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National and Personal Insecurity

I read an interesting blog post the other day, which was more or less a rant and reaction to how insecure we could be as a people over trivial matters.  This all started because some lady blogged about how bad Filipino food is; it seems a lot of people went crazy over the comments of some random person who isn’t a real food authority anyway.  Beyond that, our reaction as a people says something about the seemingly deep-seated insecurity that we have in our psyches.

The Uncultured: On Filipino Cuisine, Racism, and Bloggers Who Buy Longganisa from 7/11

Maybe, the Philippines isn’t perfect and neither are her people.

Maybe the reason so many of us jump to murder whenever a real foreigner criticizes us and our own, is that far from feeling indignation, we’re all actually a little guilty. We act like the criticism, even if it’s unfounded, is a dirty secret we don’t want to get out. We’re all cheating spouses who, once questioned why our boxers or panties have pink lipstick stains on them, defend ourselves by calling the other partner a cheater. It’s as if, in our deepest heart of hearts, we have something to hide. That maybe, the Philippines isn’t perfect and neither are her people. The truth is, though, everyone already knows that. It’s futile to keep up the act, we’re really not fooling anyone. Come on, we’re the country of which two out of its last three presidents have been arrested and whose youth are fleeing the nation in droves for better opportunities elsewhere.

On the risk of sounding like a Disney movie, I really believe our priority as a people should be learning to love ourselves first. Stop accepting all the messed up stuff about our nation, from falling buses to comicbook-level evil politicians, as being the status quo and start making an effort to change them. We really need to be hopeful, to be optimistic again. Then, maybe, in the future, whenever some sad little girl proudly declares she’d rather die of starvation than have to suffer through the grotesque horror that is Filipino cuisine, we can all just smile, laugh, and move on. If nothing else, it will do wonders for the collective blood pressure of our entire nation.

I’ve given our sense of insecurity some thought.  I feel the reasons why we would be insecure about anything apply not just as a collective group but as individuals, too.  And speaking from my own experience at least, I know such is true.

What are the possible reasons for being insecure?

  1. We don’t have the truth.  The truth is still the truth even if no one believes it and prefers to believe a lie instead.  When the truth is exposed we become defensive when it runs contrary to what we preach and how we live, sometimes still stubbornly clinging to our false beliefs and defending it to the death even if it has proven to be false.  And I think this happens when we’ve invested too much of ourselves in the lie, for whatever reason, to accept anything else.
  2. We’re not confident in our own beliefs or abilities because there were instances when reality proved contrary to what we want to believe is true.  We might have had certain assumptions on how the world is supposed to work, but reality has proven otherwise, and so we’re not so sure anymore.
  3. We have low self-esteem in our identity as individuals and as a people.  The best example of this is how we find relations to international celebrities that can boost our esteem; when there is even a hint that an international celebrity has a bit of our lineage, we trump it up.  Such is the case for some personalities like Jessica Sanchez, Rob Schneider and Bruno Mars.  Per our local celebrities, we give them acclaim partly because they have a bit of foreign blood in their own lineage; it’s rare that we see a “pure Filipino” among our actors and actresses and other personalities.  We seek to highlight the “foreign heritage” and highlight that in our advertisements, as if they truly represent the masses.  We still have a strong sense of colonial mentality expressed in another way; it’s sad to see that we are our own racists!

I think a good indication of being insecure is when we try to bring down other people, primarily to boost our own ego.  We label them whatever to make ourselves feel like they’re not that highly regarded anyway, or they’re also at our level at the very least.

Another possible sign of insecurity is lack of humility.  It’s important to have a sense of pride.  But there is such a thing as too much pride to the point of arrogance, refusing to recognize that we don’t have a monopoly of the truth and rejecting the notion that other people could also be right, that we actually have defects and weaknesses because we’re also not perfect.  If we really have the truth by our side then it will speak for itself; we don’t need to butcher our dogma in the faces of those who have a dissenting opinion.  Unfortunately instead of dialogue, we become the mob and out-shout and shoot down any opposition.

Provided that we have the truth by our side, we can be secure with ourselves regardless of what other people think of us.  We will not be able to please everybody, and so we should take any criticism that’s’ hurled at us in the right perspective.  After all, at the end of the day the truth shall always prevail.  For all we know, the other party is the one that’s insecure about his particular beliefs, and so is spilling his vitriol in his defense.

That being said, we need to be humble enough to recognize that we don’t know everything.  We could also be wrong and others could actually know better.  We must remain open to the possibility that there is something about us that could actually be better, and so we ought to take the feedback and use it constructively to become better as individuals and as a nation.

Rather than be insecure about something, let’s recognize the insecurity and use it as a point for further reflection and improvement, and act accordingly.

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Categories: Ideas and Philosophy

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