perla's pinay blog
If the cure to colonial mentality is a mental and spiritual decolonization then the cure to crab mentality has to be what I now call Shine Mentality.
In 2002, I remember speakiing to a group of women in the Manila at a Wowee! Workshop on women’s wisdom. When I told them that there is room in this world for everyone to shine because inside all women are fabulous—-I got a lot of unbelieving looks. A lot of women around the world, even in the United States, the birthplace of the term liberated woman, don’t believe that they’ve got fabulous-ness or the ability to shine within their own selves in the first place.
I know that most of those Filipino women, like me, were raised up to be quiet and demure—-keep your legs closed and your thoughts to yourself….etc, etc. Little do most of us mahinhin/lady like Filipinas realize that some of these tenets of femininity have suppressed our full expression of who we are and have prevented us from pursuing our dreams. It’s how we’re raised and how our environments influence us that cause us to limit ourselves, and to want to limit others too, even bring them down.
We all need to discover for ourselves how we can live life to the fullest and to also discover how we can want others to live to their fullest potential too. What keeps people from “shining”? What causes people to want others to not shine or to bring down others with their crab mentality?
Terms for shining and inner light are in our every day language…
I think you might be able to understand that people can shine by reviewing some terms in English people talk about how people shine.
The word “star” is a term used for celebrities who do well on the silver screen.
People like to describe smiles with “She has such a radiant smile.”
And people might talk about one’s characteristics with “he has such a sunny disposition.”
When one does well in their work they might get “glowing reviews.”
We like to give people we love (and who seem especially lovable) affectionate nicknames like “Sunshine,” “bituin.”
We might refer to something appealing in a person’s eye with “they have a twinkle in their eye” or “there was a sparkle in their eye.”
In the Philippine national anthem we use terms like “silanganan” (brightness) and “na nagniningning” (sparkle).
“Shooting star” is a term used for someone who is in the limelight or public stage for a brief period of time or for a charismatic public figure who has lived a short lifespan but still has inspired large numbers of people.
And we also have ways of saying a woman glows when she is not just externally beautiful but when she seems to radiate with internal beauty. We also don’t use the term “glow” for woman as we seem to also use it for any person when they seem to radiate with happiness.
What’s crab mentality?
When I came to the States, I finally heard the term “crab mentality.” Some Filipinos think crab mentality is a Filipino trait, but rather, it is a human trait that might happen be strong among a large number of Filipinos within various social settings regardless of geographic location.
The Wikipedia definition of crab mentality, as of this post, is:
“Crab mentality, sometimes referred to as crabs in the bucket, describes a way of thinking best described by the phrase “if I can’t have it, neither should you.” The metaphor refers to a pot of crabs. Individually, the crabs could easily escape from the pot, but instead, they grab at each other in a useless “king of the hill” competition (or sabotage) which prevents any from escaping and ensures their collective demise. The analogy in human behavior is that of a group that will attempt to “pull down” (negate or diminish the importance of) any member who achieves success beyond the others, out of jealousy, conspiracy or competitive feelings. “
“This term is broadly associated with short-sighted, non-constructive thinking rather than a unified, long-term, constructive mentality. It is also often used colloquially in reference to individuals or communities attempting to “escape” a so-called “underprivileged life”, but kept from doing so by others attempting to ride upon their coat-tails or those who simply resent their success.”
I think we all can see that crab mentality really is a human trait of envying others and of taking that negative feeling to negative action by pulling down the subject of one’s envy by insulting them, demeaning them, attacking them, gossiping about them and maybe even spreading lies about them.
In other forms it is like “keeping up with the Jones’,” an American (U.S.) term that means a competition between neighbors whereby they buy material goods to out do each other (cars, clothes, pools, furniture, etc.) in order to uplift the illusion of their status and worth in the neighborhood, society-at-large, or just in their own eyes.
I’d like to emphasize “illusion.” Because materialism and status as a source of one’s self worth does not bring real, long-lasting happiness, only very very brief happiness. In my own personal opinion, it’s all well and good to own nice things, and to be recognized for one’s accomplishments, but those things can be fleeting, and so I truly believe that the source of my happinesses are my loving relationships with my loved ones and friends, with my self, with my Kapwa(kindred souls, that is all humans and all Existence) and with God/Goddess/AllThatIs.
Ways I learned about Shine Mentality
The first way I learned about a “shine mentality” was through my relationships with my family and certain people who helped me feel good about myself. What was it about my family and about these certain people that made me feel good about myself? Well, I decided later on, when I was already a mother with three boys, that if there were people out there in the world who made me feel good about myself than I wanted to do the same for my kids, the people I love and do it consciously for other people, too.
The second way was by finding ways to help Filipinas shine online, through publishing sites for Filipinas(newfilipina.com and pinay.com). This first started out as a fiery, indignant, laptop activist attempt to fight stereotypes online but soon became a work of love for my sister Filipinas, my Kapwa Filipino and my mother’s motherland, the Philippines.
The third way I learned about Shine Mentality was by doing personal inner work and looking for Universal wisdom, and through that process I have learned that all people have a Light within them at their Source that needs to come out and shine on others and into the world.
Shine Mentality vs Crab Mentality
One of the things I learned about inner light was by learning the meaning of the sanskrit greeting “namaste” that is said with a bow to another person upon meeting or leaving them. One interpretation in English of “namaste” is “the Light within me greets the Light within You.” To be able to think in this way is so opposite of the keeping-up-with-the-Jones-way whereby people are thinking in their heads “the Mercedes Benze that I driving greets the BMW that you drive” or the “Coach bag and shoes I wear, greet the Gucci ones you wear.” The first is beautiful. Is the latter beautiful? NOT! It’s just petty and insubstantial from the Soul’s standpoint.
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Shine Mentality Rocks!
hey Perla! i love the Shine Mentality concept. i think this is one great idea that we, Filipinas (and all Filipinos too), should adopt to bring out the radiance, the warmth, the beauty, and the true value innately we possess. given the confidence, determination, and the chance, Filipinas could truly shine. and you’re right, shine mentality might be a good cure to crab mentality because with this frame of mind we will be more secure with ourselves, in what we have and who we are. we don’t have to pattern our way of life with others. rather we could better build our own unique identity without the negative factors such as jealousy, too much competition, and backstabbing. as i see it, the root of all these is envy, one of the seven most deadly sins.
i’ve just discovered Pinay.com the other day and was almost ecstatic that one Pinay finally had the audacity to create a genuine website “for and by Filipinas,” so i immediately registered. i’m sure many Pinays around the globe have the same good intention but perhaps have their own distinct way of making Pinays shine. but this site could be like our internet HQ, the perfect place to share our great ideas, achievements, interests, friendships, and even day-to-day thoughts that define us as we are. and, it’s accessible anywhere in the world. kudos to you, and thanks for creating Pinay.com!
Two thumbs up for shine mentality
Hi! I stumbled upon this website and immediately decided to sign up and be counted as a Pinay! I love your shine mentality concept. Through the inner searchings I have been doing, I realize we have it all within. All we need to do is find it—once we find our true selves and accept our entire being, then we can shine and the rest of the world will see the true beauty of the Filipino people.