Ladies and gentlemen, before I begin another scathing article, let me tell you that just about two or three years ago, I was afflicted with just about the same amount of selfishness as some of our most hated politicians of the LP today. Indeed, I’m willing to admit that back then, I was every bit the typical Pinoy with the tendency to trumpet “Proud to be Pinoy” at every turn and had little to show as an individual and I was guilty of all three points I’m writing about here. However, a series of tragedies changed me on a deep and fundamental level and I became something more than just the whiny spoiled brat I once was.
“Nakakaawa ako! Maawa ka sa akin!” (I am so pitiful! Pity me!)
~A line attributed to one of our many commenters here in GRP
This is the default mindset of many typical Pinoys, especially the poor. For many Pinoys, suffering is seen as a sign of saintliness and that is why, more often than not, we side with underdog even when the underdog has neither the moral high ground nor the qualifications to deserve our support. This is also all further supported by many of our local shows wherein the downtrodden protagonist is made to look “heroic” even though they seem somewhat indolent or weak upon closer inspection because they fail to make a stand for themselves or fight for the good that they believe in.
Of course, as already mentioned above, I once subscribed to the same beliefs and was often saddled with self-pity and the inability to move on from being a victim. However, when I learned to put aside self-pity due to past grievances and worked instead towards addressing problems of the present, I saw a gradual but significant change in the way I saw the world and the way the world saw me. Not only was I able to make steps towards progress but more people came along to help me on that path to becoming better not just emotionally but morally as well. Whatever the case, it was only when I stopped pitying myself and my situation that I began to see myself as something more and not just as a man who can make his own way in the world but also someone who can make a difference.
And remember, while life may suck for you at any given time and, believe me, I still have those days every now and again, there will always be those who are probably in a worse predicament than you. One of the things that helped me put aside my self-pity was when I saw a little girl selling flowers at a church near where I live. She was just a poor little girl with rags for clothes and was the inspiration for my work “Girl in the Gutter” as she was, sadly, the victim of a hit and run. Sadder still was the fact that the person who ran down the poor girl was a high-ranking police officer and the case was quickly dropped. That day, I realized how self-centered I really was and that pitying myself was just an insult to unfortunates like the little girl who deserved a lot better than what happened to her.
Never forget that if you can stop pitying yourself and stand up for what’s right, you can do things that can make others truly love you and not just feel sorry for you…
Self-entitlement which can easily go together with self-importance and often goes hand in hand with self-pity above. This is the thought that one deserves something without putting in the effort to actually prove their case. The best example for this are inept political candidates who seem to think that they’re God’s gift to the Filipino people when they have done nothing to actually help the situation of the people they intend on ruling.
Truth be told though, I once ascribed to the same belief just as I was once a wreck saddled with self-pity. However, the tragedies of my life proved to me that nothing in this world is ever really permanent and if we want them to last or at least leave a lasting memory, we need to put some effort in what we do. Simply believing that you deserve something doesn’t mean that it really does. It is through determination, patience and, most importantly, will that will get us what we truly deserve in this life and not whining about wasted efforts
Also, for those romantics out there, love of another person is earned through effort and is not something that is gained by default. You can be rich, smart, strong or beautiful but if you fail to show your love for someone, then don’t expect that person to return your feelings for them. Lastly, remember that a person’s love is something that is given freely and, if the person you love chooses not to return your affection, you have no right to force them into anything.
Ah, the “I am always right!” concept and is perhaps the greatest obstacle to progress in the Philippines. Also, like self-pity above, I think this is all too often encouraged by the local media which champions “black and white morality” (everyone is either all bad or all good with hardly anything in between) as the protagonists of local shows are designated as “good” even though they appear either too naive or careless to be right and proper “heroes”. Thanks to this flawed way of thinking, majority of Pinoys have failed again and again to improve themselves because they will not allow themselves to accept their own mistakes.
In real life ladies and gentlemen, people are all too often shades of gray or a whole plethora of colors rather than solid black and white. By acknowledging one’s mistakes, inadequacies and wrongdoings, one can gain the chance to correct and improve oneself.
Remember that the worst of people in history like Adolf Hitler, Josef Stalin and Masonobu Tsuji were people who never once questioned their motives and morality as they saw themselves as righteous even as their hapless victims died cruel deaths at their hands.