“Never in the history of calming down has anyone ever calmed down by being told to calm down”
States a popular meme doing the rounds on social media. Whilst I would primarily agree with this statement, I think it is worth taking a closer look.
There are two problems about being told to calm down.
The sentence doesn’t tell you how to do it. If I gave you three balls and told you to juggle, then providing you haven’t practised at juggling, you will find three balls would quickly end up on the floor. Repeating myself or saying “Just juggle the balls” wouldn’t give you any more useful information. It lacks the required steps that are simple and easy to follow.
Being told how we should behave is irksome at the best of times. Being told to be calm, when it seems important that we need to take some kind of action, is likely going to break any level of connection we...