Because all of our experience is evaluated and judged by this ‘I’,
we feel pain when it feels insecure,
and act instantaneously to protect it.

Even when we sense we have made a mistake,
we find it difficult to acknowledge mistakes directly
and take full responsibility for our actions.

Compelled to cushion the ‘I’ from pain,
we make socially acceptable apologies
we do not really mean,
or defend the ‘I’ by blaming others.

If these efforts are not successful,
we can go instantly to the other extreme,
demeaning ourselves by telling others
how weak and helpless we are.

Either way, we protect the ‘I’
from the need to change.

If we cannot protect the ‘I’ sufficiently,
it turns against us.

We find our confidence shattered,
tormented by self-doubts and self-recriminations,
while the ‘I’ regains gains its sense
of power at our expense.

Tarthang Tulku Rinpoche
Knowledge of Freedom

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