Again, Pinoy Pride becomes the topic of the hour with the recent Silver medal won by Hidilyn Diaz in this year’s Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Earlier we had the sort-of controversial win of Pia Wurtzbach as Miss Universe. Of course, many Filipinos will scream all over, “if they win, we win too.” Some people defend this and say such a riding-on is necessary for Filipinos to “feel their Filipinoness” or “be happy,” as well as solve their inferiority complex. Most of us GRP writers would call this shallow. We have explained that it only gives a temporary high since it does not address the roots of the issue. I’ll use this as a springboard for yet another Pinoy Pride discussion.
There are two ways to see pride.
1. Arrogance, Egotism, selfishness at the cost of others, sense of entitlement – As GRP Webmaster Benign0 described, “Filipinos are culturally hobbled by a compulsion to assert class dominance over the other.”
2. Self-esteem, which is simply a healthy regard and love of self that leads to the person valuing life and others around them. I.E., love others as you love yourself.
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For me, self-esteem is a separate concept from pride. That is the first thing to recognize.
As I explained before, I see only number 2 as the right kind of “pride.” Number 1 is likely how most Filipinos see Pinoy Pride, and it is actually pulling them down. Filipinos seem compelled to try and prove their superiority towards people of other countries. This is often explained to come from a sense of insecurity or inferiority complex. They, they make an effort to try and feel superior, or else, they will feel unhappy (for some reason, that does sound like a paranoid person). It unfortunately leads to actions like bullying other people or making arrogant statements, doing a “paawa effect” show or at worst, attacking someone, just to satisfy a petty desperation for a feeling of self-importance. In an earlier article, I linked this to survival mentality used on the wrong level.
So here’s the issue: Filipinos seem to confuse the two kinds of pride, or consider them one and the same. In building self-esteem, they believe that trying to prove one’s superiority is necessary for it. But they have it wrong. It is unfortunate that in the cultural education of the Filipino, this important fact is omitted.
Filipinos should finally learn to distinguish between these two kinds of pride and embrace only the right one.
And I see another reason Filipino hang on to pride: they see it as a requirement for national identity. They believe pride is an essential part of love of country. As I said above, riding on some special event where a Filipino shined is supposed to help one “feel Filipinoness.” This is thought to awaken internal pride and willingness to identify oneself as Filipino.
I challenge this notion. I don’t see pride as an essential part of love of country. If one sees themselves as Filipinos, they don’t need some special event to awaken pride in themselves, or have the right self-esteem. If they need something like the Miss Universe win to “awaken” this pride, doesn’t it mean that the rest of the time, the “pride” is dead? So is it true that they’re actually ashamed of being Filipino the rest of the time?
Many pridists defend the use of such “pride” as a way to overcome inferiority complex and so-called colonial mentality. But no, it’s not the right solution. This kind of pride is actually a defense mechanism that only is meant to cover-up the perceived fault. It hides the fault, but does nothing to correct it. They are saying they are proud when in fact, they are not. In other words, it is a dishonest way of handling the problems.
Thus, moments of Pinoy Pride do not help the national identity. They have a shaky foundation: you are aware of being Filipino if you win. But what if you or someone loses, like Pacquiao back then? You are not Filipino, because it is shameful to lose? There you go.
No. One who truly feels his identity will say they are Filipino, win or lose. Winning isn’t everything. In fact, it is nothing.
Better ask the real question: is pride the right thing to feel? Is it the right concept to use?
Not the pride that is number 1 above. Filipinos should stop insisting on trying to prove themselves superior to others. They should retain internal self-esteem no matter the situation. This is the right kind of pride to embrace. It is the kind of pride where one will learn to love themselves and their fellows, and feel good about it already, without any special event to “inspire” or “awaken” it.
If some want tips on how to have the right kind of “pride,” I’ll offer these.
1. Instead of believing the Filipino can, believe that YOU can. Trust me, it is more empowering when you believe that you can do something no matter your group affiliation. Sometimes, it’s the group affiliation that bogs you down. Go out and believe in your own ability, and study how you can do things yourself. People succeed not because they are Filipino, but because they train, educate and drive themselves to do it, despite their blood or nationality.
2. Stop seeing life as a contest with other people. Competition on everything is so caveman-like. This is especially true when happiness is seen as something competed for. This is what makes life miserable.
3. Dissociate vanity from dignity. Of course, a little vanity is all right, and people do get into it for a little boost to their self-esteem. But seeing it as an important part of self-esteem leads to narcissism, and it could also make them more vulnerable to failures and mistakes. They will love themselves too much that they refuse to see what is right. Thus, cut down the vanity, life can be happier with less of it or even without it.
4. One observation I have to note: Filipinos are not really proud to be Filipino. They are actually proud of their provincial ties. Bicolanos tend to support fellow Bicolanos, Visayans tend to support fellow Visayans, and so on. This is why we can’t achieve unity and true pride for our country; we embrace our tribal affiliation first. Either we put the greater good above tribal affiliation, then we can be one step closer to true pride.
5.Let’s take a hint from one of our favorite memed wrestlers. No, not the Rock, it’s John Cena! OK, seriously, look at the video he made for the Fourth of July this 2016.
Did you take note of what he said in the first part: “Patriotism is more than pride, it’s love.” This seems to challenge our previous notions that pride is essential in love of country. Cena separates pride from love. It agrees with what I said above, that pride is not an essential component of love of country. Cena mentioned American food, women, sports and other things Americans tend to be proud of, and these are commercialized objects. Apply this to the Philippines; we tend to be proud of our sports teams, our beauty queens, our food and boxers. But do we take the lesson and apply that love to ourselves and improve ourselves so we can do better? So because we have pride without love, the result is that we don’t love ourselves. Yes, that seems to be it: Filipino just don’t love themselves in the proper way, so they feel inferior.
Pride in something does not necessarily mean love for it. Yes, you can be proud of something and still fail to love it. For example, a father drives his son to be a doctor when it’s clear he’ll make a better architect. The parent hits the son for drawing a building and instead shouts at him to read surgery books. When the son grows and become a surgeon, the father boasts about his son being a surgeon. But when the son commits a mistake that leads to a patient’s death, the father will beat up the son because the son brought down the pride of the family. Even if the father can feel pride about his son, he does not really love his son. Having pride in something is not love for it.
6. Filipinos do have works and achievements. But it’s better not to draw attention to these works and achievements. Rather, let the works and achievements draw attention by themselves. Just ask yourself… if your works and achievements are not drawing the right kind of attention, should you actually still be doing them? Or are you after narcissistic glory? To quote a well-known verse, a tree is known by its fruits.
One other thing that dawned on me about Pinoy Pride is this: instead of an attempt to snatch victory from defeat, it is actually an admission of defeat. This is because the Filipino feels that they can no longer solve the problems that keep the country backward and down, so they resort to trying to draw attention away from those problems and to campaign for pride. Which, however, is already doomed, because a distraction tactic already means you are trying to hide the truth.
So if you really respect yourself and have nothing to worry about, there’s no need for a loud proclamation of pride. The solution to inferiority complex is simply to forget about it. Changing one’s thinking and to stop seeing everything as a competition or race are part of the solution. You will really be depressed if your goal is to win over others, but you know you can’t do it. Stop seeing life as something that should be won or lost, but as something to be lived.
While we congratulate Hidilyn Diaz, Pia Wurtzbach and others for their successes, let us remember that we should be emulating, not riding on, those successes.
I believe, as my cohorts here do, that what Filipinos embrace as their culture is what actually pulls the country down. And those who seem to be anti-dictators, who may also believe themselves to be “heroes,” are the real dictators.