Thursday, September 28, 2006

The Country on the Couch

About two years ago, I struggled through a dangerously low level of self-esteem, coupled with a near-nervous breakdown. It wasn't pretty, and I couldn't tell my family. Very few actually know about it. Thank God I had friends who went out of their way to help me through the ordeal. Their presence allowed me to go into that zone where I could redirect the way I thought about my life and myself.

I would sometimes remember those self-destructive thoughts when I read the opinion columns in the papers or listen to news commentary on the radio. In some weird way, I was hearing myself again, the negativity of it all. When something good happens, there'd be a critic ready to pounce and crush it, or there'd be an urgent piece of sensationalized bad news standing by to overshadow it.

And as I write this entry I wonder: does the Philippines have a self-esteem problem?

When I look at this list from Inner Works Publishing, I can't help but feel that it describes what the Philippines is going through as a nation. If the Philippines, its collective population, were a person, these are her issues, which may well be how Filipinos view other Filipinos, the Philippine government, the Philippine media, etc. (italics mine):
  • Self-blame, self-criticism, or constantly putting others down through guilt, blame, shame, or faultfinding. Finding forgiveness difficult.
  • Playing the victim, rationalizing that outside circumstances are the causes of your problems.
  • Not taking responsibility for your own life; turning power over to another to make decisions for you, then feeling victimized if the results are not to your liking.
  • Constantly comparing yourself to others, thereby feeling inferior or superior.
  • Speaking with lots of shoulds, oughts, could haves, and yes-buts.
  • Constant negativity or being so optimistic that reality is denied
I guess being governed for centuries by foreigners did this to her, and that the challenge to changing this shouldn't rest on who presides over her government, but more on how she perceives herself.

So, how should the change start?

3 comments:

Jac said...

Thanks for the insight :) I wrote a story before going along exactly those lines, where our ation is personified into a Pinay named 'Luzviminda' ;D

Anonymous said...

i never knew you went into a state like this. you always sounded happy. you should have traveled to morocco with me.

Carver said...

jac...ano na'ng nangyari sa kuwento? :)

anonymous... Ups and downs, no different from anyone else. But Morocco would've been lovely...

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