What is your Option B?

Setbacks, problem, painful situation, and unexpected life’s twist may be considered as someone else’s “drama” but what if these are your reality?

It is always easy to judge other people and claim that life will get better but adversities really happen as much as we want to avoid them. Considering all various bombings, wars, and attacks that are currently happening right now all over the world, how can one really bounce back? Whether it may be a sudden regional incident or an excruciating personal dilemma, how can we all develop resilience and find happiness once again no matter how impossible it can be?

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Option B by Sheryl Sandberg and Adam Grant pushes the readers to take into account various perspectives as Sandberg narrates her journey on how she copes up with her husband’s unexpected death. The book also provides various examples of problems in work, studies, relationships, health, and life in general.

Words are powerful, especially if they can touch one’s innermost cries. Here are some of my favorite quotations from the book which I hope to empower and lessen one’s load.

I

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There are no words to describe the pain and consequence when life hits you hard. For me, I always blame myself because I think it is much better than to blame someone else or the situation for our own misfortunes.

This book encourages every reader to practice self-compassion. To accept the negative situations in life without putting one’s self down. It is a matter of being brave to be honest and  conquer one’s own demons without falling into depression or self-destruction.

“Martin Seligman found that three P’s can stunt recovery: (1) personalization- the belief that we are at fault; (2) pervasiveness-the belief that an event will affect all areas of our life; and (3) permanence- the belief that the aftershocks of the event will last forever… Recognizing that negative events aren’t personal, pervasive, or permanent makes people less likely to get depressed and better able to cope” (16).

“I learned that when life pulls you under, you can kick against the bottom, break the surface, and breathe again” (29).

“Self-confidence is critical to happiness and success. When we lack it, we dwell on our flaws. We fail to embrace new challenges and learn new skills. We hesitate to take even a small risk that can lead to a big opportunity. We decide not to apply for a new job, and the promotion we miss becomes the moment our career stalled. We don’t muster the courage to ask for a first date, and the future love of our life becomes the one who got away” (64).

“When we look for joy, we often focus on the big moments. Graduating from school. Having a child. Getting a job. Being reunited with family. But happiness is the frequency of positive experiences, not the intensity” (100).

“[T]he love we need to lead a fulfilling life cannot only come from others but must come from inside us as well” (172).

Others 

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In terms of other people, there are two perspectives. First is how one will react to the misfortunes of others and how one will act or not act at all as a response. In times of trouble, I learn who my real friends are. It is also surprising to know that sometimes one can also find comfort in the company of strangers because they are just there beside you. Eventually, these strangers will begin to be one of your true friends as well. Thus,  it is always not too late to create meaningful relationships with others, if something ended.

“Not everyone feels comfortable talking openly about personal tragedy. We all make our own choices about when and where and if we want to express our feelings. Still, there’s powerful evidence that opening up about traumatic events can improve mental and physical health. Speaking to a friend or family member often helps people understand their own emotions and feel understood” (39).

“When people close to us face adversity, how do we give them a button to press? While it seems obvious that friends want to support friends going through a crisis, there are barriers that block us. There are two different emotional responses to the pain of others: empathy, which motivates us to help, and distress, which motivates us to avoid” (47).

Together

Some adversities do not only affect an individual but they can also have larger implication to personal relationships or in a specific society/country in general.

“Even in the face of atrocity, elevation leads us to look at our similarities instead of our differences. We see the potential for good in others and gain hope that we can survive and rebuild” (136).

We are all currently working on our first options. For me, Option A is our best choice on how to live our life but if something unexpected happens, it is not bad to have an Option B.

I’m glad that sometimes this newly improved option will help us pick up the pieces of our first option. Option B helps us to bounce back higher in life and create more meaningful relationships because of the growth brought by our past experiences.

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