I was three pages in and already tears were dropping like mini water bombs, smudging the words on the page. I've never been so moved by a Book before, ever. It was heartbreaking yet heartwarming, captivating and inspiring.
The Book's name?
Option B. Written by a woman who, although I've never met her, I feel huge admiration and respect toward. Sheryl Sandberg.
In Option B, Sheryl shares her story with raw honesty, describing the life-changing moment the unimaginable happened- the sudden death of her Husband, Dave.
Reading Sheryl's account of the day Dave passed, I thought to myself about the nature of these events, how they seem to happen out of nowhere. We wake up on such mornings and the World seems as it usually does. Yet in a heartbeat, our Worlds change. Like a tidal wave appearing out of nowhere an event can engulf us and sweep us off of our feet.
Through the course of our lives, we'll all experience life-shattering events and the great sadness, shock and other emotions that accompany them. Suffering is inevitable. But as Sheryl Sandberg so brilliantly communicates in her Book, there is hope.
My biggest takeaway from Option B comes from a Psychologist Martin Seligman and it's called the 3 P's. Through decades of studying how people respond to challenging life setbacks, Seligman has identified these 3 P's as prohibiting an individuals recovery.
#1. Personalisation (The belief that we are at fault).
What if I could have done more to prevent this?
Looking back, our minds may begin to create a story that, somehow, we are at fault.
We create a story about how if only we had done things differently, events would be different.
The friend of someone who committed suicide may tell themselves 'I should have noticed their unhappiness'.
Sheryl openly shares how she questioned her own role in Dave's cardiac arrest wondering if she should have pushed Dave into making health improvements.
In truth, so much of life is outside of our control and events happen, not because of our actions, well, they just happen. Why? Perhaps one of the most perplexing questions we can ask.
Why do terrible events happen? I'm far from certain. Some may say 'It's God's way', which may offer some degree of comfort.
What I am certain of is this- adding shame and guilt, on top of grief, shock, and sadness, never serves us.
#2. Pervasiveness (The Belief that an event will affect all areas of life).
Reading about this belief, my mind cast me back to the first time I was dumped by a girl (I was 9 years old). I remember standing in my bedroom, thinking to myself 'I won't be able to enjoy Cubs tonight because I'll be too upset'. Pulling myself together, I went to Cubs that evening and returned home with a smile on my face.
Pervasiveness is exactly this- the belief that an event has the power to negatively spill over and affect the other areas of our lives.
Look for the Good in life and you will find it. It may seem like life is all Doom and Gloom but it's not. At the start of July, we said goodbye to my Nana Joyce. My partner and I flew back to the UK for the funeral. Emotions were high that day as we remembered and celebrated my Nana's life and despite the sadness, there was a warm feeling of togetherness as the family supported one another.
As terrible and life-changing as events may be, they provide a green light for love and connection.
#3. Permanence (The belief that the aftershocks of the event will last forever).
It's not particularly helpful to be told 'You won't feel like this forever'when facing a setback.
Honouring how we are feeling by accepting it without judgment is vitally important.
In the back of our minds, however, we must have a hope that one day, we will feel better.
It may not be tomorrow, but it will come.
Sheryl's story is a testament that the aftershocks of an event don't last forever. Not only was Sheryl able to find joy again for herself- by sharing her story she is helping thousands of people around the world to do the same.
You've gathered by now, I thoroughly recommend reading Option B, prepare yourself to feel inspired, hopeful and better prepared for when Life pulls the carpet from beneath of your feet. Being mindful of the 3 P's won't change events but it'll certainly change how you respond and in turn, show you you're much stronger than you think.
Thanks for reading,
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