Filipino culture is a rich tapestry woven from the threads of our ancestors’ beliefs, traditions, and values. It is an intricate mix of the indigenous, the colonial, and the modern, making it unique and fascinating.
Central to this culture are the values we hold dear, values that define who we are as a people and guide us in our daily lives. One of these core values is ‘Amor Propio’.
What is Amor Propio?
‘Amor Propio’ is a Spanish phrase that translates to ‘self-love’ or ‘self-respect’ in English. It is one of the foundational Filipino values that influences how we interact with others and how we view ourselves.
Amor Propio is about having a sense of self-worth and pride, and not allowing oneself to be belittled or demeaned by others. It encompasses self-respect, self-esteem, and dignity.
Importance of Amor Propio
Amor Propio is deeply ingrained in the Filipino psyche. It is the value that teaches us to respect ourselves, to have a sense of dignity, and to take pride in who we are and what we do.
This is important because when we respect ourselves, it is easier for others to respect us as well. It influences how we carry ourselves, how we interact with others, and how we handle challenges and conflicts.
Having Amor Propio also means having a strong sense of identity. It is about knowing who we are, understanding our strengths and weaknesses, and accepting ourselves for who we are.
This sense of identity is crucial for our mental and emotional well-being, and it influences how we relate to others and how we navigate the world around us.
Amor Propio also involves setting boundaries and not allowing others to take advantage of us. It is about standing up for ourselves and asserting our rights when necessary.
This is important in maintaining healthy relationships and ensuring that we are treated with the respect and dignity we deserve.
Practice of Amor Propio in Daily Life
I seldom hear Filipinos say that they do something because of Amor Propio. I mean, I don’t hear them say the phrase Amor Propio anymore. But the way they live their lives shows how to value self-regard.
Practicing Amor Propio means continuously working on ourselves to become better individuals. It involves self-reflection, self-awareness, and a commitment to personal growth and development.
It means recognizing our flaws and working on them, while also acknowledging and celebrating our strengths.
Amor Propio also influences how we interact with others. It means treating others with kindness and respect but also demanding the same in return.
It means not tolerating disrespectful or abusive behavior and standing up for ourselves when necessary.
Practicing Amor Propio also involves taking care of ourselves physically, mentally, and emotionally. It means recognizing the importance of self-care and making it a priority in our lives. It means taking time for ourselves, resting when necessary, and engaging in activities that bring us joy and fulfillment.
Stories of Amor Propio
I mentioned that I often see Amor Propio in practice. Let me share with you two examples.
Maria is a young professional who has always been diligent and hardworking. However, she often found herself being taken advantage of by her colleagues, who would ask her to do their work for them.
Despite feeling overwhelmed and disrespected, Maria would always agree because she didn’t want to cause any conflict. Over time, this took a toll on her mental health and self-esteem.
One day, Maria decided that she had had enough.
She realized that by allowing her colleagues to take advantage of her, she was not respecting herself. She decided to set boundaries and assert herself.
The next time a colleague asked her to do their work for them, she politely but firmly declined. It was difficult at first, but over time, Maria gained more confidence and self-respect.
Her colleagues also started to respect her more and treated her with the kindness and consideration she deserved.
Juan is a college student who has always struggled with low self-esteem. He often compared himself to others and felt that he was not good enough. This affected his relationships and his performance in school.
One day, Juan came across a quote by Oscar Wilde that resonated with him: “To love oneself is the beginning of a lifelong romance.”
This quote inspired Juan to start focusing on self-love and self-care. He started to practice mindfulness, engage in activities that brought him joy, and surround himself with positive and supportive people.
Over time, Juan noticed a significant improvement in his mental and emotional well-being. He felt happier, more confident, and more fulfilled. His relationships improved, and he started to perform better in school.
Juan realized that by practicing Amor Propio, he was not only improving his own life but also positively influencing the people around him.
Similarities with Other Cultures
Self-respect and self-worth are universally acknowledged values across the globe. Many cultures emphasize the importance of self-care, setting boundaries, and having a strong sense of identity.
For example, the Western concept of ‘self-esteem’ is quite similar to ‘Amor Propio’. Both values stress the importance of self-worth and self-respect in personal development and healthy relationships.
Differences from Other Cultures
While there are similarities, the way ‘Amor Propio’ manifests in the Filipino culture is quite unique.
In some Western cultures, for example, there is a strong emphasis on individualism and assertiveness.
In contrast, Filipino culture tends to be more collective and community-oriented.
Therefore, practicing ‘Amor Propio’ in the Filipino context involves a delicate balance of asserting oneself while still maintaining harmonious relationships with others.
Challenges in Practicing Amor Propio
One of the challenges in practicing ‘Amor Propio’ is finding the right balance between self-respect and humility.
Filipino culture places a high value on ‘pakikisama’ or getting along with others, which sometimes can lead to a tendency to avoid conflict or confrontation at the expense of one’s own self-respect.
Another challenge is the pressure of societal expectations. Filipino culture often places a high value on ‘hiya’ or shame, and there is often pressure to conform to societal norms and expectations.
This can sometimes make it difficult to assert oneself or set boundaries for fear of being judged or ostracized by others.
“The most important thing is to have self-respect and to be true to oneself.” – Lea Salonga, Filipino singer and actress.
“Love yourself first and everything else falls into line. You really have to love yourself to get anything done in this world.” – Lucille Ball. Although not Filipino, this quote reflects the essence of ‘Amor Propio’.
‘Amor Propio’ is a core Filipino value that encompasses self-respect, self-worth, and self-care. It is about having a strong sense of identity, setting boundaries, and taking care of oneself physically, mentally, and emotionally.
While there are challenges in practicing ‘Amor Propio’, it is an essential value that contributes to our overall well-being and helps us build healthy relationships with others.
As a teacher and a believer in the importance of values formation, I hope that this article has shed some light on the importance of ‘Amor Propio’ and how it can be practiced in daily life.
It is my belief that by fostering a strong sense of self-worth and self-respect, we can empower the younger generation to lead fulfilling lives and contribute positively to society.
Enriquez, V. G. (1994). From Colonial to Liberation Psychology. De La Salle University Press.
Pe-Pua, R., & Protacio-Marcelino, E. (2000). Sikolohiyang Pilipino (Filipino psychology): A legacy of Virgilio G. Enriquez. Asian Journal of Social Psychology, 3(1), 49-71.