March 05, 2021
A few days from now, it will already be a year since the country was placed under community quarantine. It was a long and difficult season that brought about so much uncertainty and anxiety, which amplified the already brewing frustrations among the people due to perceived lack of leadership.
And as if that’s not enough, we also experienced the destructive force of nature through typhoon Ulysses, which led to the loss of countless lives and livelihoods. Being hard-pressed by the peril of the pandemic and the cruelty of nature, it is but natural for us to turn our attention to the ones who swore their commitment to serve and take care of the people.
In our frustration, we demanded accountability from our government leaders. Many people pointed out how our government fell short in delivering what’s expected of them and decried how some politicians allegedly take advantage of the Filipino people’s resilience in order to cover up their shortcomings.
This gave rise to a new dichotomy: “Demand accountability, not resiliency.”
Let me say this clearly right off the bat: We need to embrace both.
It is important that we demand accountability from our elected leaders, and it is equally important that we embrace resilience in the face of crisis. These two important values do not have to be in conflict with each other. We need not sacrifice one to highlight the other, because doing so would cause us to have unwise and unhealthy views on life and leadership.
If we would only highlight the need for accountability without encouraging people to be resilient, we might end up with a defeatist mindset, thinking that we cannot do anything about our situation. Bringing up our concerns to the government is every citizen’s noble duty, but being resilient isn’t also a bad thing.
On the other hand, if we focus too much on preaching resilience to ourselves, we might end up having toxic positivity and neglect the errors and needs that have to be addressed.
We recognize our government’s efforts to lead and serve our nation, and we honor the hard-working public servants who usually have no share of the limelight. But we also believe there is still a big room for improvement.
As I think through the events last year in the lens of my personal suffering and pain, I realized that anyone who has gone through inevitable difficulties, pain, and suffering and who truly cares for people would wish his or her loved ones to have both: resilience and social awareness.
Before I realized that having both values will be much more beneficial than just having one and forsaking the other, I was confronted with the truth that I, too, am still growing, and most of the time, I’m also struggling to apply this in my life. May these realizations be of help to you as it was helpful to me.
You could gain greater emotional stability. Stability is not just based on your ability to grow and manage your resources. It is also about how you carry yourself, control your emotions, and handle your personal issues. People who are unstable in these areas find it difficult to adjust and adapt to real-life crises.
Whenever I recall my own moments of instability, I realize that these are moments when a negative situation triggers a deep-seated personal issue in my heart. For instance, you could have a sudden burst of emotional instability when, after being shamefully scolded by your teacher, you read about impunity in government.
These moments could be an opportunity to grow in self-awareness. As we desire greater emotional stability, we can be more aware of our knee-jerk responses during emotionally charged moments and can choose to respond differently. How we handle our emotions allows us to respond with a sound mind and in a non-anxious manner.
You could gain greater wisdom and maturity. Pursuing justice and accountability while embracing the value of resiliency allows us to grow in wisdom and maturity.
Wisdom is seen in our understanding of what’s right and just, and how we shun what is immoral and love what is pure. Maturity is seen in how we rise above our problems, deal with frustrations and disappointments, and respond to our circumstances instead of just allowing ourselves to be helpless victims.
This kind of maturity does not happen easily or instantly. We know that with the right attitude and perspective, the most difficult situations can serve as a “good soil” for us to keep growing in maturity.
You could develop a healthier outlook in life. One of the greatest discoveries I made in writing this article is knowing that my anxiety can be triggered or even amplified by the fear of not having a good quality of life or by seeing the depreciating quality of life.
We all want to have a good life. No one wakes up in the morning and genuinely desires a substandard or mediocre life. We may have different definitions of what a good life looks like, but we can all agree that having a good life has little to do with your possessions and has much to do with your perception.
I realized that while the quality of my life is affected by what happens around me, it is also determined by my outlook that shapes and influences my behavior and decision-making.
A good outlook desires for a better nation and better leaders. A person with a good outlook doesn’t just settle for mediocrity or injustice, but demands change and initiates change. In the same way, a good outlook motivates a person to not be discouraged by what he can’t instantly change, but to press on, rise above it, and dance through the winds and waves of life.
Demanding accountability from our government leaders is part of our civic and moral duties. Being resilient in the face of hardships is part of our national identity as a race. These two values go hand in hand in leading us towards a better future.