Selflessness, Respect and Discipline

Many Filipinos, if not all, get up in the morning*, brave the chaotic morning rush and work almost tirelessly to help themselves and their families have a better life or maintain an already good one. (*timeframe relative to people’s jobs – this also applies to those who go to work in the afternoon, evening, midnight or dawn)

This brand of filial selflessness is something that I really like about our culture. But in the midst of everything, I’ve observed that some of our basic social values seemingly get lost or are deemed insignificant compared to our individual priorities, namely respect for strangers and surroundings, and discipline. Yes, we are highly respectful to our elders and work or school superiors, but not to people we encounter and commute with, nor to the environment.

So many times have I seen people here cutting lines (or allowing friends to cut in line), shoving other people without apologizing, not giving enough space on the train for entering or alighting passengers, not following designated signs and nonchalantly throwing small pieces of trash on the ground unless there is a strict person of authority lurking around and disciplining them. Many of us have been used to such behavior that we already think those things are normal and we don’t “get in line” unless we are told to.

I’ve also experienced really bad displays of customer service that reflect the lack of basic respect and discipline. I’ve waited in line for an hour for a bus without the bus company explaining or apologizing to us for the delay.  This happened twice. I’ve said “excuse me”, or have had to clear my throat just so a couple of sales staff chatting with each other would entertain me. This has happened to me many times.

My question now is why? Why does it seem that many of us can be selfless for our families, friends and other loved ones, and selfish to everyone else?

Is it because of the dog-eat-dog-world mentality that many of us and our elders have that have forced us to care just for ourselves, families and friends, but not for those outside our social circles nor the world around us? Are we really all so angsty and jaded?

Is it because the messages that we only treat masses or services as rituals and we let our spiritual leaders’ messages on respect and discipline fly over our head after we head outside the church?

Is it because our state-sponsored basic education system previously did not cover good morals and right conduct?

Is it because many of us are enjoying the freedoms that democracy bought us, freedoms that were almost absent during the Marcos era?

I am sure that there are psychological and sociological reasons for it.  Yet despite these reasons, I think that this is something that we can still improve on and turn around.

Our country would be so much more fun to be in if we can be a little more selfless, respectful and disciplined towards others.

Empowerment against Sexual Assault

One of the issues I really feel strongly about is sexual assault against females.

What concerns me the most about it is not just its prevalence in society around the globe. What concerns me most is that female sexual assault victims are blamed or looked down upon because of the way they dress, carry themselves or where they work, when it fact, a woman’s clothing, job nor demeanor does not matter for someone who wants to be sexually assaulted. No female ever “asks for it”.
Advocacy - Anti-Sexual Assault

Image Source: safercampus tumblr 

There are many ways on how a woman may prevent herself from being sexually assaulted. She may choose to dress modestly, take up a high-paying white-collar job rather than be a model and go to parties less, and get drunk less – and when she does go out, she may surround herself with many friends. She may also take up self-defense classes so that she can combat men or anyone who has that intent of sexually assaulting her. She may join the anti-sexual movement and educate herself on the issue itself. But even if many women or even all women empower themselves emotionally, physically and mentally, the intent to sexually assault still remains.
And that’s why I think that it’s very important to educate everyone about sexually assault to lessen the prejudices stemming from our masculine society and more importantly, lessen their occurrences to the point that they diminish. The first that we have to really educate are our boys and men. There’s this quote that goes like this, which I agree to wholeheartedly:

Advocacy - Teach Our Sons to Be Decent Men

Basically, apart from empowering females as a whole here in the Philippines, we have to teach our boys and men to respect girls and women. We also have to teach everyone to be more open-minded about the choices of others in terms of clothing, work and career and demeanor and not discriminate according to those choices.

If we educate, open minds and empower everyone – men and women, straight or from the LGBTQA community, then our society will be a much friendlier and safer place to live in.

Choosing Your Battles Wisely

When we are uncomfortable with thoughts, words and actions inconsistent to our beliefs, it’s either we choose to keep our thoughts to ourselves, or we voice out our disagreements until our throats become sore.

I’m the type that would voice my own opinion, rather than keep it to myself. I also made the mistake of thinking that being opinionated means being correct. So many times did I think that shoving my beliefs on politics, gender equality, racial equality and acceptance of various faiths down others’ minds was correct.  If someone thought otherwise, I felt like I had the moral obligation to correct them in a strong, determined voice, and rid the world of every type of oppression. If they disagreed, I immediately thought that their thinking was the reason why humanity has failed to be human.

I have always thought that if everyone was politically correct and liberal in thinking, then life would be a lot better. I hold true to that belief. Yet I have also learned to not fight it out every time until someone concedes to my side. I have learned to keep quiet, understand another person’s history and reasons for holding onto such beliefs, respect their preferences, and am finding ways to engage them better for the good of all.

It’s a challenge, but through choosing the battles I wish to fight, and by learning to engage people in the conflicts I chose, it has made me feel more relaxed, calm and well, happy. I’ve also learned how great this has been to me in terms of maintaining good relationships. Overall it’s a good thing for me.

How about you? Did picking battles work for you?

Thanks again for reading my post! Hope you’re having a great weekend!

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