I first heard about Sheryl Sandberg on Oprah’s “SuperSoul Conversations” podcast. Sandberg spoke about her husband’s death and how her grief and healing led her to co-write the book Option B with psychologist Adam Grant. Although her husband’s passing did sadden my heart, it was not the topic of death that made me want to read the book; it was the idea of being tough and equipped enough to overcome extreme challenges as well as everyday obstacles. With the hope of becoming a more resilient individual, mom and partner, I borrowed Option B from the library and got to building my knowledge around resilience.
Option B visits many challenges that people undergo, but there were three specific areas that resonated with me the most: (1) how we can practice resilience within ourselves, (2) how we can help our children establish a foundation for resilience so that they can continue the practice as they grow into independent individuals, and (3) how we can incorporate resilience into our relationship with our partners in order to strengthen connection.
Option B on Practicing Resilience Within Ourselves
Who we are is measured by how we react to something that does not go our way. This life is a game of mistakes, and it is all right to embrace those mistakes. It is not about how we can make things better, but about what we can do better. We can all learn from failure, and this is important to remember as we raise children. This all reminds me that it is normal to be imperfect, and resilience can come from our greatest imperfections.
Option B on Raising Resilient Children
Resiliency is not a personality trait that children are born with, but a project that parents, caregivers, teachers, and friends must work together to instill. There are many ways within our relationships with children that we can assist them in building resilience. One of the ways is helping children develop four core beliefs. The four beliefs — as stated in the book — are: “(1) they have some control over their lives; (2) they can learn from failure; (3) they matter as human beings; and (4) they have real strengths to rely on and share.”
I want those four beliefs engraved in my own heart!
Option B on Resilience in a Relationship
Option B mentioned something that removed some pressure off of my heart, it confirmed that it can be normal for the spark to fade after a couple falls in love. (Yay! So my husband and I are not necessarily going down the road to separation!) It made sense to me when the book broke down the relationship between two people into three parties: you, your significant other, and the relationship itself, which requires protecting and nurturing to withstand the challenges that will inevitably arise, such as when the spark fades. Sandberg and Grant recommend for couples to do things together, and to make things exciting by trying new things, such as playing a board game.
In addition to the aforementioned areas that resonated with me, there are an additional three things that are emphasized in the book that gave me a new perspective on obstacles. Option B presents them as the three Ps — adversity does not have to be personal, pervasive, or permanent, but resilience can be. “We can build [resilience] and carry it with us throughout our lives.” Tragedy does not happen to us because of the person we are (it is not personal), it does not have to intrude on every piece of our lives (it does not have permission to be pervasive), nor will it last forever (it will not be permanent although it might feel like it will).
We all face adversity, some are big traumas, and some of them are daily challenges. Resilience is needed to withstand all of it. I recommend this book if you are looking for tools to strengthen yourself or to help a friend.
We may not have control over what happens to us, but we do have the control to influence how we manage the hardships in our lives.
Are you looking for your Option B? —Jasmin