I was reminded during a tour of Canterbury Cathedral in Canterbury, England that egos were as big, if not bigger, in 1170 than they are today. Surely power and status are the main reason for the driven characteristics of the Kings and Queens of England.
The death of Thomas Becket, who became Archbishop of Canterbury in 1162 by King Henry II, soon met with disharmony when Becket’s allegiance to the Pope and the church undermined his allegiance to King Henry II, his supposed best friend. Becket was exiled to France after he and King Henry II fell out with each other.
Returning to England in 1170, Thomas Becket was murdered by four knights who overheard King Henry II say, “Who will rid me of this meddlesome priest?” On December 29, 1170, Becket, who strayed from being a “yes” man to King Henry II, was killed.
King Henry II spent a lot of time trying to control the world around himself from an external view. I can only speculate that if the King would have only spent more time nurturing his inner world, he and Becket’s friendship would have taken a more positive spin. Instead, this historical cathedral has become a pilgrimage to Thomas Becket, murdered Archbishop of Canterbury.
Because of our conceited nature and a desire for self-importance, our ego spends a lot of time looking to the outside world for acceptance and authority instead of reflecting on our inner self. Try investigating your own life’s meanings and beliefs. Becket knew his allegiances and stood up for what he believed without force or power.
What are you doing about your need for control of others, or your need for them to do what you think is the right way and the only way? Many tragic stories of egos gone awry come from this part of the world. Can we look within, find a deeper connection with others and admit that we are the reason behind our strained relationships?
I’m willing to learn to put my ego aside every time I find myself in a confrontational situation and change my strategy from chaos in favor of peace. I don’t want to be a King Henry and regret a decision I made that will come back to haunt me later.