Another global survey has confirmed what some of us have been suspecting all along: Filipinos are a very emotional people. American pollster company Gallup conducted a survey covering over 140 countries to compare how people feel about their lives and the Philippines came up as the most emotional of the lot. As usual, some Filipinos thought that this piece of news is a good thing. They probably thought that topping the ranking and bagging the title “emotional people” is something we should celebrate.Being too emotional is actually a bad thing. It is worse than being emotionless. When someone is emotional, that person cannot think straight. An emotional person’s decisions are more often than not determined by his or her emotion rather than reason. It’s bad enough having to deal with an emotional individual, it’s even worse when majority of the members of a society are mostly emotional. I mean have you ever had to deal with someone who is full of drama? They can be quite annoying. They are either in a state of extreme high or extreme low. There is nothing in between. No wonder the Philippines is considered a basketcase. Most of us are emotional wrecks.
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Some might say that Filipinos are much better off than Singaporeans who were ranked as the most emotionless people in the world but I’d say that’s just typical sourgraping. To be sure, anything in extreme is bad. Singaporeans are known for being too serious and very business like in dealing with the international community and even among themselves. However, their approach to life has actually resulted in something they can be proud of. They have built an intelligent megacity and they are among the wealthiest people in the world. Meanwhile, for all the “fun” we have been having, Filipinos have nothing to show but abject poverty and dismal infrastructure.
When people are too emotional, they can be irrational. They often make bad and hasty decisions based on how they are feeling at the moment. They tend to act without thinking of the consequences of their actions. An example of this was when Filipinos thought it was a good idea to push then Senator Noynoy Aquino to run as a presidential candidate immediately after his mother, Cory Aquino died in 2009.
Because Cory was such a beloved figure, most Filipinos who were distraught when she passed away did not even think twice about showing their support for her only son who they thought could be the one person who can save the country from corruption. Aquino supporters then were too emotional and showed too much arrogance when some rational people attempted to try and talk them out of what was obviously a huge mistake. Some reasoned that Noynoy did not have any accomplishment to speak of even while in Congress and would be bad for the economy but alas; the number of men and women who charged ahead without using their heads outnumbered those who did, hence the country is now stuck with a president who is said to be lazy, weak and cannot even work beyond a nine-to-five schedule.
Yes, being too emotional is really bad for our society because most of us get stuck with emoting — giving too much emphasis to how we feel. Some of us end up putting too much meaning to something trivial. Some even make a big deal whenever they hear another person raising their voice and quickly assume that that person is being nasty even if they do not know the whole story. We can be too sensitive for our own good.
Emotional people also do not know how to deal with down time. They always want to be having a good time. This is not surprising considering Filipinos pride themselves for being a “happy-go-lucky” society.
I’ll reiterate some things I wrote in my previous article…
Filipinos in general are preoccupied with the desire to be on a permanent state of euphoria or at least with being perceived to be a “happy-go-lucky” society no matter what circumstances they are in. Unfortunately, this national obsession with being “happy” or having a good time instead actually leads the Filipino people to a permanent state of misery because their pursuit of happiness is shallow and misguided.
Because of our obsession with being perceived as a “happy-go-lucky” people, we unfortunately also come across as a people who do not take things too seriously even in times of crisis; which is why our social ills stay unresolved. In fact, Filipinos in general don’t even realize that our national psyche needs to be rehabilitated. Most Filipinos are of the belief that our corrupt public officials are solely to blame for the sad state of our nation. This is funny because the Filipino people are free to choose their public servants. And yet they prefer to choose someone incompetent ”” which is why they get the government they deserve.
The country remains Asia’s laggard perhaps partly because most Filipinos don’t have their priorities right. Most of us would rather pursue activities that cater to instant gratification because most of us want to be “masaya” all the time. We get instant gratification when we engage in activities that give us fleeting moments of happiness. Most often these are activities that are not well thought through and may even be impulsive. It could also involve being on a fiesta or celebratory mode more often than necessary even when we don’t deserve it. This also includes not participating in the running of the country and letting our public servants wreak havoc using public funds. Instead of being serious and more assertive about national issues, we dismiss topics pertaining to politics as something that we cannot do anything about or is none of our business.
Because Filipinos love a good time more than anything else, we don’t bother learning a new skill on our spare time. Most Filipinos don’t like the idea of working harder to elevate our status to one of being among the first-class nations in the world; we would rather wait for someone to do it for us. Unfortunately, because our society has become anti-intellectual, the intellectuals are driven to leave the country. The brain drain reduces our chances of competing with other nations whose aim is to be the best at what they do and excel at every endeavor.
What is a healthier outlook in life then? Humans have different set of moods. Normal people have a baseline or set point of happiness. We bounce up and down from that baseline in response to short-term events depending on the situation, like when we hear some bad news or good news. Most people normally return to their baseline after some time. Unfortunately, some of us think that we have to be above the normal baseline all the time to be considered to be a “happy” person, which is quite an impossible state to achieve because it means that in order to be “high” all the time, the natural tendency to be down after a high needs to be continuously overcome. And if we keep soaring higher, the longer the fall that is sure to come sooner or later.
We have to learn to accept that being sad or being in a state of melancholy some of the time is OK. In fact it is part of being a human being.
In the book Against Happiness, author Eric Wilson emphasized that he finds it odd that sadness is seen as not a normal part of life but as a weakness, something to be eradicated.
“You should really embrace those dark parts of your life. They are natural. They are normal. It seems to me those darker sides of experience, those times when we are sad or sorrowful, we often learn things about ourselves that we would not learn had we simply remained content.”
So no, bagging the title “most emotional people” is not something we should be celebrating. We should aim for something in the middle — knowing how to be serious when the situation calls for it and knowing how to have fun after getting the job done.
[Photo courtesy Yahoo! OMG!.]
In life, things are not always what they seem.