Word-Of-the-Week #617: Buoyancy

June 2, 2016 by  

Bouyancy – the ability to recover quickly from setbacks.

How easily do you recover from setbacks? Are you able to “stay afloat” knowing that not all areas of your life are bleak? Do you go to sleep worrying about all the things you messed up during the day?

This week contains the final excerpts from the LA Times article written by Jessica Roy, “Sandberg to Berkeley grads: Stay resilient” Facebook executive shares life lessons after husband’s death. To recap “Sheryl Sandberg said her own resilience after her husband’s death came from the “three Ps,” as identified by psychologist Martin Seligman. Personalization “is the lesson that not everything that happens to us happens because of us” and Pervasiveness is “the belief that an event will affect all areas of your life”.

The article continues with, “Permanence is “the belief that the sorrow will last forever.”

“For months, no matter what I did, it felt like the crushing grief would always be there. But it wasn’t true,” she said. Her rabbi encouraged her to “lean into the suck” of feeling bad – “good advice, but not really what I meant by ‘lean in’,” she joked. Accept your feelings, but know they won’t last forever.a buoyancy

Toward the end of her speech, Sandberg talked about the times earlier in her life when she wished she’d known about the three Ps: When she thought she’d get fired from her first job because she didn’t  know how to use the spreadsheet software on the first day. When boyfriends broke up with her and she blamed herself. When her first marriage ended in divorce.

“The three Ps are common emotional reactions to so many things that happen to us – in our careers, our personal lives and our relationships. You’re probably feeling one of them right now about something in your life. But if you can recognize you are falling into these traps, you can catch yourself. Just as our bodies have a physiological immune system, our brains have a psychological immune system – and there are steps you can take to help kick it into gear,” she said.

The speech came to an end with a reminder to be grateful. She said she learned to truly appreciate her children, her friends and her family after her husband’s death.

“I have a huge reservoir of sadness that is with me always – right here where I can touch it. I never knew I could cry so often – or so much. But I am also aware that I am walking without pain. For the first time, I am grateful for each breath in and out – grateful for the gift of life itself. I used to celebrate my birthday every five years and friends’ birthdays sometimes. Now I celebrate always. I used to go sleep worrying about all the things I messed up that day – and trust me, that list was often quite long. Now I try really hard to focus on each day’s moments of joy.”

Finally, she told the audience, “Appreciate your own capacity for resilience when you’re sad or disappointed. You are not born with a fixed amount of it. Like a muscle, you can build it up, draw on it when you need it. In that process you will figure out who you really are – and you just might become the very best version of yourself.”

This week’s focus is on buoyancy. Can you picture yourself recovering quickly from any setbacks? Can you accept that a setback won’t last forever? How would it feel to figure out who you really are and become the very best version of yourself?

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