Like most motivational speakers, I love a good metaphor or analogy. And sometimes I hear myself use one and I think, "Wow! That says it exactly!" And if I happen to have a pen in my hand to actually write it down – well then I'm really cooking.
Metaphors can say in just a few words that which volumes cannot convey. Metaphors paint pictures that we can almost SEE in one moment.
I had a friend once who was in an abusive relationship. Did her husband physically hit her? No. He did, however, berate her, call her names and humiliate her. She justified staying with him for a variety of reasons: they owned a house together, a successful business, he never treated her badly in front of anyone else, he only did it when he drank, etc. Oh, and my favorite reason why she put up with it, "Well, I call him names too, so I can't really blame him."
Okay, what we have here is an abusive relationship. I can remember many times her telling me that she just couldn't live with it any more. She would talk for hours about how awful he was and how she couldn't believe that he would do and say the things he did. She would say that she was ready to do something about it. But then she did nothing. She'd stay right where she was and put up with it and continue to bemoan her outcast fate. I tried to be a good listener and support her but one day I just blurted out, metaphorically, what I thought she was doing. And she got it. Not right that moment. But she thought about it for a while and it wasn't long after that conversation that she actually left. Here was the analogy I used that seemed to help:
An abusive person is like an obscene phone caller.
You can stand there with the phone to your ear
asking over and over why they are saying all those awful things…
or you can just hang up the phone.
Maybe it's time for you to hang up the phone.
Do you have a situation where you haven't been able to get through to someone? Why not find a metaphor or analogy that might paint a clearer picture for you? Why you might even be able to do as my friend and colleague Colette Carlson suggests and Say It In a Sentence!