I’m sure that we’ve heard of that when it comes to writing a novel. Show the events, don’t tell.

Something similar in life is, often we tell others to be a certain way, such as “be confident, be happier, don’t be sad, don’t let them bother you”. Have you heard of these phrases before? Perhaps our friends say that, our families or even someone we talk to. It seems like for many of us, it’s easy to tell people to snap out of a state they’re in, yet we’re forgetting something very important:

If they knew how to simply “get happy”, they wouldn’t be in that state.

I’ve been there before as well. I’ve felt depressed, felt overwhelmed, lacked confidence, and what never helped me was when someone told me to not be sad, to find confidence. It’s much easier said than done, and I feel that perhaps those who aren’t experiencing it really don’t realise just how difficult it is.

So what I suggest is, instead of telling someone to become a certain way, we should try and show them HOW.

How do you show them how? That’s tough, because everyone is different, but you can teach them ways of thinking, or what moment to think in a certain way, or what to say to themselves, or focus on something in particular. For example, it’s much easier for me to understand how to “focus on what I have” rather than “be grateful”. When you tell someone to think in a certain way that’s very specific, it helps them know how to do it!

Things to keep in mind:

When you show someone, you are teaching them what to think, what to say, rather than simply to say or to think. Often when people are stuck in a certain mindset, they don’t know how. For example, telling someone with anxiety to think positive is as bad as telling someone with a stomach ache to get better instantly without giving them a stomach reliever medicine. It simply doesn’t work!

When you are showing someone how, you have to really teach them the baby steps! Picture teaching a child to walk, you don’t just make them stand up and do it, you hold them and help them take one little step at a time.

Don’t assume that people want to feel this way. If they are depressed or feeling negative about something, they simply feel it. It has nothing to do with them wanting to feel this way. You may believe they just want to be drowned in depression, but they don’t, believe me. If they could, they would choose not to feel this way.