Sunday, September 2, 2007

What am I Bid? (Self Worth)

If you were a merchandise to be sold in the market, how do you think you would fare?

Are you a prized item on an auctioneer’s block? Would there be a scramble among the crowd to outbid each other for you – you, collector’s item, you?

Or are you unsold inventory bound for the bargain basement? Would you be dumped with the damaged, the seconds, the obsolescent?

Nena measures herself from the eyes of her philandering husband. She thinks it is her fault he is having affairs left and right – she isn’t fair enough, not attractive enough, not smart enough, not understanding enough. She has self-esteem the size of a pea.

Ben considers himself an also-ran. Though he works very hard and updates his skills, he has been passed up not once but many times for promotion. He thinks it must be because he didn’t graduate from a “premium” school and didn’t speak with an impressive drawl and accent.

I used to look at myself from the eyes of others. I thrived on praise -- of my writing, my hardworking ways, my people skills. I took the slightest criticism badly. I'd lose sleep over a bad evaluation when I lectured. I'd throw a tantrum when I was rated less than "outstanding" by my boss. I wanted to resign when I didn’t get a travel or training opportunity I thought fitted me to a T. Constantly, I counted on others to affirm me.

One day, when I was hurting badly from a slight more imagined than real, I told myself: enough is enough. There is a better way to live.

I tried to find it ... in books, in seminars, in churches.

I shouldn’t have looked too far. Inside me, I am intact, whole, undiminished by what other people’s score cards say.

It is easy to believe this now, sure as I am God made me after his image.

Yet, I still forget sometimes.


myepinoy said...

The last line says it all, "yet, I still forget sometimes." If it wasn't for this, i guess you will be like a broken arrow.

Great question to ask if you have plenty of time to spare.

noemi Dado said...

for so many years, I didn't really have much of a self-esteem. I think hitting the rock bottom of my life pushed me to try new avenues.reinvent myself. change how I look. change my attitude. It's all about choices. I chose to be a better me. I am quite happy with how I turned out today. Never mind if others don't think otherwise.

It's my family's opinions that matters. I also like to measure myself with how my son would think of me and if I deserved to be in heaven one day to reunite with him.

snglguy said...

Obviously I'd be one of those smelly merchandise that you see in an ukay-ukay shop... hehe :-D

ScroochChronicles said...

On a good day I'd probably be in the "premium items" section where you have to be a member of the club to be able to purchase. On a bad day, siguro dun lang sa "buy1take1".

Being "self-critical" is part of human nature. Sometimes nadadagdagan na lang if you take others comments too seriously. I guess the best way to handle things is to take criticisms, both from others and from yourself, constructively.

At the end of the day, it's learning how to be comfortable in your own skin and knowing that you matter, no matter what :)

Heart of Rachel said...

You know, when I was younger, I was very sensitive. I didn't know the meaning of constructive criticism. I just took every criticism personally. It only took a single unflattering remark to ruin my day.

I'm glad I was able to overcome this character flaw of mine. I always believed that it was better to keep quiet when there is nothing good to say but I realized some people can be very outspoken.

I read inspirational books that helped me appreciate myself more. I learned that before I can expect others to like me, I had to learn to appreciate myself first.

rowena said...

Hi Annamanila, napa esep-esep ako ha, I'll be back...Or better yet, now na, sometimes I feel like a gold (admired and wanted by many) and sometimes a used rug (thrown when not in use anymore), he he. Eventually, I always bounce back as a gold again....

dimaks said...

this is when we start thinking of a value of oneself, one's deeds and worth. but if we go on with life with a solid purpose, no matter what comes in the way, no matter what evaluation sheets would say, you will still head onto the way you feel that is right.

Annamanila said...


That last line says I still remember to be oversensitive sometimes. :) But I am getting okayer and okayer. :)

Annamanila said...


Yup, you shine, prime time lady! Shine on.

Annamanila said...


I guess, pareho tayo ng style -- self-deprecating. And then expect others to say .. hindi naman ah.

Hindi naman ah. You're prime! serious.

Annamanila said...


How does one so young know so much?! :) Ty, I am sure you were an item that "buyers" had to cue up for. serious.

Annamanila said...

Aaah i used the past tense, referring to the stage you were still on the shelf.

Annamanila said...


We are alike then .. or were. We learn as we go along, don't we. But I guess, I am such a late bloomer even in this department.

Very true, what you're saying. How we think of ourselves inwardly emits a vibration that gives a cue to outsiders how to treat us. Or something like that. :)

Annamanila said...

Oo nga ... we zig and zag in our estimation of ourselves. But it is easy to see you're gold. Keep glittering, weng!

Annamanila said...


You're saying as long as we steadfastly pursue our purpose then we should be and feel okay?! I always expect a profound take from you, Sajid!

Jigs said...

This is simply beautiful and full of insight. I feel as you once felt...Still seeking approval of others, always tormenting myself with the slightest criticism...

I wish to be like you are now...soon...

evi said...

i guess it's human nature to feel underrated at times. i, for one, am not spared.

exskindiver said...

dear annamanila,
it is nice to see that even you went through a period of uncertainty.
(not that i am happy about just makes the rest of us normal)

these days...i tend to focus on not focusing.
i try to let things flow.

lady cess said...

aw, this is really nice. an eye opener. an inspiring post. thanks :)

at least ikaw sometimes lang. ako rin, sometimes lang, pero ang tanong : gano kadalas ang minsan (heheh!)

Annamanila said...


Youth is blunder, manhood a struggle, old age a regret.

That's the philosopher Disraeli for you, for us.

So occasional self-doubt is universal. It is a given, even among the most outwardly self-confident, shine-bright, have-it-all people.

But as we blunder, we learn; as we struggle, we grow strong; as we regret some we also celebrate a lot. :)

vernaloo said...

it will pass..always does.

We have an amazing spirit inside. Our brain somehow protects us from all these negative stuff.

I know I shouldn't go advising people on topics like this because most of the times I give in to the negative emotions (well it's becoming frequent these past few days..dunno what's wrong with me????) maybe I shouldnt...

but I'm glad you find answers Anna. ..cheers my friend!

coffeefreak said...

When I was younger, it was sort of like a mission to always put my best foot forward. But then I realized that doing so can be so draining, so stressful. Now I know that it's perfectly okay to just be yourself--no matter how flawed. It makes for fewer circles around the eyes-and smaller eyebags, too.

Cheers, Annamanila, for always coming up with inspired and inspiring posts. --Anna

Julie said...

Oftentimes I feel hurt too, to words, unspoken or otherwise, imagined or real, about me. I know because I am quite perceptive about these things.

Sometimes I secretly shed a tear or two. I will myself to not defend myself for if I do, these people would feel they have been right after all.

But then at the end of the day, it is always I and so I ask myself, "What do they know about what I feel and what I think and about the reasons for my actions?" All that matters to me is my family and that I have done what I feel is right, no matter how others interpret things.

Nice post as always.Take care and have a great week!

Major Tom said...

This is a good topic to speak of especially to us who is amidst or nearing the midlife crisis. Whenever I feel so down 'bout myself, self-pity and all, imagining how others my own age are overachieving while I underachieved so darnly, I just end up getting hold of myself and think to myself that I am ME, the unique ME, the ME that is none like the others, the ME that can do what many others can't.

That way, I feel better...somehow. :-P

pining said...

I used to be depressed a lot and at the same time my self esteem was non existent, so I know how that feels...
And then I got pregnant and start to think of the good and happy days ahead; it sort of "cured" me...although every now and then I still feel I am an "unsold inventory bound for the bargain basement..."

Annamanila said...


Oo nga ... humanity, being human can be so complicated. But I guess it's not any good if it were any othey way. :)

Annamanila said...

Chesca (exskindiver)

That is daw the secret to being happy -- acceptance (going with the flow) and detachment (knowing there is something else more important).

I like the way you say -- focus on not focusing. :) it is just like saying trying hard not to try too hard. :)

Annamanila said...

Lady Cess!

Gaano kadalas ang minsan? Araw araw? Oras oras? Minu-minuto? Ay, only from Lady Cess -- also a poetess (I think).

Annamanila said...


You're right, it passes. But then its cyclical, right?! Like a winding staircase ?! But let me tell you, it gets better because you know ultimately it is within your control .. tigas lang ulo natin. :)

Annamanila said...


Coffee can also ring our eyes .. if it makes us lose sleep. hahaha But I guess coffeefreaks don't mind or aren't affected by caffeine sleep-wise.

Seriously, you're right. It is tiring to always be at so-called best behavior. Sometimes we say, enough is enough .. take me or leave me.

Sana they don't leave ano? LOL

Annamanila said...

Teacher Julie!

One look at you -- at your eyes especially -- and I knew you're sensitive and vulnerable too. Your articles especially in PMN confirm this

Sometimes where we are weak is our strength too? Doesn't your sensitivity make you a better teacher of special children?

Annamanila said...

Major Tom!

Sometimes the measure of the world (big house, sleek car, high pay, impressive titles) are not our own measure. We are successful in so far as we have achieved our own purposes -- not necessarily material. :)

Annamanila said...


See all the comments this piece on self-worth generated? How lots of blogger-buddies relate! Hindi ka, hindi tayo nag-iisa. :)

SexyMom said...

am glad to see a post dated 2 sept 07 (and i am 2 days late).

maybe it's true, looking back, i was not as confident--though i was already confident when i was very young. but it was not the confidence that i have now. it was the confidence of the young, kinda empty confidence if i may say.

confidence i have now is gained--from the many experiences of the past (ups and downs)

my dear Annamanila--you have already found yourself, and i a very happy.

Leah said...

I agree with Dine., you have certainly found yourself.

And I'm glad to have found you in the rare sections of the library.

I consider you as a book, full of knowledge and the more you read on, the more you learn.

I too, likes to crave for that attention, that affirmation and recognition that I am somebody worth knowing.

Toe said...

Myself, I'm the liempo or pork belly... because I have plenty of bilbil... haha! :)

You must be a highly-competitive and ambitious person. There's really nothing wrong with that... trying to be the best you could be. That's the secret to success.

Now, the secret to happiness... that's another thing. And it seems that you have found it too. I'm very glad.

Gypsy said...

Amen, sister! A strong sense of self comes from an understanding of how God loves you and how He has created you in His image. Cheers!

snglguy said...

No really, I don't expect anyone to be diplomatic as to say "hindi naman". But I sure wouldn't want to hear them say "totoo naman eh" Hahaha.

Anyways, you've seen me before, haven't you? And it's pretty obvious I'm no spring chicken. So I guess I'm pretty much on target with my being a smelly merchandise in an ukay ukay shop. Hahaha. :-D

Annamanila said...


Yup, I see how you radiate with self-confidence. Will you hold my hand and transfer some to me -- by osmosis? haha

Seriously, I can relate with the ups and downs that in the end sees us still tilting upwards.

All best, my friend.

Annamanila said...


Thank you -- I am getting there, slow by slow.

I am in the archives. You're still in the new acquisition section. :) But both of us are good reads. hahaha

Thank you Leah for being so precious.

Annamanila said...


I am getting there -- almost there. :) so I am sharing all these things with my young buddies for whatever trinkets they may pick up.

Competitive -- I was in a way, but I didn't eat my fellow dogs, maybe just barked and showed some fangs over a bone of contention. :)

It's good to be wary of that little bilbil as molehills can turn into hillocks and then into mountains. I should know. hahaha :)

Annamanila said...


Oh, gypsy .. you have gone your gypsy way again. And ... oh, mea maxima culpa.

Annamanila said...


Yes, I have seen you and you have seen me. So if you're musty merchandise, how does that make me?!

Ay, sngl .. i can tell you a thing or two about self-worth.

chateau said...

You're giving me a lot to think about!

Thanks for the beautiful reminder. I needed to read this (along with the comments).

Belle said...

i consider myself like a hand me down clothing. to some, i am worthless but to the poor and needy, i am worth a fortune.

and you, my friend, is a rare find.

jerry said...

Since I often forget too, thanks, anna, for the reminder.

niceheart said...

There are times when my self esteem really gets really low. And that has to do with how certain people treats me. But it usually passes. I will realize that there are other people, many people in my life who thinks I'm worthy. :)

Annamanila said...


I am glad this post makes us look inwards. Sabi nga, "let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me." Di ba, we cannot give what we don't have? But why do I feel good when I am around you? It means you already have it or some of it. :)

Annamanila said...


That precious thing you say of me I bounce back to you a hundred times. And that's honest as honest as can be.

Annamanila said...


Then let's remind each other. Fair enough?

Annamanila said...


What you have just said ... that might as well be coming from me. :) I also take the cue from others (or used to) dishing out in full measure what they toss at me.

Jap said...

Anna, this is such a heartwarming post. Coming off from Douglas Coupland's Eleanor Rigby last night, a novel about loneliness, I thought I'm doomed. I'm glad I read this. You are absolutely right. We only need to look deep inside ourselves to remember how wonderful beings we all are. =)

Annamanila said...


I am so happy this post helped you somehow when you were feeling low.

I guess even talented and successful professionals like you are not spared by zigs and zags of self-esteem.

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