The ‘Show Me, Don’t Tell Me’ Conundrum

In a world where nothing is as it appears, it is difficult to maneuver through life where duplicity pervades our every interaction with self and others. Most Americans are naively living in fraudulent relationships, working with fraudulent people and parenting children in a fraudulent manner. It is an internal and external competition that you did not consciously sign up for and nor do you acknowledge. This lack of awareness is a fine fiber that is disintegrating your relationships.

A perfect example of a pervasive fraudulent perspective is the age old saying, “show me, don’t tell me”. Do you subscribe to this line of thinking?

In my humble opinion, the person who embraces the saying “show me, don’t tell me” as a personal mantra often demonstrates duplicity in its highest form. From my experience, these are the people who you question their behavior and they follow it up with the GREAT AMERICAN LIE. Adopters of this mentality unknowingly create internal and external conflict and chip, chip, chip, chip away at the staple of any relationship: Trust. The late Stephen Covey speaks of duplicity in his work The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. If you hold his work in the same high regard I do, you know it is a significant concept to explore. Duplicity by definition is speaking or acting in two different ways to different people concerning the same matter. Also known as, two-faced, double-dealing swindler! How can we achieve the benefit of transparent, vulnerable, trusting and healthy relationships if words and actions are not aligned?

As a Speaker and Trainer, I place a significant emphasis on words. I am a communicator by nature and so what you tell me is equally as important as what you show me. We are a society that is suffering from neurotic bursts of conflicting dialogue and actions. The problem with ‘show me, don’t tell me’ is that your internal, emotional struggles are difficult to be understood. In a world where stress seems to be the norm, how do you know if behavior is a result of the overwhelming pressure one is experiencing? If your words do not match your actions, what do you believe first? How do we trust a person who says one thing but is doing another? Why when called on your poor behavior do you choose to deceit, lie, manipulate and further remove yourself from the true motive for your actions?

The answer my friends to the fundamentally flawed line of thinking ‘show me, don’t tell me’ is to match your words with your actions. This requires a journey inward and the ability to acknowledge where you are not matching up in your life. Reboot your thinking and consider a small shift in perspective; ‘show me AND tell me’. You cannot have one without the other. Why are you uncomfortable speaking your true feelings when explaining your behavior? Why do you choose to withhold the truth even though your actions are telling another story?

The only way to THE answer is by asking yourself THE right questions. Question behind the Question: Where in your life are you duplicitous? Does hypocrisy pervade your daily life? How do you know? Why are you uncomfortable matching words with behavior? Have you taken the time to quiet the noise around you to answer the age old question that may be contributing to the sucky situations in your life – WHY? Show Me AND Tell Me.