Nostalgia hits when I saw these payslips from the 1st company I worked with in Ortigas, 17 yrs ago. 12k salary ko sa 1st job, 2003. It was only 2 yrs after my graduation that I was able to work as a call center agent. Time share ang account ko nun. La Salle Ab Philosophy graduate, probinsyana, young mother, di pa kasal. Yan laman ng resume ko noon. Sabi ko sa sarili ko, okay na kesa wala. But at the back of my mind, I want more. Pero yun lang ang tingin ko na deserve ko. With the credentials I have, ano pa ba pwede ko I demand?
Lumaki ako na hatid sundo sa school, may service. High school na ko natuto mag commute kaya ang unang worry ko noon, kaya ko ba ang byahe “pa-maynila.” Commuter ako noon, Dasma-Ortigas-Dasma. 5am-2pm shift ko. Swerte ko di pa ganun kasalaula ang traffic. After work, tirik na tirik ang araw, nilalakad ko from Emerald to Megamall to Shaw station. Dun ako sasakay either ng MRT or makikipag habulan sa bus. Ang hirap però kailngan ko panindigan ang buhay na pinili ko. Hindi dahil sa wala na ko choices, kundi kailangan ko patunayan na kaya ko. Hindi man ako naging abogado, atleast di ako mukhang kawawa. I thought it was my pride speaking. Later i realize, self pity pala yun.
Sabi ko, marami pa araw, buwan, taon, chances para sundin ko pangarap ko pra sa sarili ko pero sa ngayon kailangan ko patunayan na hindi ako nagkamali. At kung nahihirapan man ako, hindi dapat halata. Wala ako dapat maabala na ibang tao. O kung mali man ang mga nangyari, kailangan ko gawin tama ang lahat para sa pamilya ko.
Sabi nga, we get the love we think we deserve.
Hanggang sa dumating sa habang nasa byahe ko iniisip ko mga what if’s. Siguro dimating na ko sa punto ng buhay ko na pagod na ko tanggapin nalang ang “what it is.” Pano naman ang mga “what will be?” Napaisip ako sa mga bagay na siguro kung naging aware lang ako sa hirap na dadanasin ko, ineenjoy ko sana. Napatanong ako, Ito nga lang ba ang buhay na deserve ko? Just because I didn’t plan for my future, does it mean it has ended already? May nabasa ko along EDSA na ad; “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” I asked my self, did I even plan to fail? Who the F wants to see herself fail?!! That ad may be right for insurance marketing strat, but not for me. So I changed my mindset. Yung mindset na deserving ng more than 12k, or 20k or 50k earnings monthly. Im not talking about the physical labor or mental work you need to give but the dedication and loyalty to be someone bigger than who you are today kind of mindset.
Yung mindset na, “Hey, I’m the boss!” “Hey, I can do this!” “Hey, I crave for more!”
So I worked harder. I dreamt bigger. I tried and didn’t stop. I believed in myself and what I am capable of. I assumed positions. I negotiated relationships. I sacrificed myself to get more of me. Fast forward today, I am now my own boss.
I think this is what is means when the books says, “Think big!” I often see failure as a failure because I looked at it as it is. What I didn’t realize was, failure is when we fail to see the good things in it and the better things ahead of it. I am not romanticizing “mistakes” or “faults” but I think it’s about time we, myself included treat ourselves fairly no matter how big or how many mistakes we’ve done in this lifetime.
Minsan masyado tayo unfair sa sarili natin na sa sobrang disappointed tayo dahil “we think we failed”, minamaliit na natin sarili natin. Pinagdadamutan natin ang sarili natin na mangarap ng pagbabago sa buhay natin. I am not saying it’s okay to commit mistake, that the saying “nobody’s perfect” can justify our irresponsibilities. No. What was done is done. We cannot change the past. But our admittance of the mistake and how we deal with the acceptance of our weakness have a great effect on our future choices.
One of my mentors told me, It is always a good choice to forgive ourselves to be able to heal, to be able to see things clearly, to be able to live free from remorse and sense of guilt. From there I’ll be able to realize my worth. My value.
So what’s my worth?
I can’t give you figures because my salary doesn’t define me.
My mistakes don’t define me.
My car doesn’t define me.
The size of my house doesn’t define me.
It is how I treat others that defines me. It is what I can tolerate that defines me. It is how I allow others treat me that defines me. I know I am more than my skillset. That I am more than people’s judgements combined. That my value as a person is proportion to the amount of self respect I have. That I am worth the love and appreciation regardless of the mistakes I had in the past.
I really can’t tell exactly what I’m worth of because it’s for others to tell, but I am definitely sure, I am now more than 12k worth of a payslip.