Reflections by Sheryl Sandberg after her husband suddenly died. She struggled dealing with bereavement and found it hard people not asking how she is doing. Some people who hadn’t been through similar experiences simply didn’t know what to say and didn’t want to upset her so avoided the conversation.
Post-traumatic growth can take five different forms according to Tedeschi and Calhoun:
Finding personal strength
Forming deeper relationships
Discovering more meaning in life
Seeing new possibilities
After awhile she gains some perspective, the little things no longer stress her out. She perceives she is now stronger, more centred and more reasonable.
In the past things that would have annoyed her are kept in perspective and she thinks ‘Ah, that’s nothing. I am here.’”
Family and religion are the greatest sources of meaning for many people. Work can also be a source of purpose. The jobs where people find the most meaning are often ones that serve others.
When her confidence was low she wrote down three things that she had done well each day. When her confidence returned she started to down three moments of joy that had occurred each day. This led to her jotting down happy moments when they occurred and her also taking more notice and appreciate these flashes of joy.
“It’s not a blessing and there is no disguise. But there are things to be gained and things to be lost, and on certain days, I’m not sure that the gains are not as great as, or even greater than, the inevitable losses.”
Tragedy does not have to be personal, pervasive, or permanent, but resilience can be. We can build it and carry it with us throughout our lives.