In the aftermath of her husband’s sudden and unexpected death during a vacation, Shery Sandberg turned to her friend Adam Grant (a psychologist and researcher who studies how people find motivation and meaning) for advice on how to talk to her children. She writes:
“We can start by showing children that they matter. Sociologists define “mattering” as the belief that other people notice you, care about you and rely on you. It’s the answer to a vital question that all children ask about their place in the world starting as toddlers, and continuing into and beyond adolescence: Do I make a difference to others?”
While this advice is meant for helping children develop resilience in the aftermath of loss, really, could it not be applied to people in general regardless of age? Adults too often struggle with feeling like they don’t belong in the world and understanding the role of being able to make a difference and of being relied on can be key to finding the drive and motivation to go on, persevere and rise in the face of the inevitable losses, disappointments and setbacks that accumulate as one lives one’s life.
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