Imagine you’re preparing for a major moment in your life which involves standing on stage and performing in front of a room full of strangers that have an expectation of you. Someone walks up to you on the side of the stage a few minutes before you go on and with the best of intentions says, “You’re going to do great. Don’t be nervous.”
Don’t be nervous is terrible advice. Bring all your emotions to the forefront so you can look them in the eye and get to the root cause of them. It’s unfortunate, but pretending issues don’t exist only solidify their existence and nerves don’t escape that truth. Instead of saying “Don’t be nervous” to someone, help them bring their nerves to the light:
“How are you feeling right now?”
“Great, nerves are symbols of courage, you’ve earned them. They are the proof you’re doing something that makes you feel worthy. You are challenging yourself to be uncomfortable and that takes such courage. Trust who you are and that you were not put in this position by accident. Now go reap the rewards of your hard work.”
I have found positivity, rationalization and de-escalation of nerves to be incredibly helpful.