2023 | 


Joanna Newman



We all have an ego. It´s a natural part of our psychological makeup. However, there’s a fine line between having healthy self-esteem and being overly egoistic. Crossing this line can cause friction in our personal and professional relationships. Here are six signs that might indicate that your ego is getting the better of you.

1. Lack of Empathy

Empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of another. If you find it hard to relate to others´ emotions or dismiss them regularly, it may be a sign your ego is overshadowing your ability to connect. A high ego can make one so focused on their own feelings that they neglect or invalidate those of others.

Example: If a colleague shares their concern about a project and you dismiss it without consideration, it shows a lack of empathy.

2. Constant Need for Validation

While it´s natural to seek appreciation, a constant need for validation might indicate an ego problem. If you´re always fishing for compliments or seeking affirmation, it might be because your self-worth is entirely based on external approval.

Example: Posting every achievement, no matter how small, on social media to get likes and comments.

3. Inability to Accept Criticism

Constructive criticism is essential for personal and professional growth. If you find yourself getting defensive or hostile when someone offers feedback, your ego might be taking center stage.

Example: A friend suggests a different approach to a task, and instead of considering it, you immediately get defensive.

4. Frequent Comparison with Others

Constantly comparing yourself with others is not only detrimental to your self-esteem but also a sign of an inflated ego. If you always measure your success based on someone else´s achievements, you´re setting yourself up for dissatisfaction.

Example: A co-worker gets a promotion, and instead of being happy for them, you immediately think, "I´m better than them. Why didn’t I get promoted?"

5. Overconfidence to the Point of Arrogance

Confidence is believing in oneself; arrogance is believing only in oneself. If you find yourself always thinking you’re the smartest person in the room and disregarding others´ opinions, your confidence might have crossed into arrogance.

Example: In a group brainstorming session, you dismiss everyone else´s ideas and insist only yours are correct.

6. Unwillingness to Apologize or Admit Mistakes

Mistakes are human, but not admitting to them can be a sign of an ego problem. If you find it hard to apologize or even acknowledge when you´re wrong, it might be time for some introspection.

Example: Even after realizing you’ve made a mistake in a report, you refuse to admit it and shift the blame elsewhere.


Recognizing these signs in yourself doesn´t mean you´re a bad person. It simply means there´s room for growth. It’s essential to regularly self-reflect and make conscious efforts to keep our egos in check. Remember, it’s not about diminishing your self-worth, but ensuring your self-perception is both healthy and grounded.