I was wondering why Goddess Kali's image is so scary. She is said to be a mother that is compassionate and loving to her children.
Have you ever gone through the Durga Saptasathi - 700 slokas of Devi Maahatmya, in which the emergence of Kali, from Devi was described?
After eliminating the chief warriors in the army of Chanda and Munda, Devi Chandika was confronted with Chanda and Munda, along with remaining army. They made an effort to capture her, and others approached her, with their bows bent and swords drawn.
Thereupon Ambika became terribly angry with those foes, and in her anger her countenance then became dark as ink. Out from the surface of her forehead, fierce with frown, suddenly issued Kali of terrible countenance, armed with a sword and noose.
Bearing the strange skull-topped staff, decorated with a garland of skulls, clad in a tiger’s skin, very appalling owing to her emaciated flesh, with gaping mouth, fearful with her tongue lolling out, having deep-sunk reddish eyes and filling the regions of the sky with her roars, and falling upon impetuously and slaughtering the great asuras in that army, she devoured those hosts of the foes of the devas.
भ्रुकुटीकुटिलात्तस्या ललाटफलकाद्द्रुतम्। काली करालवदना विनिष्क्रान्तासिपाशिनी॥६॥
विचित्रखट्वाङ्गधरा नरमालाविभूषणा। द्वीपिचर्मपरीधाना शुष्कमांसातिभैरवा॥७॥
अतिविस्तारवदना जिह्वाललनभीषणा। निमग्नारक्तनयना नादापूरितदिङ्मुखा॥८॥
सा वेगेनाभिपतिता घातयन्ती महासुरान्। सैन्ये तत्र सुरारीणामभक्षयत तद्बलम्॥९॥
पार्ष्णिग्राहाङ्कुशग्राहियोधघण्टासमन्वितान्। समादायैकहस्तेन मुखे चिक्षेप वारणान्॥१०॥
And, in the end, it was Kali,who eliminates Chanda and Munda and brings their heads to Devi Chandika.
शिरश्चण्डस्य काली च गृहीत्वा मुण्डमेव च। प्राह प्रचण्डाट्टहासमिश्रमभ्येत्य चण्डिकाम्॥२३॥
मया तवात्रोपहृतौ चण्डमुण्डौ महापशू। युद्धयज्ञे स्वयं शुम्भं निशुम्भं च हनिष्यसि॥२४॥
Kali, holding the heads of Chanda and Munda in her hands, approached Chandika, roaring with laughter, and said, ‘Here have I brought you the heads of Chanda and Munda as two great animal offerings in this sacrifice of battle; Shumbha and Nishumbha, you shall yourself slay.’
So Kali is the fearful form of Devi Chandika, emerged with a special purpose.
It is not the question shedding EGO, but the question of one's taste. If ONE is afraid of THAT fearful form, ONE should perform puja to smiling form of Devi - Rajarajeswari.
One is afraid of something one does not understand. There is nothing scary about Kali's iconography if one understands the philosophical meaning.
A philosophical explanation of this image by Swami Chetananda is given in