Taking The Plunge

Sometime last week, I heard a peer of mine say talks about marriage life and hearing negative things about it makes her fear getting married at all.  

So, I wondered, if my posts of the past two weeks could have attributed to her fear  or if talks she heard from plights of women who are suffering from marital problems or are on the verge of marital breakup.had? Anyway, as usual, I kept the question to myself and reflect over it.

I was born when my parents got separated and was only able to finally meet my father when I was about to start schooling at the age of seven.  Imagine the wariness emanating from a seven-year-old at looking at an unfamiliar face who was supposed to be my father.

I can almost still recall the uncomfortable feeling.  Then while growing up under the same roof with him, often than not, I felt like I was a total stranger to him.  Suffice it to say that my memories of a so-called father and man of the family was not a pleasant one, not to say the least, that growing up in a not-so-normal household would have traumatized many children, especially a young woman, exposed to violence and irresponsible behavior of adults.

As a teenager when having crushes, even boyfriends, is the norm, I lived in worry and wariness around men, for fear that my father would make a cripple out of any young men who might give me attention.  Looking back though, I might have my father to thank for for honing my senses as to what kind of man is ideal with me.  

Men who were not that courageous enough or in love enough went scurrying away without me lifting a finger to shoo them on their way.  Weren’t I sad to have not the chance to even enjoy much of their company?  Well, I was spared of getting my heart broken unnecessarily.

I have read on a book before that children when exposed to violence and traumatic experiences with a parent tend to grow as introverts, even, emotionally crippled.  In some sense, I was indeed an introvert.  

During my teenage years, my father had shown me excessive attention which if he had manifested it when I was still younger, I might had been ecstatic.  This sudden turn of events had caused me a lot of uncomfortable even embarassing experiences that would have incurred phobia and hysterics to other teenagers.  It made me feel odd but thanks to most of  my classmates those years, male and female, they had not made me feel like an alien among their midst.  They still accepted me and helped me make it through those difficult years.

Several more uncomfortable events occurred throughout my college days that would have made many young women cringe at the thought of ever having anything to do with men for fear that they might end with the same kind of man I had to live with for most of my teenage life.

Had I for a single moment thought of not marrying and creating a family of my own because of my bad experiences living with my father?

In all honesty, what I thought and prayed back then was to find a man whom God will grant me, who will accept and love me and my family for whatever he can see and know about our entire story.

When I finally met my husband, while I was looking at him at a distance, a flash of realization just suddenly hit me, and I said to myself, “this is it!  It’s him, the man I am destined to be with.”  More than a year after that, I took the plunge and exchanged vows with him.  

Nineteen years and counting, we are still together.  As I had said in my previous blogs, our marriage life was not an easy road to traverse.  Trials and hardships we both gone through added spice to a marriage meld by time and numerous tests.  But if asked if I regret any of those years with him?  Despite everything, I would say, I am glad I took courage and went beyond my inhibitions and fear, for I could have never chosen a much better man other than my husband.
In making a decision about our own life, we should remember, upon our hands lie the outcome of our actions.  By taking the risk, we might be uncertain of what lies ahead but we are the managers of our own destiny.  It is like driving a car along a cliff, the wheel is tightly grasped in our hands.  It lies upon us to what direction we can go-to safely reach our destination or to careen over the cliff. 

If we aspire something for our life, we need not put shackles around those dreams in fear  of the unknown.  The thrill of the unexpected and the unknowns spikes up the level of interest and makes life more exhilarating.  Life would be redundant and boring if we don’t explore what is out there.  We will never know the thrill of hurtling barriers if we don’t experience obstacles. We will never fully enjoy life if we always shy away from getting out of our protective shells.  

So, the choice is really up to you but why not…

Luxurious Moments?

Warm hugs and cuddles

Entirely make up

For all life struggles

That we’ve to face up.

I woke up this morning to warm hugs and cuddles.  Ain’t that the best way ever to wake up to?  It made me smile and greet the new day with a positive spirit and energy.  It wiped away the troubles and pains of yesterday effectively and made me feel thankful that I am given another day, another chance to enjoy life and submerge myself in this euphoric feeling of having loved as great a guy as this man smiling down at me, waking me up with a sweet kiss and warm hugs.

Over nineteen years of being married, being comfortable and fully-adjusted with each other’s sleeping patterns and habits complete with all the odd stuffs like snoring, gritting of teeth, even drooling (Ew!!!  Hahaha!!!).  

Each day had passed by almost in a blur, like movie scenes scrolled fast forward. Days came tumbling one after another, getting routinary –day in and day out — that we tend to take for granted wonderful, seemingly ordinary things and  events in our lives, such as waking up face-to-face with the same person we lived with all these years

Having days such as this, made me think back once again to those days when we were still young and just started out together on this journey we called “married life”.  Hay…

Oops, don’t misunderstand me.  I don’t regret being married and all that.  My married life may not be made up of silk and bright colors, but, neither is it all dreary black.  It may have been a bumpy ride but it isn’t that all scary.  I would say it has been fun.  There were ups and downs, loops and jumps, but all of these events had made life interesting and even exciting.  

It’s just that time can fly by us so swiftly.  It passes by us so fast that there were days we cannot even have the time to appreciate how bright the sun shines or how beautiful the birds sing.  We were just too busy living our lives, that is.

But, today waking up to such a beautiful day, made me wonder, how many times in the past years had I failed to savor the sweetness of moments like this?  Has it become a luxury that I failed to grasp and enjoy when it was already offered in a silver platter?

Whatever it is though, I decided once and for all, it’s not yet that too late for me to hold my fortune firmly in my hands.  I just have to once in a while lay back and enjoy my great fortune, indulge myself in luxury, if indeed time has turned moments like this into luxury…because I’m worthy of it.

Into Finding That Niche

While I was reading some posts from bloggers who recently liked my own posts or followed me, I came upon this post (please refer to this link:  https://gjseth.org/2017/04/20/what-to-write/) and I thought, he summed it all up what I am thinking right now.  Bravo, GJ Seth, you nailed it!

Well, you could say that from the start, I really don’t have a specific category in mind for my blog.  My blog was somewhat just an expression of my current state of mind or my present interests and I know that not so many are really interested with what is going on with someone else’s life unless they are very extraordinary, and not so many have the same interests in what interests me.

After four months of regular blogging every Wednesdays and Sundays (that is, if nothing odd is happening with me), I began to analyze my own blog.  Comparing it with the works of fellow bloggers I follow, I admit that the likes I was receiving were few. 

I then ask myself, what is my honest reaction to this?  
First of all, I am sad and disappointed.   Sad, because I felt I somewhat failed the people who gave me their vote of confidence by following me.  Disappointed, because I must have expected a bit too much for my own good.

Secondly, I feel uncertain, undecided.  What will I do next from this day onwards?  Is the blog still worth keeping?

Then, when everything was getting a bit emotional which seemed to be happening a little too often lately, I looked at my notifications and read through them again.  Then realization struck me like lightning in a very clear sky.

The fact that there are people who like my posts, old followers and new ones, even if it is only one or two, it does indicate that I haven’t totally failed in affecting people.  Though the main objective of the blog was to touch as many people as possible, being able to express myself explicitly in the first place, has already made the reason of creating this blog a success.

Wasn’t the reason of all these was “finding a niche of my own in the vast world of literature”?  So far, I can very well say that no matter how small that mark I have made, I believe that I did find that niche I was looking for.  It might be considered as just a little crack compared to others but creating rapport with the few wonderful bloggers I’ve met here so far, suffice for any disappointment I may have felt.  

So, as an advice to my own self, give yourself a chance to learn from past experiences of blogging.  Try to be more observant of what really is going on around you.  Feel what perks people up and gather inspiration from them.  Explore the vastness of this world with a keener mind and to not dwell too much in your own small world.

Hmm, good advice, don’t you think?  Let’s see if I can make good at it.

Facing The Mirror

When we say “mirror”, what’s the most popular line that comes to mind, will it be “Magic Mirror on the wall, who is the fairest of them all,” by the Evil Queen in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs?  Or in Philippine setting, is it Boy Abunda saying, “I’m bringing out my magic mirror”?  How about if you are to face your own imaginary mirror, are you ready to face your true self?  Am I?

Oftentimes, on Facebook, we see people (acquaintances, friends, family) who love to post famous quotes or derogatory lines that seemed to point fingers at another person or is meant to make another feel shameful or to prick someone’s conscience BUT failed to notice that these lines are more apt reminders to themselves.  I am sure a name of a particular someone will suddenly pop into your mind.

We ask ourselves, how come they don’t seem to realize it?

That is, for the plain reason that no one can see the mud on one’s face unless one faces the mirror and be honest enough to admit the truth that is revealed there no matter how harsh is it.

Yes, I say, it is very difficult for anyone to face one’s self in that imaginary mirror and see what is revealed there.  I’ll bet that not so many will even spare a moment to face that mirror.

Will you?

Facing the mirror might reveal two things:  things you are proud of yourself and things that you will never even admit to yourself to be capable of thinking or doing, things you are ashamed of.  Thus, facing the mirror is tantamount to facing the demons haunting your mind, or looking at the ghost of a forgotten past, or the gaping mouth of a lion making you tremble in trepidation, fear and shame.  It is, in other words, admitting to your weaknesses and mistakes to that one person who is most important to you, YOURSELF.

For even to myself I have to admit that facing that mirror might ask more than I am ready to give and might reveal more than I care to accept.

But today, I want to gather up the courage to face that mirror and look into what it will reveal.

It revealed that in my life, there are things that made me wish I can turn back the clock of times so I can change them, or that I can even change myself for the better.

It also revealed that there are things I am capable of doing for the sake of love, for the sake of my family, for survival, for the right to exist in this world.

But most of all, it revealed I am what I am today because of those events that happened in my past.  I can say that I became a much stronger, braver, and wiser person than I was before.

I may have grown in a  family that may not be all that different among the usual sob stories you see in television, but let it suffice to say that at a young age, I gained a deeper understanding of life.

I realized that in order to change what people can remember of me and my family, I had to change the direction of their thoughts not on the sad facts of my life but on my triumphant journey towards achieving the goals I have set my eyes upon.  I wanted them to always remember, instead, where I am now.

I am neither filthy rich, nor am I with a distinguished position in society but I feel what I have now–a stable job, a supportive mother, a loving husband and three lovely daughters, an undying dream–are enough to make me feel I am on the top of the world.

There are maybe things that I have done that I may regret for my whole life but then there is no point on lingering on such regrettable past for what is left to be done is to move forward and to try doing what is right so I won’t commit the same mistakes again.  I will maybe forever whip myself in my mind but I will not allow myself to forever cower in fear and shame, for in this world, I may not be perfect but I am the best in giving my all for my family.

So, how about you?  Are you ready in…

(Photo Credits:  Workbook on Facing the Mirror by Daphne Delay)

Negotiation:  A Deeper Understanding

Would you agree that whatever is our status in life, no matter what age, sex inclination, religious beliefs, and in whatever walks of life, we experienced negotiation one way or another?

Negotiation is not just a topic discussed in the study of Public Administration but it is one truth in our lives that we deal with even no matter how simple one’s life is or how basic things are done in the workplace or at home.

So, let me walk you through today on another topic of Public Administration as a theory and as a subject of research and presentations on the said course based on books (e.g.  Human Behavior in Organization by Roberto G. Medina, Ph.D.), Wikipedia and other sources.  Afterwards, allow me also to give you ideas or examples how we apply such theories consciously or unconsciously into our dealings with other people.  This topic is in line with my discussion last week about Executive Decision Making (http://wp.me/p8f1bw-1O).

So, what is negotiation?

Negotiation, according to BusinessDictionary.com, is a bargaining (give and take) process between two or more parties (each with its own aims, needs, and viewpoints) seeking to discover a common ground and reach an agreement to settle a matter of mutual concern or resolve a conflict.

There are two major approaches to negotiation (Robbins and Judge, p.58; Human Behavior in Organization by Roberto G. Medina, Ph.D., p. 249):

  1. Distributive Bargaining -“The Fixed Pie” approach;  the goals of the parties are in conflict, and each party seeks to maximize its share of the resources.  This win-lose approach is really a process of dividing or “distributing” scarce resources. 
  2. Integrative Negotiation          Everybody Wins Something (usually); described as the win-win scenario; the focus is on making it possible for both sides to achieve their objectives; usually involves a higher degree of trust and a forming of a long-term relationship to create mutual gain.

There are three basic elements of negotiation:

  1. Process refers to how the parties negotiate:  the context of the negotiations, the parties to the negotiations, the tactics used by the parties, and the sequence and the stages in which all of these play out.  Refer to the Negotiation Process presented on the image below.
  2. Behavior refers to the relationships among the parties, the communication between them and the styles they adopt. 
  3. Substance refers to what the parties negotiate over:  the agenda, the issues (positions and – more helpfully – interests), the options, and the agreement (s) reached at the end.

There are also five negotiation styles:  

  1. Competitive Style involves forcing others to accept one’s view.  Can take many forms, including authoritative mandate, challenges, arguing, insults, accusations, complaining, vengeance, and even physical violence (Morril, 1995).
  2. Avoiding Style adopts a “wait and see” attitude, hoping that problems will solve themselves.  Methods include changing the subject, skip meetings, or even leave the group altogether.
  3. Compromising Style are used by individuals who are eager to close the deal by doing what is fair and equal for all parties involved in the negotiation.
  4. Accommodating Style is a passive but prosocial approach to conflict by giving in to the demands of others for the sake of group unity or in the interest of time.
  5. Collaborating Style involves solving tough problems in creative ways and identifies the issues underlying the dispute and then works together to identify a solution that is satisfying to both sides.

    I am sure by now in your own mind you can identify from your own experience which of them can be classified as to the different negotiation styles you used to a particular situation.  Let me cite a few examples of simple events that may have happened in our lives where we apply the five styles of negotiation.

    First,  would you believe that in playing card games such as poker or even playing mahjong, each player adopts the competitive style? Each player wants to bring the pot money home.  Each will play their cards or tiles close to their chest but will try to pry as much information from the other side.  Each one will try to demoralize the other players so that the others cannot concentrate or play effectively, thus, winning the bet.

    Second, don’t you know that walking out of an argument or changing a topic when it’s getting hot and is more likely to aggravate a situation, either in the office or at home, is adopting the avoiding style?  We usually adopt this kind of attitude especially at home when we get into a misunderstanding with our love ones and we don’t want to say or do things we will regret later on.

    Third, are you aware that haggling with a fish or vegetable vendor for their produce or goods and agreeing on a stated price for these products is a form of adopting the compromising style?  There is a limited time to complete the deal so we just try to haggle as much as they will concede with the thought that we offered and they accepted what is fair and equal for both parties.

    Fourth, do you agree that conceding or accepting the point of views of someone close to you without really being convinced that he/she is correct is using the accommodating style?  This may look like superficial compliance but because we wanted to preserve relationships we give in to them and sometimes, in the process, gets taken advantage of.

    Fifth, would you agree that in this world, nothing is impossible, no hurdles can’t be tackled, no mountains can’t be climbed, no problem remains unsolved if we have that special someone who can hold our hands together, with God’s blessings, to collaborate with?  Try this most ideal style, the collaborating style, in more complex undertakings and find out how effective it can get.

    See?  If you had not realized it before how negotiation plays even in the mundane things we do, think again.  Different situations call for different styles but we should try to bear in mind that there is a lot of advantage in trying to adopt the collaborating style as much as possible, but if it really gets too difficult, try to, at least, settle and agree on a compromise.

    Dear Readers, I hope to receive your comments or your own point of view regarding this topic.

    How Loved Are You?

    “A heart is not judged by how much you love, but by how much you are LOVED BY OTHERS.” – Frank Morgan

    On this week’s flag ceremony, I am tasked to expound on this quote which was also in line with the celebration of Valentine’s Day this Tuesday.

    So hitting two birds with one stone, I will ponder on this thought today and post my speech here in time for my Sunday schedule and share it on other media tomorrow after I already delivered the speech.  Don’t you think that’s a brilliant idea?

    Anyway, as I sat here thinking about the topic more thoroughly, I asked myself. In the last twenty years of my life in government service, what have I done that other people will remember me by?  That is, if God suddenly takes me away (God forbid), will they think of me with sadness or  with fondness? (Hibian man ko bala nila?)  Or will they be happy and think ill of me? (Ayhan mahambal sila:  “Hmp!  Dayaw man ko na sa iya sa kalain batasan!”)  Or will they not think of me at all, as if I was neither worth remembering nor existing at all?  (Wala lang!  Deadma lang!)

    It is said that it is by our deeds that we are measured in the eyes of others.  Our every action, our every word, reflects our inner self.

    Will you choose to be remembered as the beast or as the beauty (Diin pilion mo, hambalan ka:  “law-ay na lain pa batasan, ukon hambalan ka: ” kaayo gid bala na nga tawo”)?  Or to be thought of as the villain or as the hero (Ang madumduman nga manugpatay ka iya kaupdanan ukon ang manugdampig)?  Or to become a politician with the heart to plunder and gain only personal wealth or as a leader with the heart for the people (Ang mangin isa ka politiko nga ang tinutuyo mangurakot lang sa gobyerno o mangin isa ka lider nga may tagipusuon para sa iya mga tawo)?

    The choice is upon us.  Whatever we choose to be is what we are going to be.  And what we are going to do for people to see is what they will remember us to be.  (Kun ano ang ginapakita ta sa mga tawo nga mga hilimuon, amo man na ang ila madumduman sa aton.)

    Have you tried gauging other people’s reaction?  You might be surprised of your own reflection.  Plant dissension, envy and anger in others and you will incite war.  But try to spread love, and you will beget love.  Be a heart that is loved more by others than a heart withered by selfishness and bad manners.

    Remember:  “What you sow is what you reap!”

    So, on this coming Valentine’s Day, the day is not just for loving couples, but for everyone with the heart to spread love.

    So, let us spread love, everyone! Happy Valentine’s Day!

    Finding One’s Self

    Wouldn’t finding Nemo or Dory be easier than finding one’s self? How can one lose one’s self, in the first place? 

    Let me share with you a post I made on Facebook on the topic three years ago. Please refer to the link herein. https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=10201460406659914&id=1468044218

    Many people may at one point or another feel like they are in a maze trying to find their way out but are just bumping into walls whichever way they choose to take.  It doesn’t mean for most of them that they don’t believe in a divine power (although there are some who are easy to believe in aliens than in the presence of God), it’s just that they are momentarily overwhelmed by the trials or hardships they are currently experiencing.

    As their friends, family, or acquaintances, we can just give them the support they need.  We can only assure them with well-meaning words or actions that we are there for them, that they are not alone, that even when they are feeling the most frustrated or at a time they feel so lost and no one seems to understand how they really feel, they are never alone for even one moment. They should read the poem, Footprints in the Sand, and understand that in all those times they felt things to be the most difficult and that they felt the most alone, are the times God were carrying them through it all.

    Like many other stories with the topic finding something that was lost, like Finding Nemo, in the end, with one’s determination and perseverance, plus a deep faith in divine guidance, the path towards knowing one’s self gets clearer.

    Walking inside the maze, bumping into walls for countless times, may prove frustrating but by being more focused and by learning valuable lessons at each wrong turn, ultimately no matter how long it will take, the road out of the maze will present itself. 

    Go forward. Be strong. Be positive. Be brave.