Thoughts on "Self-Esteem"
(Clearwisdom.net) Prior to becoming a Falun Gong practitioner, I had a very strong self-esteem. Since I started practicing, through Fa-study, I have realized that many attachments and human notions were arranged by the old forces. They made arrangements in my life, including arranging some negative characteristics to set roadblocks on my cultivation path. I felt that these bad substances have penetrated my past lives and have become stronger and stronger in this life. They have become so strong that they have replaced my main thoughts. They have controlled me and my life.
When I was young, I liked to read history stories and novels, especially stories demonstrating the concept that "a chivalrous person can be killed, but can't be insulted." Every time I read stories like that, I became so excited and motivated. I admired the protagonists. I often imagined that I was them, saving the good people and killing the bad. When I considered classic Chinese stories about people with great forbearance, such as Su Wu, Hang Xin, Gou Jian, I always thought they endured too much. Their lives could have been much more exciting. I felt that without dignity, I would rather die.
As I was growing up, without even realizing it, I formed this distorted notion that dignityis more important than life. I wouldn't argue with people about many things, however, if something touches my self-esteem, I wouldn't let it go. I was willing to fight with my life for it.
People around me always thought that I am a gentle and well behaved girl. They did not know that this notion had been hidden in me for a long time. When it was touched upon, I became angry and irritated. In middle school, there was a boy in my class who always bullied girls. Once, he tried to bully me. I became so angry that I wanted to beat him up. He was a strong boy and I was a very skinny girl. It would have been very easy for him to beat me up. But I did not think much at all and wanted to fight him no matter what. My classmates stopped me. The fight did not happen. I was still very angry afterwards and wanted to find someone to teach him a lesson.
After I started cultivating, as I studied the Fa and cultivated my xinxing and looked inward, I found many attachments and human notions. But I still did not notice this particular notion. Hence, it as been hidden in me without being touched upon. Only recently, Master arranged to expose this attachment, to make me realize how dangerous it is.
This happened when I did not do something properly and a fellow practitioner pointed it out for me. I felt I had been wronged. I cried several times after I got home. I could not let it go for several days. I started having resentment against that practitioner. I wished that I would never see this person again. After I studied the Fa and looked inward, I found my attachment of disliking criticism. But I felt the root was not completely identified until another incident happened. Another practitioner with a bad temper also pointed out my mistakes with a very harsh attitude. I felt hurt and started arguing with her. Not until then, did I realize that this bad human notion had become very severe. I have found many attachments such as strong self-esteem, competitive mentality, jealousy and disliking criticism. All of these attachments came from one human notion, which was my thinking that one has to have self-esteem and needs to be respected. Dignity is more important than one's life. I even thought that was the basis of a human being. Master says, "Living to prove one's point or to save face--isn't it tiring? Isn't it painful? Is it worthwhile?" (Zhuan Falun)
This human notion almost controlled my entire life. Thinking back, I almost never lived for myself. I only lived for this notion. When I was at school, I studied so hard to get good scores to make the teachers happy. After I got a job, I worked hard to make my boss happy. I cared so much about what others thought of me. When people have thoughts about me, it worries me: "What is going on with me? Why are they viewing me like this?" It even reached a state that if I am not 100ure about a field or some skills, I never demonstrated it in front of a group because I was afraid of losing and that my self-esteem was hurt. With this notion, my attachment to fame, jealousy and competitive mentality became stronger and stronger.
Digging deeper, I found that the root of this distorted notion came from the old universe's characteristics, which is selfishness. I paid too much attention to "me." I was afraid that my "me" could get hurt. I was afraid of "me" feeling sad. When I get something, I am happy. When I can not get what I want, I am sad. All these notions come from "self" and "me." In order to safeguard them, I fought, worked hard and suffered almost my entire life. I suffered and I made others suffer too. How much karma have I accrued?
Through Fa-study, I gradually understood why the standard of the new universe standard is selflessness, and why Master requires us "to attain the righteous Enlightenment of selflessness and altruism." ("Omission in Buddha-Nature," Essentials for Further Advancement)
If I completely were to think about the best interests of others, and live for others, then I would always think from the other party's perspective I would sincerely hope for the best for others and make others happy. I would be glad for any little progress others make. When I saw others' mistakes, I would not blame them. I would help them make corrections because their mistakes were like my own. If I put others first, why would I be jealous of others? Why would I compete with others? Why would I argue with others when being criticized? Why would I not be diligent all the time on my cultivation path? Why would I not immediately eliminate all my attachments? Why would I not clarify the facts about Dafa when there are still so many people who do not know the truth and face the consequences of being destroyed?
It is important to change my human notions, break away from the boundaries of the old universe and follow what Master requires me to do. I know that is the best. What Master gives us is always the best. Although I have not done very well, I will try my best and do well! It is the requirements of the new universe and the expectations of sentient beings!
These are my personal thoughts and understanding. Please point out anything inappropriate!