The Three p’s

The three P’s stand for:

  1. Personalization
  2. Pervasiveness
  3. Permanence

When we think that we are responsible for a tragic event, that is personalization. Sandberg explains that she kept personalizing her husband’s death, finding ways that she somehow should have prevented the event from occurring.

Pervasiveness is the belief that when a tragic event occurs, we feel that it’s going to impact all aspects of our life, we feel that the tragedy is going to consume us. We feel that a specific event is going to stop us from functioning and succeeding in other parts of our life.

After a tragedy, we feel that our emotional state, our fragility will last forever. We can’t imagine ourselves recovering and being able to live a fulfilling life. We are convinced that the emotions and grief that we’re dealing with will never go away.

The combination of these three P’s is what challenges our resilience. Sandberg, through sharing her story of struggle with the three P’s  shows us as the reader how to be more resilient and overcome the inevitable issues we will face in life.

Grounded hope—the understanding that if you take action you can make things better.

silence is not the answer

Sandberg talks about how the silence, the elephant in the room that nobody wanted to address after her husband’s death actually made the situation WORSE for her. That was very interesting insight for me, because I always felt that when I’ve encountered friends that are dealing with a tragic event, the best course of action is to avoid the topic.

I was wrong. Sandberg explains that the mindset of “if I bring it up, they’ll remember” is ridiculous. A tragic event sticks with somebody regardless of whether or not you talk about it, they won’t suddenly forget. The issue specifically when dealing with someone’s death is that through silence we’re not remembering the person, we’re not honoring the person. If we’re silent and we don’t talk about the elephant in the room, we’re not giving the other person the opportunity to remember and that person may feel that their loved one has gone forgotten.

Post-traumatic growth could take five different forms: finding personal strength, gaining appreciation, forming deeper relationships, discovering more meaning in life, and seeing new possibilities.



The ideas discussed are relevant for a variety of tragic events, not only death. Although Sandberg talks about her personal experiences dealing with the death of her husband, the ideas and the message is relevant for any adversity or grievance you may be dealing with.


Sandberg wears her heart on her sleeve and shares intimate details of her struggle with her husband’s death. Sandberg gives us the opportunity to learn from her struggles and reminds us that we’re able to be resilient and overcome tragedy.

This book is for you if…

  • You are dealing with adversity –  This book can help you recognize your ability to become more resilient
  • You have friends struggling with the death of a loved one – This book can help you avoid some of the unintended mistakes that we make when trying to support our friends and family