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Lions Roar : March 2009
SHAMBHALA SUN MArcH 2009 31 can. But when you’re self-conscious, you’re comparing. you’re experiencing jealousy, pride, embarrassment, envy—emotions that aren’t skillful and lead to separation between self and other. Basically, the Buddha did the exact opposite of the self-esteem move- ment. He said to focus on your actions and the consequences of your actions, and if you don’t reach the consequences that you’re aiming for, then check out what happened. But don’t focus back on yourself because when you do, it increases your suffering. is Buddhism all we need to get us out of the self-esteem trap? The Buddha taught that our karma is the result of our intentional actions and that we have to learn how to govern ourselves to do good things. But Buddhism lacks an understanding of human development, so it is well-supplemented by developmental psychology and psychoanalytic psychology, which look at how autonomy develops. On the other hand, Buddhism contributes a lot in understanding how to develop interde- pendence. you’re always imbedded in rela- tionships and environments that you’re not separate from. If you don’t see how you’re imbedded, then it’s hard to feel confident because you end up in situations where you’re in conflict with that imbedded-ness. What can gen-Me individuals do to shift their way of thinking? Be flexible. develop resilience by recog- nizing how and when you need to take responsibility. recognize that to be the most confident and happy person you can be, you need to cooperate and share, because helping yourself also means help- ing others. understand that you can’t get the answers by just looking into your own head and replaying “what if this and what if that?” Try to see yourself as an ordinary human being like everyone else. All of us are struggling to find happiness and avoid suffering. nobody gets away with having an easy life. If you’re here, it’s difficult. That’s cheerful. It’s also true. It’s the first noble truth. ♦ A chief lineage holder of the Karma Kagyu Retreat for beginner to intermediate level practition- ers of Mahayana and Vajrayana Buddhism