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8 Things Somebody with Depression Never Wants To Hear

8 Things Somebody with Depression Never Wants To Hear

Depression is a serious medical condition that is often misunderstood by the general public. Unfortunately, many people who have never suffered from the disease tend to underestimate the detrimental effects it can have on a person’s physical, emotional, and mental well-being. Many well-meaning friends may say or do something intended to help a loved one that will ultimately make things much worse for the suffering individual. If you want to help a friend through this incredibly difficult stage of life, avoid saying any of the following:

1. Have you tried…?

Yes, yes I have. Listening to music, going outside, seeing a psychiatrist. I’ve tried everything. I’d do anything to not feel like this all of the time. Unfortunately, going through depression is a work in progress. There is no single way to get through it. But believe me, nothing you suggest is going to flip a switch in my head and turn off my depression.

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2. You shouldn’t dwell on things so much

You’re right, I shouldn’t. But I can’t help it. That’s literally what depression does. It takes all of the negative aspects of a person’s life and magnifies them a thousand times over, so it’s impossible to see any sort of silver lining through the gigantic dark clouds above. It’s almost impossible not to dwell on the negative when it’s the only thing your brain is allowing you to see.

3. What are you so sad about?

If I knew, I’d work on it. Depression is an enigmatic disease which makes it difficult to pinpoint the problem, and so it’s impossible to figure out how to fix what’s wrong. I know there are good things going on in my life, but I just can’t be happy about them. Bringing this to my attention only serves to make me more sad. I know you want to help, but just let me be sad without pointing out the reasons I should be happy.

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4. You just gotta have fun!

Oh, it’s that easy? Let me get right on that. Actually, depression hits the hardest when you realize you no longer enjoy the things you used to enjoy doing. When you’re in a “bad mood,” it helps to watch a comedy, or go to the driving range. But when you’re depressed, even these fun activities aren’t enough to improve your mood. And, again, when you realize you’re not enjoying yourself when doing something you used to love, this only digs you deeper into a depressive hole.

5. You shouldn’t rely on pills to make you happy

Not everyone suffering from depression relies on medication, but those who do usually do so as a last resort. Depression medication has a ridiculous amount of side effects that no one would voluntarily put themselves through unless they absolutely had no other choice. We didn’t just get a friend of a friend who happens to be a doctor sign off on medication for us; we actually need it to be able to function semi-normally.

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6. Don’t cry

Why not? I’d rather feel sadness than nothing at all. At least when I’m crying I know I can still feel something. And sometimes, it actually makes me feel better. If I stop crying, it will only serve you; you’ll probably think I’m “over” whatever I was sad about. But if I withhold tears for everyone else’s sake, I’m most likely just bottling things up and am doing myself a disservice.

7. You have a lot to be happy about

I know I do! I know I have a roof over my head and food in my fridge, but that’s not what this is about. I can’t even enjoy the taste of a good meal because my mind is playing tricks on every other part of my body. I know I have a good job, but that’s not enough to get me up and out of bed on my worst days. Like I said before, pointing out all the reasons I should be happy is only going to have the opposite effect.

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8. Snap out of it

Why didn’t I think of that? This should never be said to anyone who’s visibly upset, let alone someone suffering from depression. If you broke your leg, you couldn’t just decide not to have a broken leg anymore. The same goes for depression. It requires medical attention, therapy, and a gradual return to baseline in order to be cured correctly. Pushing it before you’re ready will only exacerbate the problem in the long run. Just give me the time I need to get better, and I’ll get there eventually.

Featured photo credit: Depression / Victor via farm9.staticflickr.com

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Last Updated on April 6, 2020

10 Powerful Ways to Influence People Positively

10 Powerful Ways to Influence People Positively

Most discussions on positively influencing others eventually touch on Dale Carnegie’s seminal work, How to Win Friends and Influence People. Written more than 83 years ago, the book touches on a core component of human interaction, building strong relationships. It is no wonder why.

Everything that we do hinges on our ability to connect with others and formulate deep relationships. You cannot sell a house, buy a house, advance in most careers, sell a product, pitch a story, teach a course, etc. without building healthy relationships. Managers get the best results from their teams, not through brute force, but to careful appeals to their sensibilities, occasional withdrawals from the reservoir of respect they’ve built. Using these tactics, they can influence others to excellence, to productivity, and to success.

Carnegie’s book is great. Of course, there are other resources too. Most of us have someone in our lives who positively influences us. The truth is positively influencing people is about centering the humanity of others. Chances are, you know someone who is really good at making others feel like stars. They can get you to do things that the average person cannot. Where the requests of others sound like fingernails on a chalkboard, the request from this special person sounds like music to your ears. You’re delighted to not only listen but also to oblige.

So how to influence people in a positive way? Read on for tips.

1. Be Authentic

To influence people in a positive way, be authentic. Rather than being a carbon copy of someone else’s version of authenticity, uncover what it is that makes you unique.

Discover your unique take on an issue and then live up to and honor that. Once of the reasons social media influencers are so powerful is that they have carved out a niche for themselves or taken a common issue and approached it from a novel or uncommon way. People instinctually appreciate people whose public persona matches their private values.

Contradictions bother us because we crave stability. When someone professes to be one way, but lives contrary to that profession, it signals that they are confused or untrustworthy and thereby, inauthentic. Neither of these combinations bode well for positively influencing others.

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2. Listen

Growing up, my father would tell me to listen to what others said. He told me if I listened carefully, I would know all I needed to know about a person’s character, desires and needs.

To positively influence others, you must listen to what is spoken and what is left unsaid. Therein lies the explanation for what people need in order to feel validated, supported and seen. If a person feels they are invisible, and unseen by their superiors, they are less likely to be positively influenced by that person.

Listening meets a person’s primary need of validation and acceptance.

Take a look at this guide on how to be a better listener: How to Practice Active Listening (A Step-By-Step Guide)

3. Become an Expert

Most people are predisposed to listen to, if not respect, authority. If you want to positively influence others, become an authority in the area in which you seek to lead others. Research and read everything you can about the given topic, and then look for opportunities to put your education into practice.

You can argue over opinions. You cannot argue, or it is unwise to argue, over facts and experts come with facts.

4. Lead with Story

From years of working in the public relations space, I know that personal narratives, testimonials and impact stories are incredibly powerful. But I never cease to be amazed with how effective a well-timed and told story can be.

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If you want to influence people, learn to tell stories. Your stories should be related to the issue or concept you are discussing. They should be an analogy or metaphor that explains your topic in ordinary terms and in vivid detail. To learn more about how to tell powerful stories, and the ethics of storytelling, take a look at this article: How To Tell An Interesting Story In 4 Simple Steps

5. Lead by Example

It is incredibly inspiring to watch passionate, talented people at work or play. One of the reasons a person who is not an athlete can be in awe of athletic prowess is because human nature appreciates the extraordinary. When we watch the Olympics, Olympic trials, gymnastic competitions, ice skating, and other competitive sports, we can recognize the effort of people who day in and day out give their all. C

ase in point: Simone Biles. The gymnast extraordinaire won her 6TH all-around title at the U.S. Gymnastics Championships after doing a triple double. She was the first woman to do so. Watching her gave me chills. Even non-gymnasts and non-competitive athletes can appreciate the talent required to pull off such a remarkable feat.

We celebrate remarkable accomplishments and believe that their example is proof that we too can accomplish something great, even if it isn’t qualifying for the Olympics. To influence people in a positive way, we must lead by example, lead with intention and execute with excellence.

6. Catch People Doing Good

A powerful way to influence people in a positive way is to catch people doing good. Instead of looking for problems, look for successes. Look for often overlooked, but critically important things that your peers, subordinates and managers do that make the work more effective and more enjoyable.

Once you catch people doing good, name and notice their contributions.

7. Be Effusive with Praise

It did not take me long to notice a remarkable trait of a former boss. He not only began and ended meetings with praise, but he peppered praise throughout the entire meeting. He found a way to celebrate the unique attributes and skills of his team members. He was able to quickly and accurately assess what people were doing well and then let them and their colleagues know.

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Meetings were not just an occasion to go through a “To Do” list, they were opportunities to celebrate accomplishments, no matter how small they are.

8. Be Kind Rather Than Right

I am going to level with you; this one is tough. It is easy to get caught up in a cycle of proving oneself. For people who lack confidence, or people who prioritize the opinions of others, being right is important. The validation that comes with being perceived as “right” feeds one’s ego. But in the quest to be “right,” we can hurt other people. Once we’ve hurt someone by being unkind, it is much harder to get them to listen to what we’re trying to influence them to do.

The antidote to influencing others via bullying is to prioritize kindness above rightness. You can be kind and still stand firm in your position. For instance, many people think that they need others to validate their experience. If a person does not see the situation you experienced in the way you see it, you get upset. But your experience is your experience.

If you and your friends go out to eat and you get food poisoning, you do not need your friends to agree that the food served at the restaurant was problematic for you. Your own experience of getting food poisoning is all the validation you need. Therefore, taking time to be right is essentially wasted and, if you were unkind in seeking validation for your food-poison experience, now you’ve really lost points.

9. Understand a Person’s Logical, Emotional and Cooperative Needs

The Center for Creative Leadership has argued that the best way to influence others is to appeal to their logical, emotional and cooperative needs. Their logical need is their rational and educational need. Their emotional need is the information that touches them in a deeply personal manner. The cooperative need is understanding the level of cooperation various individuals need and then appropriately offering it.

The trick with this system is to understand that different people need different things. For some people, a strong emotional appeal will outweigh logical explanations. For others, having an opportunity to collaborate will override emotional connection.

If you know your audience, you will know what they need in order to be positively influenced. If you have limited information about the people whom you are attempting to influence, you will be ineffective.

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10. Understand Your Lane

If you want to positively influence others, operate from your sphere of influence. Operate from your place of expertise. Leave everything else to others. Gone are the days when being a jack of all trades is celebrated.

Most people appreciate brands that understand their target audience and then deliver on what that audience wants. When you focus on what you are uniquely gifted and qualified to do, and then offer that gift to the people who need it, you are likely more effective. This effectiveness is attractive.

You cannot positively influence others if you are more preoccupied by what others do well versus what you do well.

Final Thoughts

Influencing people is about centering your humanity. If you want to influence others positively, focus on the way you communicate and improve the relationship with yourself first.

It’s hard to influence others if you’re still trying to figure out how to communicate with yourself.

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Featured photo credit: Wonderlane via unsplash.com

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