For additional resources and support, check out OptionB.Org, a nonprofit initiative dedicated to helping individuals build resilience in the face of adversity.
Skill Level Intermediate
- Two years ago, I lost my husband Dave unexpectedly which is an unimaginable thing to live through. I thought I would never get through it. I was worried my kids would never be happy again. So, I asked my friend Adam Grant, a psychologist, what could I do? - I knew from watching other people that it was possible to find strength in the face of real hardship. (gentle music) - When I lost Dave, it felt like I was sucked into a void like I couldn't quite breathe or think, and trying to get out of that void to feel like you could breathe again, like you would one day find joy, find happiness, find any sunshine, was an incredibly hard thing to do.
- I think of resilience as the strength and speed of our response to adversity. So, when something bad happens big or small, how much are we able to overcome it? Or, how well do we persevere in the face of it? - And I remember asking Adam, how much resilience do I have? How do I figure it out? How much do my kids have? And he said it was the wrong question. The question is not how much resilience you have because there's not a fixed amount. You build resilience and what I should be asking him is how do I build resilience? - It's a skill set that we work on throughout our lives. It's something that we can build long before we face any kind of tragedy or difficulty.
It's really about learning, what does it take for me to find the strength in a tough situation? And then being able to apply those skills when they're most needed. Severe adversity brings real perspective which is about finding appreciation and recognizing, my life could be worse, and realizing how fortunate you are to have the good things that you do in your life. - One of the things that really helped me recover the most but was completely counter-intuitive to me is one day Adam said to me, things could be a lot worse.
And I said to him, what do you mean things could be worse? I just lost my husband suddenly. Are you kidding? How could things be worse? - And the only thing I could think of was to say, Dave died of a cardiac arrhythmia and he could have had that same arrhythmia while driving your children in the car. - And it had never occurred to me, I could have lost all three of them in an instant not just one and actually the minute you say that, you're like okay. I'm alright. Thank God my children are alive.
And so even through this loss, I know I have so much to be grateful for. My own health, my children's health, every birthday, every dinner, every minute. And, I wish I had learned that before because if I could go back and tell Dave that I would. (gentle music)