by Apolinario B Villalobos
Have you ever woke up one morning and asked yourself, “What now? Where am I going? Can I make it?”. Or, have you ever been nagged by the thought that you will never make it – have enough savings for your retirement, pay off the mortgage of the house, buy the plane tickets for your family for that needed reunion in your province, pass the exam, make your girlfriend give you a nod for long overdue marriage, etc.
Of course we know that the pangs of uncertainties and longing resulting from those thoughts are what we call depression.
Depression has got a lot to do with our being one with ourselves. We can do away with it if we will just be honest with ourselves, by accepting the kind of a person we are, what we are capable of doing, and most especially by being who we are.
Simply put, if we do not achieve what we are longing for, we get disappointed and eventually depression sets in. But if we are convinced that we can do more because we know that we really can do more, then the feeling of being challenged will not give way to disappointment. Disappointment is the dead end of all our struggles. We should not let it block our aspirations.
We should be honest with ourselves. We should accept the kind of a person that we are. As we are Filipinos, let us accept that fact. Being a Filipino runs in our blood. We cannot put on another face permanently that will show the influence of other cultures. Putting on a face of another culture is different from “using” the good influence. This is the mistake of those who have ventured to other countries. They try very hard to be what they “have become” in other countries. Pretension will never give them peace.
It is ridiculous to note that most of Filipino balikbayans make it a point that their being such will show by speaking in a “wursh wursh English” with so many punctuation of “y’ know” to camouflage their lack of a word-stock of that foreign lingo.
I believe in the adage “when in Rome, act like a Roman”. But being a Roman should be left behind once one leaves Rome. It will not do you good, if you insist on being still an “American” as you set foot on the Philippine soil, by insisting on American food, doing things the American way, etc. The best thing that you can do is apply what good influence you have absorbed – never the bad ones. Common sense shall tell you what those good influences are.
The culture of Rome is not “pure”. It is influenced by “good” cultures of other empires during the Golden Era. It has given Rome the advantage which made her flourish and dominate even those that influenced her. This is a lesson that we should learn. Lessons can also be learned from our fellow Asians – the Chinese, the Japanese, the Thais, the Indians. In other countries have you ever took notice what foods first class restaurants or simple food counters in malls serve and what kind of recipes international cookbooks contain? Seldom if ever can you find one that spells Filipino!
We feel pushed, edged out by being unlisted. It gives us that feeling of uneasiness and again – disappointment. And, whose fault is it now? Blame our pretensions! Those who have breathed the American air for even just a year, already act like Americans, those who have shivered in a few months of European winter, already think that they are Germans, Belgian, Dutch, etc. This pretension is never complete without a bleached skin and a “blondied” hair – the better for them to look more like an occidental.
If we can only maintain a strong feeling that we are Filipinos even while in other countries, then we are being one with ourselves, which then gives us a peace of mind. Take note of the dreaded thing called “unguarded moments”. No matter what, our being a Filipino will always show in any way. That is why, if you keep on covering it up because you are ashamed to be known as a Filipino, but it shows just the same during unguarded moments, it will only be you who should be blamed for such embarrassment that will result to sleepless nights!
We should rejoice at the success of others. One who has become successful means reduction of the number of those needing help. We should not feel bad about their success. We should not be jealous. Their success should give us inspiration to strive more and harness our ability to the fullest. Jealousy is a negative feeling that eats up a good portion of our sensibilities. Such feeling affects our emotion and the beating of our heart. It gives us nightmares resulting to loss of good sleep, hence, dreary mornings. It makes us scowl at the thought of the successful one resulting to ugly lines in our face. The feeling removes the smile lines that should give us that sunshine look.
In school, jealousies cannot be avoided among students in their effort to win friends and the attention of professors. This happens most especially among the achievers, the deans listers. The affluent are waylaid by the comfort of steady financial flow from the pockets of their well-off parents. They are blinded by what they can do with their money – buy passing marks. This feeling of security don’t give them a damn if they spend nights out scouring gay joints at night and forget exams the next day. At the end of the course, diplomas are given, but has something been really learned by them? What shall they use as tools in the cutthroat competitive field of employment? How can they possibly answer questions during interviews when they do not even grasped fully what the course they have finished is all about? Disappointments as expected result from years of unemployment. That is depression for them.
We should think of others’ sake. As much as possible, let us think of how we can help others. We should feel contented with what we already have. At the start of the day, we should count our blessings and thank Him for those. The rest of what we have, the excess, we should give or at least share with those needing help. Unfortunately, we always think of sharing in the form of material things. It is a wrong notion. We can also share sympathy and time. A simple concern can put somebody with surmounting problems at ease. A sympathy in the form of a pat on the back can buoy up the spirit of a friend who just failed in a certain undertaking. An hour of your time spent beside the hospital bed of a sick friend who needs to talk to somebody could lessen his pain of loneliness. A few minutes shared with a friend who has just failed an exam, can give him that much needed consolation and encouragement.
The universe is vast – infinite. Each of us is just but an insignificant dot in it. Though how much we think of ourselves as just an insignificant dot in the universe, however, the One who created us thinks otherwise. Each one of us is an important part of His infinite mechanism. Each one of us has a role to play. The universe is just like a clock that ticks and keep on running because of the well-functioning parts. We are those parts.
Also, we may put it this way. Each one of us is a peculiar shape in the universe. Each shape corresponds to a space in the universe which is some kind of a jigsaw puzzle. I could be a square, you could be rectangle, others could be a hexagon, a triangle, an oblong, etc. In other words, each one of us, with a role to play has a distinct shape. Each person is distinctly different from the rest. In other words, not everybody can be managers, mayors, electricians, teachers, etc, – of the same caliber. The difference is in the “quality” of each of us that shows in how we do things. I may be a waiter, but there are so many waiters around. The distinction now comes in “how” I do my job as a waiter – making me a kind of person “distinctly different” from other waiters. The way I do my job is the kind of shape I am in this universe. That is the different “me” in the universe.
We can strengthen our world by fitting in rightly into the space assigned to us. Leaving a space by not being what we should be will make it crumbly.
Why not take a second look at yourself to know who you really are, for the sake of others, our world, our universe? Be one with yourself and have a peace of mind.