Da Pinoy is taking another beating – for good reason – because of stupid behavior and irrational beliefs. We, Pinoys need to learn more about handling the truth – because obviously, as a nation – we, Filipinos can’t handle the truth. We will rather believe that everything is A-okey and all is fine in the world – until another disaster strikes and exposes how our bad practices destroy the lives of many. We reacted angrily to the Desperate Housewives comment, yet the faux diploma retailers in Recto are thriving – if there is a demand, the supply will be found. We reacted angrily to Chip Tsao, seemingly indifferent to the fact that “there are on average around 140,000 Filipinos in Hong Kong, of whom most work as foreign domestic helpers. Filipino maids are known by the locals as feiyungs and the slang bun muis or bun buns. In some cases Filipino women with university degrees are willing to work as maids and nannies for the higher salary and better lifestyle they will receive in Hong Kong than they could make at home”. We elect irresponsible bozos and stupids into positions of responsibility, and we get miffed when told to get our sh*t together.
Come to think of it – before there was a comment on the behavior, there was the act – the illogical behavior itself. Though of course, we can debate which behaviors are believed to be illogical. Bottomline is, if we truly want to stop all the bad press – don’t shoot the messenger, stop acting stupidly. In feel-good-speak, change the behavior being singled out – is that hard to do? Obviously, to da Pinoy of the Palusot Society, it is hard.
BenK’s comment couldn’t have come at a better time when he quipt:
All the people who are quick to jump on Adam Carolla (who has never been anywhere near the list of people I think are entertaining or funny, btw) in righteous indignation are missing a pretty clear pattern of poor impressions the rest of the world has of this country. One Desperate Housewife or one Chip Tsao or one Adam Carolla could be passed off as a misinformed individual, but these “insults” come from all directions. Those who make them may – hypothetically, anyway – factually be wrong (although I personally don’t think so), but that’s really beside the point; the Philippines has a big image problem. Getting mad and screaming “We’re not really like that and you’re an asshole for saying it!” actually just makes it worse.
Adam Carolla may be a crass d*ckhead, but he was spot-on with just about everything he said (including the sex thing). And maybe the reason it stings so much (as did the DH thing, and the Chip Tsao thing) is that people actually realize he was right, and just don’t want to admit it to themselves — which, if you think about it, is the root cause of most of this country’s problems that give it the poor global image in the first place.
There is a clear disconnect between reality and – the Filipinos beliefs and views of this reality – insane to the membrane.
My inner Dr. Phil was wondering what can be done about this dysfunction. I started by reading up on self-esteem and ended in a page called Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy – REBT. Gadzooks another buzzword. What we don’t know will not hurt us? Yeah, tell that to a terminal cancer patient who regrets not taking the initial screening tests that could have prevented him from going terminal. Better to know, the early bird gets the worm ‘ika nga.
I know nothing about REBT. I just know something’s amiss – and REBT might be a viable framework for approaching this balat-sibuyas thingie. However, since I am not a licensed REBT practioner (obviously), it is best to cite the licensed professionals who are into this therapeUtic modality. Here’s a quick introduction on the topic from an REBT site.
What is REBT?
REBT (pronounced R.E.B.T. — it is not pronounced rebbit) is based on the premise that whenever we become upset, it is not the events taking place in our lives that upset us; it is the beliefs that we hold that cause us to become depressed, anxious, enraged, etc. The idea that our beliefs upset us was first articulated by Epictetus around 2,000 years ago: “Men are disturbed not by events, but by the views which they take of them.”
The Goal of Happiness
According to Albert Ellis and to REBT, the vast majority of us want to be happy. We want to be happy whether we are alone or with others; we want to get along with others—especially with one or two close friends; we want to be well informed and educated; we want a good job with good pay; and we want to enjoy our leisure time.
Of course life doesn’t always allow us to have what we want; our goal of being happy is often thwarted by the “slings and arrows of outrageous fortune.” When our goals are blocked, we can respond in ways that are healthy and helpful, or we can react in ways that are unhealthy and unhelpful.
The ABC Model
Albert Ellis and REBT posit that our reaction to having our goals blocked (or even the possibility of having them blocked) is determined by our beliefs. To illustrate this, Dr. Ellis developed a simple ABC format to teach people how their beliefs cause their emotional and behavioral responses:
A. Something happens.
B. You have a belief about the situation.
C. You have an emotional reaction to the belief.
A. Your employer falsely accuses you of taking money from her purse and threatens to fire you.
B. You believe, “She has no right to accuse me. She’s a bitch!”
C. You feel angry.
If you had held a different belief, your emotional response would have been different:
A. Your employer falsely accuses you of taking money from her purse and threatens to fire you.
B. You believe, “I must not lose my job. That would be unbearable.”
C. You feel anxious.
The ABC model shows that A does not cause C. It is B that causes C. In the first example, it is not your employer’s false accusation and threat that make you angry; it is your belief that she has no right to accuse you, and that she is a bitch. In the second example, it is not her accusation and threat that make you anxious; it is the belief that you must not lose your job, and that losing your job would be unbearable.
The Three Basic Musts
Although we all express ourselves differently, according to Albert Ellis and REBT, the beliefs that upset us are all variations of three common irrational beliefs. Each of the three common irrational beliefs contains a demand, either about ourselves, other people, or the world in general. These beliefs are known as “The Three Basic Musts.”
1. I must do well and win the approval of others for my performances or else I am no good.
2. Other people must treat me considerately, fairly and kindly, and in exactly the way I want them to treat me. If they don’t, they are no good and they deserve to be condemned and punished.
3. I must get what I want, when I want it; and I must not get what I don’t want. It’s terrible if I don’t get what I want, and I can’t stand it.
The first belief often leads to anxiety, depression, shame, and guilt. The second belief often leads to rage, passive-aggression and acts of violence. The third belief often leads to self-pity and procrastination. It is the demanding nature of the beliefs that causes the problem. Less demanding, more flexible beliefs lead to healthy emotions and helpful behaviors.
The goal of REBT is to help people change their irrational beliefs into rational beliefs. Changing beliefs is the real work of therapy and is achieved by the therapist disputing the client’s irrational beliefs. For example, the therapist might ask, “Why must you win everyone’s approval?” “Where is it written that other people must treat you fairly?” “Just because you want something, why must you have it?” Disputing is the D of the ABC model. When the client tries to answer the therapist’s questions, s/he sees that there is no reason why s/he absolutely must have approval, fair treatment, or anything else that s/he wants.
Albert Ellis and REBT contend that although we all think irrationally from time to time, we can work at eliminating the tendency. It’s unlikely that we can ever entirely eliminate the tendency to think irrationally, but we can reduce the frequency, the duration, and the intensity of our irrational beliefs by developing three insights:
1. We don’t merely get upset but mainly upset ourselves by holding inflexible beliefs.
2. No matter when and how we start upsetting ourselves, we continue to feel upset because we cling to our irrational beliefs.
3. The only way to get better is to work hard at changing our beliefs. It takes practice, practice, practice.
Emotionally healthy human beings develop an acceptance of reality, even when reality is highly unfortunate and unpleasant. REBT therapists strive to help their clients develop three types of acceptance: (1) unconditional self-acceptance; (2) unconditional other-acceptance; and (3) unconditional life-acceptance. Each of these types of acceptance is based on three core beliefs:
1. I am a fallible human being; I have my good points and my bad points.
2. There is no reason why I must not have flaws.
3. Despite my good points and my bad points, I am no more worthy and no less worthy than any other human being.
1. Other people will treat me unfairly from time to time.
2. There is no reason why they must treat me fairly.
3. The people who treat me unfairly are no more worthy and no less worthy than any other human being.
1. Life doesn’t always work out the way that I’d like it to.
2. There is no reason why life must go the way I want it to
3. Life is not necessarily pleasant but it is never awful and it is nearly always bearable.
As far as I am concerned, REBT makes sense. Maybe it can help us address our collective nonsense?
What do you think?
This enough I know, until we, Pinoys, don’t address this dysfunction – expect more jokes to come. And lots of us will not be laughing when the jokes are on us because we run our state of affairs like one big joke.
Get your shit together Philippines – that’s not a joke!