Don't let the pandemic take away your self-worth

WHAT MATTERS MOST - Atty. Josephus B. Jimenez (The Freeman) - November 29, 2020 - 12:00am

One of the worst fears of man is losing his sense of importance, his sense of self-worth and self-respect. Company presidents who lost their job because their corporation declared bankruptcy. Government officials who were asked to resign for suspicion of being involved in major controversies. Or corporate executives not being able to report for work because of the lockdown.

Many very important persons and highly-positioned business executives and government officials are losing their minds and careers because of self-pity. They cannot accept the fact that they are no longer the very important executives that they used to be. They used to make very important decisions involving millions in corporate funds, and calls that can make and unmake careers and fortunes. The pandemic crisis took away their feeling of self-importance, self-worth, and self-respect. Their self-esteem has deteriorated by engaging in self-pity and by withdrawing from all sorts of social and interpersonal interactions.

I was invited to give a TED talk to a group of depressed executives, managers, businessmen, and entrepreneurs. I told them many stories of many economic devastation and financial crises that led too many people to addiction, to crime, and even to suicide. Too many marriages have been ruined and families shattered because the father of the family and the sole breadwinner was laid off, retrenched, and declared redundant. I told them that they cannot control anymore what has happened, and there is no point trying to undo the major damages and losses brought about by external circumstances. They have no control over macro factors in the larger socio-economic tremors and political upheavals.

But what matters most is that they have the power to choose their own reactions to these crises. They can either be beaten by these factors beyond their control or they stand up to explore many other options. A number of employees used to receive regular but limited income from salaries for working 8 to 12 hours a day, even working during their rest days and on holidays, just to make both ends meet. Today, they have doubled, tripled, and even quadrupled their income by engaging in direct selling via digital platforms. They sell food products or fashion accessories online and they now live comfortable lives. They have no employers controlling their time and talents. They are on their own with plenty of room for growth and development.

Some former employees who have lost their jobs have started to cultivate their innate talents in music, arts, sports, and other fields of endeavors. The others have started composing ballads and poems, writing pieces of literary gems, like essays and short stories, novels or critical non-fiction. A few have gone into painting and sculpture. For sure, most have untapped talents and gifts which have laid dormant and ignored. The pandemic has opened these closed doors that have been neglected and forgotten. It is time to open them again. There might be some gems inside. What is needed is a positive mind, an attitude of hope and confidence in one's self. I truly believe that attitude, and not just aptitude determines one's altitude in life.

And so, my most important advice to them is: Never allow anyone or anything to rob you of your self-worth and self-esteem. Stand up and pick up the pieces. Walk forward and never be obstructed by any doubt or loss of faith. Believe in yourself, focus on your goal, fight any odds and be determined to win, no matter what is the cost. No one else can hand over to you success or failure. It all depends on you.

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