Eight Steps to Happiness: The Faults of Self-Cherishing
All the problems we have in our lives ultimately come from our own self-cherishing mind. One reason for this is karmic: self-cherishing causes us to commit negative and selfish actions that result in negative karmic potentials placed within our mind. These karmic potentials later result in negative effects that ripen when conditions become right for them to do so.
Self-cherishing also is the basis for experiencing suffering. We are unhappy and dissatisfied when we are unable to fulfill our own wishes, which often are the desires of our self-cherishing mind. The self-cherishing attitude leads us to believe that we are more important than others, or at least our wants, needs, and time are more important or should come first before everyone else. This attitude leads to all kinds of relationship problems with others, verbally and even physically.
Self-cherishing makes us feel that our wishes and plans are so important, and when they don’t happen the way we want them to we are unable to accept and learn from our problems and difficulties when they inevitably do happen. Self-cherishing makes us dependent upon the approval of others or the need to feel well liked or popular. Self-cherishing makes us want to feel appreciated and acknowledged by others. Self-cherishing keeps us trapped within samsara and all the associated suffering, life after life.
Self-cherishing is the main obstacle to the attainment of enlightenment. We need to abandon our self-cherishing and instead learn to cherish others, develop compassion for them, and finally develop bodhichitta motivation in order to attain enlightenment.
Self-cherishing is not self-respect or taking care of ourself. Self-cherishing actually causes us to do things that will make us lose our self-respect by committing negative actions, harming others, and clinging to and indulging in our various attachments or even addictions. However, if we cherish others, our self-respect and confidence will increase as we benefit these precious living beings.