There are five stages for grief.






It’s otherwise called in psychology the Kübler-Ross model and “postulates a progression of emotional states experienced by terminally patients after diagnosis and by loved ones after death.”

It is natural for all of us to go through a grieving process. Letting go is not as simple as it seems. When the circumstances leading to grief is a sudden one, it usually takes a longer time to reconcile the stages.

The element that makes us feel grief is love.

“Sometimes you can’t let go of what’s making you sad, because it was the only thing that made you happy.”

Denial is a defense mechanism that buffers the immediate shock of loss. More often than not, when people are unprepared for a tragedy, the denial stage is prolonged because we need to figure out the overwhelming emotions of the loss.

Anger comes when the numbness of denial wears off. There is blame, intense guilt, and various forms of anger.

Bargaining is the “what if” stage of grief. It provides temporary escape from pain, provides hope, and serves as the adjustment period to reality.

Depression is an appropriate response to the loss. There is intense sadness, inability to sleep well, feel demotivated, have poor appetite and experience nausea, and poor concentration.

When the stage of depression is too prolonged, mental and eventually physical health becomes compromised.

Then the final stage is acceptance. It means accepting the reality of the loss. And nothing can change that reality. And will move on from the loss. But not necessarily mean the person is “okay” with the loss.

The last blog for the month is a reminder that “grief is just love with no place to go”. And some good things come to an end. And whether they are happy endings or not, letting go and moving on will always be the stories of our lives.

Let the past die

There’s an interesting poster regarding things one will never recover in life.

Life gives us over a billion lessons to learn from but only a few should be remembered well.

These opportunities are difficult if not impossible to recover at all. The most important of them to me is trust.

Whether it is love, professional or political scenarios, the deal breaker of trust is the most impactful.

When truth has been distorted and trust is lost, that’s the deal breaker. Nothing will ever be the same again. Ever.


Once upon a time in a kingdom far away lived a king who was loved by his people.

The kind king was an inspiration to many of his servants. While he was loved my most, there were a few who wanted the king to abdicate his throne.

As the kingdom grew larger, the king appointed two jesters. One who would provide wisdom, the other would foment dissent. It was natural that because the kingdom was a large one, the king had to listen to both jesters, as he divided which part of the kingdom each jester would oversee.

The jester that provided wisdom was well respected and appreciated. The other jester that created division was full of greed and vile. Over the years, the kingdom became divided. Soon, only intrigue and rumor mongering governed the land. And more people began to dislike the once wise king. Even the jesters became at odds with one another.

A small tribe on the south of the king was watching patiently. Waiting for the moment when people in the kingdom would be disgruntled on how the king ruled. The small tribe took the opportunity one day to use the weakened morale of the people to conquer the kingdom. The king had to eventually abdicate his thrown after an uprising led by a small tribe.

What is the moral of the story?

It takes people to build a kingdom and the same people to take advantage of its weakness and destroy the same kingdom.

People are what make a kingdom rise to great heights. Treat them right and justly. Because it is also the same people that can bring the kingdom down.

The strength and weakness of every organization or city or country lies not in leading with an iron fist but with a kind and understanding heart.

Joy doesn’t live here anymore

You know the feeling of excitement when you’re new on the job? Like it’s a new world out there and you’re all enthusiastic about starting off on the right foot? The excitement to be able to make changes and making things happen for good reasons?

Someone asked me to write about happiness in the workplace and what the defining moments are when people decide to quit their jobs.

People work for two main reasons – for the money and/or a career.

Financial remuneration is the primary reason. That’s why we have gazillion migrant workers or call center workers. Never mind the hardship, as long as the paycheck is good. The theory there is that people will stay in their current jobs no matter how paltry it is because of the pay. Providing food, shelter, education for self and family are the main reasons for working and for moving from one company to another.

Then there are those who hone their profession because they want to make a career. My nephew wanted to be a chef, so he dropped his recent work in a bank to pursue a cooking career. My niece does painting on the side as a hobby and to augment her income when she’s not busy running her squad in an IT group. The second reason why people work for a primary reason is called passion. Passion is the bigger driver here. When people are passionate with their work, even meagre pay would suffice.

The best combination is having both worlds. A good paying job with passion.

So what do they do when they don’t have the drive to go to work anymore? That’s the defining moment. And that’s when people make a choice – to stay for the money or leave to find a life.

There are always choices we make in life. Some of them may not be the right ones, others may be risky. The bottom line is living with the choices we make. As long as we’re happy with it, then walking away is always the road best traveled.

And we can all live with that.

The devil’s challenge

I am writing this for myself.

It’s been one helluva rough month. You know, the kind that one problem seems to pour like a humongous storm. I appreciate all the love that’s being shared by my friends, family, colleagues, the academic, business and political community. As I always say, when you’re at your lowest in life, that’s when you find out who your true friends are. It’s also when you know who supports you or not.

It’s painful when people stab you in the back or f*cks around with your mind. Anxiety builds up and the days are difficult to bear. You can’t focus on your work, you tend to be irritable, and your appetite is weirdly erratic. And yes, it’s not okay to feel emotionally and mentally assaulted.

After a few weeks of questioning myself, reflecting in prayers, and finding hope and support with friends from all walks of life, the humiliation on how unfair things turn out has brought me on my knees to God.

I’m calling this blog “The Devil’s Challenge”. When your dignity and humanity is challenged, maligned and crossed, what do you do? Natural instinct for survival is called self preservation. And self preservation isn’t all that bad. It demonstrates love of self first.

After love of self comes love of neighbor. Loving those who do us good comes natural. It is doing the impossible – loving someone who has humiliated you, spread false stories, destroy your name – that’s difficult to love. To love God is to follow His example. That we treat all with kindness and compassion. Even those who have wronged me. And I can live with the fact that whatever is happening is probably my Lenten sacrifice. It’s the cross I am meant to bear for myself and for others.

For the words of enlightenment and encouragement of my friends, thank you from the bottom of my heart. My gratitude is overflowing. Thank you for reaching out and offering your help especially during the storms of my life.

The devil has not yet seen me as the storm that will put him down. I will weather this storm because I love myself too much to let any evil destroy me. And I will let love and kindness and compassion and understanding destroy the devil’s challenge.

Because God is on my side.

Wrong before right

Once upon a time in a land of make believe, there’s the story about a Princess who thought that all the decisions she made were the right ones because it pleased her.

She was never a princess. Her childhood years were difficult because growing up years proved to be rough. She struggled hard, but life threw tomatoes at her. Everything she touched was peachy at first. When people knew the real her they had second thoughts. She had beauty and charm and over time her life had improved. As she worked her way up the ladder of success, fame and fortune, she began to carry more baggages in the journey because she trampled on peoples feet during the climb.

One day, she met her prince in shining armour. She was showered with travels, jewels and the promise of a queenly life. She thought her life was to be a fairytale promise. But the fancy life in the palace was an illusion. Soon the money began to dwindle. Then the family problems of the prince started to grow into her. And the glass tower began to crack. The princess found herself no sooner than where she was back to – a life plagued with emotional and worldly problems. Her bitterness at the world became dimmer. Her paranoia and distrust worsened. Her once closest friends were now her biggest enemies. You see, the baggage she carried on her shoulders were always with her throughout her journey because she thought that she would use those excess baggages to get back at the people who she thought had wronged her in life. The princess had never let go of misery.

What is the moral of the fairy tale story?

Things don’t turn out the way we want for a reason. We sometimes live in a dark place or experience the worst of our times not because it’s a punishment but a cross we carry. Of course, not everyone deserves a cross to carry. But these crosses in life are meant to make us stronger, not bitter. Scarred, but survived. Better human beings, not monsters.

We need to carry on in life no matter how difficult it gets but sans the excess baggages. These heavy burdens of guilt, fear, pride, anger and hate should be left behind during our challenging journey. As we move on in life the less burden we carry, the less heavy our load. The less heavy the load, the kinder we treat people. Humility has its way of bringing back the good aura in our lives.

Sometimes we just need to do the right thing or trust the right people, and keep our hopes up that someday, all the wrongs done will eventually turn out right, and we get the happy endings we dream of.

As for the princess in the story, despite the many second chances she has had in life, she will have third and fourth chances over time.

That is true of our lives. We all have a princess in our life. Leave the baggages of hate behind. The journey is lighter that way. It’s also a happier one.

Beauty and the devil

Temptations are always beautiful.

If temptations came with an ugly presentation, would we even accede to it?

It’s a good food for thought. We learn from the bible that even the temptation of Jesus Christ was delectably laid out on a silver platter by the Satan. The devil in the bible is proof that the devil is alive and continues to offer man the bounty of material possession and power in exchange of his soul. It gets clouded by us in many forms. Let me put it bluntly. The more beautiful the temptation the more difficult to resist it.

When your principles are compromised or you’ve had that defining moment to even slightly pause and wonder if the temptation of looking the other way from evil or wrong doing is worth it, only you will know the answer.

Five Ws

I chanced upon a short post and I’m writing this for you because it summarizes the five important things when making life decisions.

1. WHO you are is what makes you special. Do not change for anyone.

Do not let anyone have their way or bully you into being subservient to the point of being held stupid for the actions you take on their behalf. There’s a time and a place knowing when to give in and when to say NO because it is not right, not fair, and not just. Only creationists will think that the world was made for them. That thought is self serving. People who are busy at creating and living in illusions are best avoided.

2. WHAT lies ahead will always be a mystery. Do not be afraid to explore.

A friend of mine once said that he drew up a bucket list. And he was 55 when he drew it up! It’s never too late to explore anything in life. Tomorrow will always be a mystery and the good part is to love it & live it! Life is beautiful. Learn to smell the roses as we travel the difficult roads. We will learn to appreciate life more this way.

3. WHEN life pushes you over, you push back harder.

There will always be tomatoes thrown your way. Don’t take it personally. Sometimes it’s a wake up call. You probably crossed the line. However, if you didn’t deserve the tomato, pause. Breath in deep. Reflect. If you still feel like throwing back the tomatoes to the jealous bastards, do it! It’s nothing personal as well.

4. WHERE there are choices to make, make the one you won’t regret.

Every choice made is our responsibility. Being accountable for the choice is a sign of maturity. Whether you choose good or evil, make the choice where you sleep better at nights. Karma after all is such a painful payback.

5. WHY things happen will never be certain. Take it in stride and move forward.

Because we don’t have a crystal ball, tomorrow will always be another day. Living in the anxiety of tomorrow isn’t a good thing. Other people’s problems are not yours to bear. Let them play their own dramas. If the seas get too rough, keep your eyes on the compass of your goals in life. That should serve as your handy guide on how to weather the storms on your travel to your destination.

The Dunning-Kruger effect

In the field of Psychology, this is more commonly known as a cognitive bias where “people of low ability suffer from illusory superiority, mistakenly assessing their cognitive ability greater than it is.

In 1999, two psychologists from Cornell University – David Dunning and Justin Kruger – published a paper entitled “Unskilled and unaware of it: How difficulties in recognising one’s own incompetence lead to inflated self-assessment“. Over several studies, they found that “participants scoring in the bottom quartile grossly overestimated their test performance and ability.” What did this mean?

“People who are incompetent at something are unable to recognize their own incompetence. Not only do they fail to recognize their incompetence, they’re also likely to feel confident that they actually are competent!”

It’s been 19 years since the published paper, and the fact is that the psychological phenomenon is as relevant today as it was before the technological and internet boom.

The study was done in the United States and I have to see some data with regards to the research being conducted among Filipinos, if we would see consistent data or not.

It’s very interesting because the global geopolitical landscape has dramatically shifted and it is without doubt that the Dunning-Kruger Effect is more relevant today than when it was first published. And this applies not only to the political field but encompasses even the medical, economic, academic and religious groups as well.

I write about this not as an expert in the field of psychology but to share interest in a topic that should make us pause and read up further on how to mitigate such cognitive bias.

Plan B

Things don’t usually work out the way we want. You land a job that eventually sucks or a relationship that doesn’t work out because someone cheated on you or a friendship that gets broken because of some form of betrayal.

Whatever hurt is caused, overcoming that pain is a hurdle. Making rational decisions are mired during those painful moments. One can not contain anger and simply brush off the pain with a whiff. The need to understand the circumstances surrounding this are stressful and when anxiety builds up, it distracts your way of thinking.

But why do these things hurt us? The answer lies in trust issues. We trust the other party too much. We don’t expect that we will get used by them in order to achieve their goal. We end up blaming ourselves because we were blindsided.

To survive in life, one should expect the unexpected. In order to protect ourselves from getting hurt, we need to be kind to ourselves by trusting less and forgiving often.

I’m not talking about paranoia (but yeah sometimes it gets to that point). We just need to be careful about other people’s motives in life. Not everyone you meet on your life journey will stay the rest of your life. What I’m driving at, is that we all need a Plan B in order to survive.

Plan B is thought of well. When one sees the signs that are disruptive in a relationship, you need to ask the unasked questions – why is it happening and where is it headed? Asking the why may need some head on confrontation or dialogue. But it’s hard to figure out the other side when the other side is blindsiding you. More often than not, you can’t tell because only the other person has plans on where this is leading to.

Plan B is for everyone. It’s a safe exit to sanity and yes, becomes a useful tool as a reality check. It’s those “I told you this would happen or I told you so moments” that make Plan B a safe zone to run to when all hell breaks loose.

Plan B, takes reflection and planning and knowing when to execute the plan. A shift in career or resignation from work, calling a relationship quits, breaking the bond of friendship – whatever the problems that hound us, there should always be Plan B.

When you have a good exit plan, your safe zone of Plan B will always keep you going. Moving on becomes less difficult. And you end up a lot happier by making the right decisions in life.