The Worst Advice You Can Give

13 september 2018

We all do this (all the time). 

We even mean well when we do this.

But we should stop doing it now.


Stop telling others how not to feel. 


Don't say things like:

'You don’t have to be so stressed / angry / upset'. 


When you tell others how not to feel or be - 3 things happen:

  • they feel guilty, inadequate, angry or frustrated for being so stressed /angry / upset

  • they feel unsafe, judged by you

  • the feeling you want them to get rid of increases: they become more stressed /angry / upset.

And that is the exact opposite of what you intended - isn't it?


What to do instead:

Add safety!

  • allow them to feel what they feel - give them space

  • ask genuinely interested questions - so they can express exactly what they feel

  • only when they have felt heard and understood, can you gently propose to look at solutions


Emotions are not the enemy. Emotions are not dangerous. 

Emotions are your GPS in life. Don't turn them off when you don't like what they say.

Listen closely. Listen for their meaning.

Emotions make you smarter, if you let them.


When you give emotions space they reduce themselves to the right proportions - no yelling, screaming and shouting.

When you ignore or suppress emotions, they yell back at you. Or they hide for a while and get back with a vengeance.

Make them your ally, not your enemy.

Help others to do the same.

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