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Sheryl Sandberg on Coping With Grief

How Sheryl Sandberg Rebuilt Her Confidence After the Loss of Her Husband

Facebook executive Sheryl Sandberg has been coping with the sudden death of her husband for two years. She's learned a lot about grief and loss, and now she's sharing her findings in her new book, Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience, and Finding Joy. She partnered up with psychologist Adam Grant to write the book, which explores how loss can change your life in an instant.

One aspect of losing a loved one that Sandberg explores is how it can affect your confidence. Going back to work was not easy for her. "It wasn't just that I was so grief-stricken; it was that really no one knew what to say to me," she told CBS News. "And for a lot of people I think they were afraid of saying the wrong thing. So they just said nothing at all. And so I started to feel more and more and more isolated."

Grant, Sandberg's coauthor, gave her some incredibly useful advice to rebuild her self-confidence. He told her to write down three things she did well that day before she went to sleep. At first the Facebook exec found the practice to be ridiculous, because she could only think of things like "had fewer diet sodas." But soon enough, the practice of writing down her positive actions truly helped her. It was the last thing she thought about before going to sleep, and her confidence began building up again.


This is one of many incredibly useful coping mechanisms Sandberg explains in her book. There are so many small steps you can take that can end up making a huge difference. She has helped her children manage their grief with another listing system. One day, she sat down with them and took out a large poster board to write down a list of "family rules" to remind them of how they can cope with their grief. She reminded them of things like "It's OK to be sad and to take a break from any activity to cry." It's these little actions that promote healing and growing — something we all must do from time to time.

Image Source: Getty / Vincent Isore
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