Overcoming Low Self-Esteem
(Minghui.org) I am a relatively new practitioner who began to practice Falun Dafa in December 2012. I would like to share my experience of removing my low self-esteem attachment while looking for employment.
Recognizing My Low Self-Esteem and Anxiety
A fellow practitioner introduced me to a job working as a supermarket cashier. However, I had to quit after I was harassed by the police. While searching for a new job, I intentionally looked for low-paying positions due to a lack of confidence.
I have a college degree, but I thought that I should find a cleaning job. Outcomes are often influenced by a person’s belief. As a result, a practitioner kindly helped me find a cleaning crew job in a motel. I was used to working in an office, so I had a hard time handling heavy labor. I did not believe the job was ideal for me either. The supervisor and other staff were very nice to me, so I felt bad when I thought of quitting so soon.
After losing my job again, I sat in front of a computer and thought about what I wanted in life and how I came to where I am today. I was so miserable that I feared meeting people. I knew that I suffered from low self-esteem and anxiety, which are very common problems in society nowadays. Many people around are good at suppressing their emotions until they can no longer handle life's stresses. In extreme cases, they may commit suicide.
My life was in crisis, and I could not go out to clarify the truth about Falun Dafa to others. I realized that I must take action to change myself and remove my attachment.
Teacher said, “One should return to one’s original, true self; this is the real purpose of being human.” (Zhuan Falun)
I should get rid of all attachments, including low self-esteem! After I made up my mind, many unbearable memories kept coming to mind. For example, rejections from work interviews, including an embarrassing experience of an interviewer telling me not to shiver out of fear. Once I worked for one day, and the HR department notified me not to come back. One time I was working during a trial period and received a call from my supervisor. I was so nervous that I immediately thought I would be fired.
It was very painful for me to recall these memories. They were unpleasant experiences in my life from failures at work, betrayal in a relationship, disconnection with my family, and so on. In the past, I had been trying to cover up the wounds in my mind and avoid being hurt again. These unbearable memories became obstacles to removing the attachments. However, I knew I had to face the pains in order to remove my attachments.
Looking Inward Based on the Fa
“In this world a person merely goes about enjoying the course of life. I have said in the past that people are pitiable, for all that a person is doing in this world is merely enjoying the feelings and sensations that are brought to him by living the course of his life. My putting it this way is quite accurate. And why do I say so? Though people think that they are in charge of themselves, deciding what they want to do, the truth is, they are merely pursuing certain feelings as a result of postnatally formed habits and attachments that stem from their likings. And that’s all it is. Whereas what’s really at work, leading that person to want to do something, are factors behind the scenes, which are utilizing the person’s habits, attachments, notions, desires, and such things. Such is the true state of the human body, with the person merely enjoying those feelings and sensations that come about as a result of the life process: when you are given something sweet, you experience the sweetness...” (“Dafa Disciples Must Study the Fa” from Teaching the Fa at the Conference XI)
Why are some practitioners afraid of looking inward? They fear being hurt again. Most people tend to seek happiness and avoid pain. I recalled these painful memories several times and experienced the embarrassment, hopelessness and anxieties all over again. Many times, I wanted to stop thinking, but I held up against the negative thoughts.
After I finally calmed down, I asked myself why I was afraid of looking for a better job. A voice came to my mind: “Because you fear rejection.” Digging into the root causes, I found that I needed acceptance from others because of my childhood experiences. My father was very strict and scolded me often. I formed the characteristic of pursuing perfection. If I did not do well, I would worry about criticism.
I worked hard to earn others’ recognition. I was once a financial manager for a restaurant. However, I refused to make up fake reports to apply for an investment loan, despite the fact that the bank deliberately wanted to accept the report in order to grant the loan. I struggled between submitting a false report and my consciousness and suffered an anxiety attack.
I began to question what I learned from my past experiences, and my desire of seeking others’ acceptance.
Teacher, said, “If someone says that you are good, you may not really be good. If someone says that you are bad, you may not really be bad. This is because the criteria that evaluate good and bad have been distorted.” (Zhuan Falun)
First of all, if I do the wrong things (lie and forget) to gain others’ acceptance, I cannot make peace with myself. Secondly, I should not worry about being rejected by others. It is not shameful to be rejected, and my concerns won’t change the results anyway.
Teacher said, “...as a cultivator should follow the course of nature. Ifsomething is yours, you will not lose it. If something is not yours, you will not have it even if you fight for it” (Zhuan Falun)
Everything follows the rules of predetermined relationships. Worrying or not has no effect on the outcome.
I realized that my fixed notions accumulated from my past experiences may not be right. I was touched by Teacher’s Fa:
“...these “experiences” form notions in the person’s mind. People think that when they run into a problem that “as long as I deal with it this way it will work out.” Then after a while, in this fashion fixed notions come to be formed. You think that you have dealt with many things well, but you yourself don’t exist anymore; you have entered a slumber. The “you” living in everyday society—your flesh body—has been dominated by those postnatally-formed notions. Doing this, doing that, all day you are in a daze, and you pass the days like this. But those notions were all produced so as to protect you from harm.” (Teaching the Fa at the Conference in Houston)
Only Teacher can explain the true nature of human life. How wonderful!
Looking for a Job as a Process of Cultivation
I knew that all the misfortunes were results from my karma accumulated in the past. I should remove karma in order to upgrade my heart and mind nature (my character). I cannot go to heaven while carrying a big burden. If I don’t cultivate well, I cannot fulfill my responsibilities as a practitioner either. Gradually, the Fa principles filled my thoughts and replaced the fixed notions. I felt that my mind finally calmed down without any trace of worry or anxiety.
I began to think about what kind of job I wanted. I wanted a job where I could use my expertise, and where I didn’t need to forge and lie. It would be best if it was not too demanding so I had time to do Dafa work. I didn't need a high paying job because it often means more responsibilities and pressure.
I adjusted my mindset and started to look for a job as a cultivation process. I no longer worried about being hired or not. I would get what belonged to me. If the job was not mine, I wouldn't get it even if I pursued it strongly.
After I removed the attachment of low self-esteem, I received an interview opportunity on the second day and was hired on the third day. It was hard to believe because the job came so fast. Now I am working for a cellular phone store, responsible for inventory and cashier duties. This job is easy and related to what I learned before. Fellow practitioners were happy for me too.
As I am no longer bothered by other people’s views of me, I am able to go out to clarify the facts about Falun Dafa to others consistently. My emotions won’t go up or down based on others' reactions.
I experienced a test half-a-month later at work. My store manager sent me a message at night and asked me to send posts to my friends for a store promotion. I was not familiar with the feature on my phone. Despite trying hard the whole night, I was not able to send out the messages. Negative thoughts of being fired then came to my mind.
I realized immediately that the thoughts were from the fixed notions accumulated from my past experiences rather than from my true self. While suppressing the worrisome feeling, I began to send forth righteous thoughts. After I finished studying the Fa and sending forth righteous thoughts all night, I calmed down again. I knew that I had passed the test. I explained to the store manager that I could not find the feature on my phone, and I would understand that if she needed to deduct money from my pay. She kindly told me not to worry and helped me adjust my phone so I could finish the task the next day.
Every practitioner’s cultivation is precious and difficult to come by. Most ordinary people do not know to look inward. They consider themselves very good and better than others. Thus, I also thought of another attachment I had: Being highly self-centered and unable to accept any criticism. Teacher mentioned this attachment several times in lectures. At first, I could not understand why I would jump at criticism until I went through the process of removing my low self-esteem.
Now I know that both attachments are fixed notions accumulated from human experiences. Low self-esteem is a result of loss and frustration in early years, and being self-centered is because of too much praise in childhood. Removing fixed notions is very important.
Only by regarding oneself as a practitioner at all times and comparing one’s words, behaviors, and thoughts with the Fa, can one can cultivate well and fulfill their responsibilities.