Every Wednesday

Every Wednesday I will post something about grief. Sometimes it will be a reflection on an aspect of grief’s landscape. Now and then I will share from my own journey of grief, because in the sharing of our stories we find strength and build a community of people that support one another.

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Sunday, November 12, 2017

Option B - part 2

Book: Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience, Finding Joy, by Sheryl Sandberg and Adam Grant.

This is the second part of my thoughts about the book.

When grievers feel ready to move on and want ideas for how, Sheryl and Adam’s book is quite helpful. It’s easy to read, informative, personal, engaging, and encouraging.

When we can reframe a moment, then we take control of it. (p. 108)

The authors say that when our planned Option A is no longer possible, look for Option B, an alternative we haven’t considered because we expected A to always be there. I imagine there are also Options C and D if B doesn’t work out. The point is that if we can’t have our first choice, there are still other things in life that we would like. Each chapter presents a step you can take, and provides the research and the experiences of others to bring that concept to life.

“The disappearance of one possible self can free us to imagine a new possible self.” (p. 91)

This is also partially a memoir. The heart-rending stories of Sheryl Sandberg’s early struggles with grief, the shock, chaos, and despair, are honest, and they appear throughout the book. She shares an experience from her grieving, then steps back and says what she learned from it, like “Grief has to unfold.” (p. 175).

Every day is a new day and we have choices. We can choose to continue doing what we’ve been doing, or we can choose to go in a new direction. While some things can’t be changed, other things can. The future is not set in stone, as we have learned.

If you feel battered down and stuck in a situation, acknowledge your emotions and find what helps you today. Find the people who are supportive of how you’re feeling. Take a step forward today. Take another step tomorrow. This builds hope on a foundation that is real, not just wishful thinking.

Having hope for the future makes a big difference. (p. 128)

The authors share four core beliefs that we can teach children (as well as ourselves): 1-you have some control over your life, 2-you can learn from failure, 3-you matter as a human being, 4-you have real strengths to rely on and share with others. (p. 111)

When we’re grieving, it’s tremendously hard to go from Option A to Option B mostly because we don’t want to. To go on with our lives feels like a betrayal of our loved ones. There comes a time, though, when we know that we have to move on, even though we don’t want to, and even though we know that our loved ones would want us to be happy again. When we finally feel ready to take those first shaky steps, this is when Sheryl and Adam’s book is helpful.

Given Sandberg and Grant’s business backgrounds, and their focus on success coming from working with others, it’s not surprising that this book is not the product of two people, but the result of a team of people and researchers. At the end of the book there are five pages of thank-yous.


This is how we survive grief – in the midst of a community of support.

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