The title alone to Sheryl Sandberg’s latest book made it irresistible to me.
Option B. Facing adversity, building resilience, and finding joy.
I wanted to know more for me and for our kiddos. All of us weren’t facing the life or world we expected. There’s so much hard and sad in foster care. On every side of it.
For those who don’t know Sandberg’s story, her beloved husband died suddenly 2 years ago. Leaving her and her kids to find a new forever.
She vulnerably shares her walk through the valley of the shadow of death, and beautifully weaves in others’ painful journeys alongside her own.
Much of what she writes resonated with me. Everything from a newfound “reservoir of sadness” to the therapeutic effect of writing.
And yet, I was more struck by her co-author Adam Grant’s wisdom. He brought science to her emotion. And it’s hard to beat a good statistic.
Obviously only reading it will do it justice, but I’ll summarize the two bits that stuck with me most.
First, there’s self-compassion. Something I’ve long thought of as an out I don’t deserve. Sandberg and Grant define it instead as “recognizing that our imperfections are part of being human.” They go on to draw a direct parallel between self-compassion and resilience, while still leaving room for remorse and responsibility. It’s about guilt versus shame.
Then there’s the 3 p’s that stunt recovery from trauma:
- Personalization – the belief that we are at fault
- Pervasiveness – the belief that an event will affect all areas of our life
- Permanence – the belief that the aftershocks of the even will last forever
It comes down to this: “Hundreds of studies have shown that children and adults recover more quickly when they realize that hardships aren’t entirely their fault, don’t affect every aspect of their lives, and won’t follow them everywhere forever.”
Hundreds of studies. Okay, I believe you.
So if I want to recover, to move forward, to grow, I have to be kind to myself. And then I have to hope.
I think I can manage that. For me and for our kids to come.