The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed a lot of ills around us. Be they physical, social, or emotional; whether locally or globally, it’s clear that the virus’ adverse effects have spread a lot faster than the virus itself. Among those ills are quick finger pointing and how we take criticism.
Ok, but how so?
We all know that people in the public eye, especially top government officials, have received a lot of flak for their pronouncements. For instance, one senator remarked that healthcare workers should just do their jobs better hours after medical frontliner leaders pleaded to return Mega Manila to enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) status.
Then there’s also a top government spokesman who appeared so proud to first, have beaten the University of the Philippines’ COVID-19 count projection and second, have a low fatality rate.
Of course, there’s the boss who after hearing the pleas of the healthcare workers, accuses them of staging a revolt.
Point blank: I and many others find their comments rather disheartening. It feels like the medical frontliners and the COVID-19 patients were vilified. And even if the chief says that COVID-19 is the enemy, it just doesn’t sound that way. But I’ll save that point for perhaps another time. Nonetheless, I feel that these three pronouncements were said out of whim.
With all these kinds of words and their corresponding reactions flying around online and into our respective consciousness, it may be good to ask if we ourselves fall into the trap of unabated and careless speech or expression in our personal lives. Have we or do we say such things that burn instead of building bridges?
There are times that I am guilty of lashing out at people who wish to correct or call me out. Just like the three people I mentioned above, I have that tendency of making those people looking after me look bad. And correct me if I’m wrong. I think it’s really a (negative) Pinoy trait. I’ve observed through the years that a good number of us Filipinos have this ayaw magpatalo mentality. Ma-pride din tayo, eh.
For instance, when the ECQ began last summer, my wife and I would argue over the need to take a bath every time after I come from outside, even from just the lobby of our condo building. I would tell her, “Ang super strict naman ng rules mo!” But I also understood that she had lupus, one of those autoimmune diseases. So, meaning she was vulnerable for COVID-19. I had the knowledge, but instead of reacting with compassion, I even managed to do some ridicule. Though I had sought for understanding since things haven’t sunk into my consciousness yet, I still chose to apologize because it was the right thing to do.
So what am I saying? First, let’s learn to listen to constructive criticism. And try listening well for the good points. If we have that tendency to lash out, I tell you that it pays to be patient. Second, let’s think twice before we open our mouths. And if we fail to do so and in the process, hurt our loved ones or other parties, then say sorry. Remember that in any situation, there are leaders, but no one can claim superiority, except for God.
While it’s good and it’s our responsibility to call out our leaders (because we pay them their salaries), it’s also good to check on ourselves. The last thing we want to happen is to become the ogre we detest.