When we talk about the ego here, we are defining the ego simply as a focusing agent of consciousness. It is the container of the personality, that keeps you perceiving yourself as an individual with a history, with a set of preferences, with goals, ambitions, likes, dislikes, etc. It is like a bubble around your identity that keeps you from being one with the ocean (or one with all things). So the ego in this way is not the enemy or a negatively tinted word. It just is a part of our temporal existence. The ego is permeable, can shift, and can also be honed. Removing parts of the ego can be beneficial, as well as rewriting the ego for a specific purpose. The ego can support a goal, even spiritual goals.
When we talk about ego, we’re just talking about a shell that surrounds the consciousness. Like an shelled animal, a crab for example (Cancer is related to the ego), we discard old shells for new ones. It is similar to the idea of the Soul entering a new body and ego from life to life as it reincarnates.
The ego is a filter or a lens. Being unconscious about that lens is where the ego distorts or gets in the way. Using it as a tool of consciousness is another story. “I am” statements are a way that we adjust our ego to expand it into something that will support us and hold us in a desirable state of being.