25 Apr The Greatest Love of All: Ang Kantang Dapat Isabuhay Ngunit Paano?

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TITLE_GREATEST

The greatest love of all
Is easy to achieve
Learning to love yourself
It is the greatest love of all

JUAN SAYS: That song originally sang by George Benson in 1977 and was popularized by Whitney Houston in 1885 has set the tone for the “love yourself” worldwide phenomenon. In the Philippines, this hit has been sung a million times by children and adult as well, as they belted out their best in singing competitions at every level, be it in the barangay or the “Tawag ng Tanghalan” on television. Sadly, many singers and wannabe singers have gone as far as memorizing each line without actually understanding what the lyrics meant. It is to our belief that the concept of “loving yourself” thereby, “self-respect” and “self-worth” is still a foreign concept amongst many Filipinos 32 years hence.

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Self-worth/Self-respect, it is the premium, the value you put on yourself vis-a-vis others. It is the boundaries you set for yourself to keep you sane. Boundaries? What is that to many of us? When we were actually taught the concept of submission, to rely upon our partners to bring us happiness, love, loyalty, respect and yes, the daily sustenance we need to live – money.

In our many conversations with many women, we have realized that the concept of self-worth was never taught in Religion classes nor Values Ed. We were taught how to be good mothers, good wives, good citizens of this society, but never to be good to ourselves. To put ourselves first in love and friendship was perceived to be selfish. To put ourselves above our husbands and children was downright wrong. Sila muna bago ikaw. Then we begin to lose ourselves, to put ourselves in boxes. Our performances in the many roles we play in this society – our rating as mothers, wives, bosses, employees – have begun to define who we are, letting us lose our personalities, our voices, and who we are in general. And that tradition of placing the husband’s surname after our own has just nailed it for most of us. We now become someone else’s property, we belong to someone and we no longer belong to ourselves.

The bible nor Quran doesn’t do much help when it has practically omitted the number of women in children in most of its statistics. People of long ago belonged to a tribe, headed by a male species, putting an indelible mark on every woman as that man’s property. Though we have heard stories of women in the bible, but we believe that it is limited, or shall we say, limiting to the countless roles women have played during those times before Christ. Queen Esther submitted herself to the King to save her people, Ruth married Boaz not out of love, but out of need. Even Abigail, Leah, Sarah didn’t have a say on the men that they married, they were just “sold” by their fathers just because they were supposed to be that.

This knowledge was then transferred to us by our ancestors, those who were gravely taught by the Catholic friars of what marriage, love and the roles that women play in the home, ought to be. Our great grandparents diligently followed religion no matter if they were emotionally, physically and psychologically battered by their philandering husbands. They were taught to cry it out inside the bedroom and never to hang their dirty linens for everyone to see.

But times have changed. More and more women are awakened, not by the church – the edifice which we religious people could have found solace to – but by western thinking that we, women do have rights. Both men and women have the capacity to love themselves first before anything. That loving oneself is not selfish, but a necessary “act of love” to propel us to a better tomorrow, to a better vision of ourselves on where we are at.

We believe that the best foundation for any relationship is this – when both parties learn to love themselves first before loving others because you can never give anyone what you do not have. Loving yourself, knowing your worth, and respecting yourself begets loving other people, knowing their worth and respecting them for who they are. Someone who was not loved whole heartedly by his or her parents will not have the love to give his or her own family. Wala kasing paghuhugutan. Pwedeng pag-aralan, but surely it will take an awful lot of time. A person who is surrounded by people who have screwed up values will not be able to stand on their own and win against the screwed up mentality of these people. Bad company corrupts good character. And that is a fact.

A person who has no self-worth nor self-respect will continue to compromise themselves and accepting half love just because. A person who is exposed to worthless people will find themselves worthless in the long run. Pagtityagaan mo na lang kung anong meron ka sa paligid, kaysa wala.

We are shocked to find that there is still a vast majority who think that love, relationships, friendships mean compromising one’s morals just to get what they want. Bakit ba hinahayaan nating bumaba ang presyo ng ating dignidad? Dahil yun lang ang alam natin. Dahil yun ang akala nating tama.

The relationships you have, the manner at which you conduct yourselves at work or even in the society and our families, is a reflection of your self -espect. We can never be good wives if we don’t speak up out of fear. Yung sinasaktan ka na ng paulit-ulit pero tinitiis mo na lang kasi asawa mo na. Yung ginugulpi ka kasi trip lang niya. Yung harap-harapang nambababae o nanlalalaki siya dahil wala, makati lang talaga. Asan ang respeto? At anong respeto ang ibibigay sayo ng mga anak mo kung hahayaan mo na lang na paulit-ulit kang ginaganito? Anong gusto mong matutunan ng sarili mong anak sa kabulastugang hinahayaan mong maghari sa bahay ninyo?

Ang umuwi ng lasing at sumusuka? Ang tumambay sa kanto para makipag-inuman? Ano ang imahe na gusto mong ipakita sa mga anak mo kung hinahayaan mong ganito ang asawa mo?

Hindi namin naiintindihan kung saan tama ang magtiis, ang magpasensya at magmahal kung naaapektuhan na ang kinabukasan ng pamilya. Hindi namin naiintindihan kung asan ang sinasabing PAGMAMAHAL kung hindi naman kasama ang RESPETO.

It’s true, we don’t understand because we are not going through this. We live in our little bubbles of a semi-perfect family. Pero tanong lang, lahat ba ng kati kailangang kamutin? Hindi ba talaga pwedeng umalis na lang sa lugar na puno ng lamok para wag ng kagatin at mangati? Again, we firmly believe in choices. But choices come from the premium, the value that we put on ourselves. And there, again, goes the cycle.

You can’t make the right choices if you do not have self-respect. You can never choose yourself if you don’t know your worth. You will never know your worth if you keep on riding the cycle of fucked up decisions made by fucked people. You have to step out of the boat to walk on water. Again, that is a choice.

 

 

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