In the Philippines, and especially in the countryside, it is a general practice for people to accord respect largely on the basis of the person’s age and status (economic, professional, educational).
In fact, it’s a given. Maybe even imposed.
When someone is older or of a ‘higher’ status, they automatically ‘deserve’ or earn respect from those who are younger or of a ‘lower’ status.
I don’t necessarily agree with such a tradition, more so since it has been abused and misused.
But it is a cultural thing.
Respect is regarded as a huge part of the Filipino culture — unfortunately, including the Filipinos’ distorted view and practice of it.
What do I mean?
Those who are older or of a ‘higher’ status behave in a way that they expect, even demand respect. They expect preferential treatment. They feel ‘entitled.’
It is also a general understanding that elders are to be ‘respected’ — i.e., obeyed and followed — all the time.
Not everyone abides by this and those who don’t are considered ‘rebels’ — such as moi. So be it.
I refuse to follow such a tradition. I uphold a completely different belief.
I believe that respect is so much more than “a feeling of admiring someone or something that is good, valuable, important, etc., or a feeling or understanding that someone or something is important, serious, etc., and should be treated in an appropriate way.”
What is lacking — and probably highly misunderstood, if not overlooked — is the other definition of respect that is “a particular way of thinking about or looking at something.” (Definition source: http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/respect)
And it has become clearer to me that the misunderstanding about what respect truly means and encompasses is one factor that contributed to my recent stressful experience at the resort — still to be completed and resolved. (I blogged about that here, here, here and here.)
The lack of respect towards me stems from the difference in how we define and view it.
They are not of the belief or understanding that respecting another includes how you think about or look at something or someone.
When we respect one another, we let each other be.
We do not judge each other.
We do not question anyone’s choices.
We do not find anything ‘wrong’ even if, especially if someone’s choice is different from ours.
We may not agree with what they’re choosing. We may not be comfortable with it. We may not even understand what their choice is — and we can never agree on or understand everything anyway — but what we need to do is to simply allow them. Leave them be. Leave them to their choices and preferences.
Who are we to question? Who are we to say what’s ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ for someone? Who are we to decide what’s for the best interest of another? Who are we to have the authority over how someone chooses to live their life? Who are we to mind other people’s business?
Minding other people’s business instead of our own. Being nosy. Such is a Filipino cultural thing.
Sure, being nosy may not be unique to the Filipino, but it is a Filipino trademark. And every Filipino knows that. He or she may not be proud of it, but we Filipinos know that to be a fact.
So, here I am, a deviant in a country — my country of origin paradoxically. A country whose people have yet to learn how to be comfortable (aka non-judgmental) with differences and diversity, particularly when such comes from their fellow countrymen.
How can you not be like us? Why are you different? Why are you choosing differently?
These are some of the underlying questions behind the Filipino’s displaced inquisitiveness — “pakikialam” as we call it in this country.
But I am not like them. I’m different from the average, typical Filipino. Heck, I’m different from the average, ‘normal’ human being! In fact, I consider myself ‘not normal!’ 🙂 Is it any surprise that I am a target of their nosiness? 🙂
And for someone like me who is quite sensitive to subtle energies, it doesn’t matter if their prying is explicit or not. Words are not necessary for me to feel the ‘non-acceptance’ concealed behind their inquisitiveness.
The questioning. Prying energies. The nosiness.
Admittedly, such energies can make me feel uncomfortable, especially when I’m bombarded all the time. It’s an invasion of my privacy. An intrusion of my space.
“Consider that there can be purpose and meaning in your different energy; that by simply living your life you are bringing new energy into further recognition.” ~ Elisabeth Y. Fitzhugh, author of Dancers Between Realms: Empath Energy, Beyond Empathy (p. 20).
I’m being given yet another opportunity to express who and what I am — no matter how different I am from the majority. To bring my energy, my “new energy into further recognition.” And hopefully, eventually, into full and complete acceptance — not just in this country but by the rest of humanity.
Who I am, my choices, my lifestyle and practices, my thinking and beliefs, values and principles — everything and anything that is part of my make-up — people simply need to learn to see it for what it is.
No judging. No labelling. No questioning.
And there’s no need for others to agree or to even understand.
They simply need to respect it. Respect who and what I AM.
And when they don’t — be it because they refuse to or they don’t know how — it is then an opportunity for me to ask for what I want, need, and deserve.
No one is exempted from it. No one needs to do anything to earn or deserve it.
“Every single person you come in contact with on a daily basis deserves respect. It is not up to you to judge where they came from, what they have done in the past, who they are, what they are wearing/thinking or where they are going. They are human and, therefore, should be treated equally. If, for some reason they choose to show you otherwise, then the perception can be altered as your free will dictates. The Universe does no less for you! ~ Creator” (Source: http://thecreatorwritings.wordpress.com/)
May we accord respect to each and every being that we interact with — regardless of their choices and preferences.
May we ask for respect when it isn’t accorded us because we all deserve it.
May we wake up to the day when there is no need anymore for anyone to ask for it.
Respect is, after all, everyone’s birthright — regardless.
😀 ⭐ ❤ ⭐ 😀