By this time of the year, I’m pretty sure we’ve all heard our fair share of speeches from valedictorians and have scrolled through countless long posts on our timelines from people who want to thank every single person who’s ever helped them get through whatever milestone they’ve just achieved. However, a recurring theme in these speeches is that the people who write them never seem to give themselves enough credit for what they have done.
Filipino culture raised us to be humble, that being anything other than that is being narcissistic. This isn’t exclusive to academic achievements either. Filipino humility follows us on a daily basis and it’s so ingrained in our society that we don’t even notice how it affects us day by day.
A very common example is when people compliment us and tell us we look pretty, we shy away and deny it. When people tell us we’re good at doing something, we point out another person who might be better or make a joke out of it to appear as if we don’t agree, Because apparently nothing is worse than a person who knows they look good or a person who knows they’re good at their job.
The self-deprecating jokes can be funny at first, but when you’re constantly lowering yourself in order to please other people’s egos, it impacts you in a negative way. It’s hard to live up to one’s full potential when you’re constantly trying not to appear like you’re bragging about something.
This brand of “humility” often starts at home. In a majority of Filipino households, children’s opinions aren’t usually given much value. They are put in the metaphorical backseat of family relationships where they must be quiet and not speak out about things that bother them lest they offend their elders.
Our relatives are allowed to show us off, but if we show ourselves off suddenly our achievements aren’t worth as much because it’s “pagyayabang” (being arrogant).
Di kasalanan ni Bobbie na magaling siya 🙁
Confidence is often mistaken for conceit in this country. When a person is confident in themselves or their success, people become wary of them, as if confidence is some sort of negative trait when in fact most people are just intimidated by it. Why? Filipino humility.
However, I’m here to tell you that you should be confident. You should own your achievements and success because they are yours. It’s your name on that promotion, it’s your name on that diploma. Smile and say thank you when you get compliments. Tell people you worked hard to be good at what you do. Encourage them and tell them that they can do the same!
Spread positivity instead of unnecessary negativity. This won’t only help you feel good, but you could be inspiring other people to do the same.
And don’t get me wrong. It’s not that you shouldn’t thank the people who helped you because we must always be thankful for those who helped us get to where we are now. But if you really think about it, if you hadn’t woken up and gotten ready to face the day, if you hadn’t studied hard or trained yourself to do better, if you hadn’t pushed yourself to your limits and improved on yourself on your own, you wouldn’t be where you are now.
Thank your gods and your stars and all of your living relatives, but save yourself some gratitude as well. After all, you were the one who did the work.
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