The I or Ego is mostly what makes Man and animals differ. A human is conscious of the I in him. We don’t know if animals are aware of their “self” or whether they observe their “self” through inner critique.
Our Egos are the aspect of us that make us human. Without awareness of ourself as a creature apart, we would have no ability to long for perfection. There would be no “divine discontent”, no progress.
We need the Ego. It makes us. It holds us together.
We need to protect our Ego and see that it is not totally subjugated unwillingly less others use us. Abuse us. This leads to loss of self-esteem and many negative feelings. Negativity comes from the bottom of the Cone of Cosmic Thought. Self-respect, feelings of achievement are good because they uplift. They make us realize we can progress in virtue and that we are not nothing but an evolving spiritual being.
This is the Ego working constructively.
The Ego breaks us!
The Ego is desire. Desire causes us such suffering. Craving for material gain, wealth, goods. rewards. Control. Wanting this, wanting that – more, and more. Dissatisfaction. Unhappiness. Discomfort. Unfulfilled always.
Self aggrandizement, self-satisfaction, holding the self up for praise or power over others is no more satisfying. It gives us an untrue feeling of bloated self-importance – the Ego becomes ugly. Hubris.
And our true nature is distorted unless this ego is cleared away.