When life sucks you under, you can kick against the bottom, find the surface, and breathe again.
When you experience a loss of dreams during your life, you can find yourself in a deep fog of grief, a void, an emptiness that fills your heart and your lungs, constricts your ability to think or even to breathe. You may even find yourself experiencing an overwhelming grief that feels like it will never end. You may experience it as a depth of sadness and a brutality of loss. But with time and work you can learn the lessons about hope, about strength, and about the light within us that will not be extinguished. You can learn that in the face of the void or in the face of any challenge, you can choose joy and meaning.
There’s loss of opportunities, the job that doesn’t work out, the illness or crime that changes everything in an instant. There’s loss of dignity, the sharp sting of prejudice when it happens. There’s loss of love: the broken relationships that can’t be repaired. And sometimes, there’s loss of life itself.
The easy days ahead of you will be easy. It is the hard days – the days that challenge you to your very core – that will determine who you are. The seeds of resilience are planted in the way to process the negative events of our lives. We should accept our feelings, but know that they won’t last forever. Finding gratitude and appreciation is key to resilience. People who take the time to list the things they are grateful for are happier and healthier. So this week, this month, this year, before you go to bed, write down three moments of joy you experienced. This simple practice can change your life; because no matter what happens each day, you will go to bed thinking of something cheerful. Try it.
Deep within you is the ability to learn and grow. You are not born with a fixed amount of resilience. It’s a muscle. You can build it up and draw on it when you need it. In that process, you figure out who you really are, and you just might become the very best version of yourself.
Source: Adapted from Sheryl Sandberg’s graduation speech at the UC Berkeley.
(image description: the image is the following quote, Above all, find gratitude for the gift of life itself and the opportunities it provides for meaning, for joy, and for love, by Sheryl Sandberg to the Viginia Tech class of 2017)