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"Dangal o Puri? Ano ang mas matimbang?": A manifestation of prioritizing self-interest over pleasing

Truth be told, people are not compelled to please others with their achievements and success. They should not be necessitated to seek validation from their peers, family, and society. However, with the amount of pressure and expectations bestowed upon them, they assert themselves to excel in the majority areas of their lives. Moreover, once they succeed, the question of who to honor can be detrimental, because more often than not, their accomplishment equates to gratifying the honors of others than oneself. Thus, the confusion of who should be honored in equivalence of one’s progress takes place.

In Filipino Psychology, this concept is attributed to two terms – dangal and puri. Dangal pertains to one’s internal honor. In particular, Pe-Pua & Marcelino (2000) defined it as the importance of one’s own “true worth, character, achievement, and success.” On the other hand, they defined puri as the honor of the external. Wherein others are praised by society based on their achievements, success, and good performance (p. 57). This article will explain the demonstration of how puri and dangal are seen in the context of prioritizing self-interest over validation from others. Moreover, it will explore the reality that some people experience, and how to overcome those.

Cherry (2021) defined people-pleasing as an act of placing the interest of others before their own. They may be described as someone kind, nice, and helpful. Despite that, this could lead to adverse effects in terms of one’s emotions. Brennan (2021) mentioned that some would experience a lack of self-care, resentment toward others, and exhausting everything that they have. Thus, it can be inferred that the primary source of an individual’s validation came from others rather than their effort.

Henceforth, different factors embody why a person dignifies by pleasing others. Glashow (2019) mentioned several reasons in her article, “11 Reasons Why You Are a People Pleaser” which include: avoidance of conflict, fear of rejection, fear of disappointing others, wanting something in return, wanting others to be nice to an individual, wanting to fit in, easily influenced by others, genuinely compassionate, do not want to feel guilty for saying no, self-worth is embodied from external validation, and lack of self-love. Given these factors, some individuals tend to neglect their wants and needs at the expense of being loved by others. Moreover, some aspects of one’s life may be sacrificed because of how they are attuned to social satisfaction. Given these, an understanding must be established that it is vital to think of one’s self-interest.

In the Philippines, happiness is defined by various concepts. Kasiyahan and kaligayahan are among the few. Markedly, its relation to dangal and puri is seen in several ways. If a person opted to choose dangal, they will feel a degree of kaligayahan within themselves. On the other hand if one chooses puri they would feel kasiyahan considering that they were validated by external forces. Thus, it can be established that these two trains of thought are dynamically intertwined. Likewise, it can also affect how one perceives their own goals. In a study conducted by Cross & Uskul (2020), they claimed that the vitality of honor dangers the pursuit of one’s goals. Thus, it can be inferred that the perception of one’s aspirations in life is influenced by honor from within and outward.

Additionally, some would opt to choose honor from others especially if they have something to prove. Even with this instance, several influences could affect their perception of themselves. One of those is through social media. Online platforms implicate a vital impact on the lives of people wherein people would “like” or appreciate an image based on how it is pleasing to the eyes of people (Schwarz, 2018). Being on social media throughout the day, some would internalize and actualize behaviors that would need public affirmation. Thus, it could affect their mental health in many avenues.

Indeed, it is vital to prioritize one’s self-interest. However, realistically speaking, this is more of an ideal vision rather than a practical one. In all honesty, it is difficult to choose one’s self-interest over others. There are instances wherein expectations are set and standards must be met for others to be proud of a person. For instance, being in a collectivist country, one is expected to pursue a course in medicine for their clan to be proud of a person. But, if they opt to forego a lesser-known course they would be criticized. Hence, they would sacrifice their kaligayahan and dangal to be validated through kasiyahan and puri.

Perhaps, these are detrimental to one’s mental health. However, mental health interventions can be practiced to avoid the toll on one’s health. As this article is about to end, there are ways how people-pleasing can be avoided to prioritize one’s honor from within. Morgan (2019) mentioned a few, and these are:

  • No can also mean yes

Not being able to say no is quite a challenge to some individuals. However, to practice a more suitable lifestyle, it is practical to disagree sometimes.

  • Learn how to deliver bad news

If an individual would not learn to do this, they will resort to lies, false promises, and disappointment to people. Thus to avoid this, a person must understand that this is crucial as well.

  • Make Time for Alone Time

This is necessary and not selfish. People-pleasers do not need to be there for someone at all times.

  • Focus on your Intentions

Being people-pleasers, they must refocus on where their intentions are set to avoid vulnerabilities from narcissistic and selfish people.



Brennan, D. (2021, October 25). What is a people pleaser? WebMD. Retrieved March 30, 2022, from

Cherry, K. (2021, September 3). How to stop being a people-pleaser. Verywell Mind. Retrieved March 30, 2022, from

Cross, Susan E., & Uskul, Ayse K. (2020) The pursuit of honor: Novel contexts, varied approaches, and new developments. In: Gelfand, Michele J. and Chiu, Chi-yue and Hong, Ying-yi, eds. Advances in Culture and Psychology. Oxford University Press, New York. (In press) (KAR id:81613)

Glashow, C. (2021, February 23). 11 reasons why you are a people-pleaser. Anchor Therapy, LLC. Retrieved March 30, 2022, from

Pe-Pua, R., & Protacio-Marcelino, E. A. (2000). Sikolohiyang Pilipino (Filipino psychology): A legacy of Virgilio G. Enriquez. Asian Journal of Social Psychology, 3(1), 49–71.

Schwarz, K., Wieschollek, P., & Lensch, H. P. (2018). Will people like your image? learning the aesthetic space. 2018 IEEE Winter Conference on Applications of Computer Vision (WACV).


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