By Ruth Manimtim-Floresca
There are usually two types of people I encounter in my line of work: those who inspire and encourage and those who can turn a good day bad. Thankfully, over the years, I’ve learned that life always has ways of balancing things out.
One memory I’ll never forget was being scolded via text messages by a university professor for not being able to provide her immediately with a complimentary copy of the magazine where the article I interviewed her for appeared. At the time, I really didn’t have the budget to buy even my own copy because we’re saving up for my son’s operation. I politely asked if she could give me a month or two to provide her with one since the publisher doesn’t give out complimentary copies. She replied with “No need. This will be the first and last your company is getting any help from me and I will inform my colleagues about your policy” as if I have just committed a crime.
There was also a time when I got stuck in traffic and arrived less than 10 minutes late for an interview. On my way over, my interviewee has been texting and calling me that she and her husband will not wait for me because they’re always on time. I was out of breath when I got to the venue because I ran as fast I could after getting off an expensive taxi ride.
I have dozens more of these stories than I care to remember including a couple of clients who vanished into thin air after making me write press releases for them. Thankfully, I have also been blessed with pleasant ones.
For instance, there was this Saturday when my article appeared in the newspaper I was writing for and my interviewee texted me to ask for my mailing address. That afternoon, a beautiful bouquet of flowers arrived at my doorstep. A couple of months ago, while grocery shopping during my birthday, my sister in law called me to say that a lovely cake from a PR company was delivered at our house several minutes ago.
When I get text messages or e-mails from people I interviewed telling me how much they liked what I wrote, I try not to erase them from my phone or e-mail inbox. When I do have to make way for new messages, I write down their texts, the dates, the senders’ names, and the articles I interviewed them for in a small notebook.
On days when I encounter another bad experience, I take the notebook out and read the affirming messages there. I remind myself that I may fail to satisfy the expectations or demands of certain people but there are still those who appreciate what I do; and that is validation enough that I am not doing as badly as those others think I am.
Then again, I also try to keep in mind to treat the negative experiences as lessons in humility that would help build my character, let me grow more as a person, make me more patient, keep me grounded, and provide me with better discernment on how to deal with or avoid similar incidents in the future.
In my roles as parent, friend, colleague, etc. I always pray that I could also be a source of encouragement for other people even if I may fall short every now and then.
We all need to hear words of affirmation. However, let’s also remember that they are not meant to make us feel puffed up or arrogant but rather grateful that there are people who believe in what we do. At the end of the day, that is what should matter.