Suppose you have a simple statement like:

We should not run away from problems but face them and overcome them

What, in general, is the way to go about expressing a simple, direct statement like this in a more figurative way?

I am writing a personal essay and this is the central idea of my essay. i had trouble concluding. Thank you for all your comments.

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    You are asking 'what to write' or 'brainstorming.' Both are off topic. I am going to edit your question to better fit guidelines. You can edit back to the original if you don't like my edits. – DPT Apr 17 '18 at 15:26
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    @DPT - I think your instinct was right on, but your edit really added a lot that was not in the original, and removed some important details that were. I edited again for a middle ground version that hopefully keeps your work to make it on topic without changing it quite as heavily. – Chris Sunami supports Monica Apr 17 '18 at 16:07
  • @ChrisSunami It's still asking what to write. Also, the whole point of the question is incredibly vague. I mean, why would the asker want to express that statement in a more figurative way? What effect (on the reader) should the rewrite achieve? In what context does the statement appear? – user29032 Apr 17 '18 at 16:32
  • @Cloudchaser - True, but given how little the OP gave us, I think that's all we can do without making up a whole new question. Hopefully the OP will come back and add some more detail. – Chris Sunami supports Monica Apr 17 '18 at 17:58

In general, metaphorical language illuminates aspects of something by comparing it to something else. To borrow advice from (Writing SE user) @MarkBaker, what you're really doing is telling a little story about the situation. So, you look for something vivid and memorable that can represent the thing you are talking about. For example:

Don't think of your problems as an ocean that wants to drown us, but as a river that we can cross.

Here are two linked metaphors, both about water. One tells a little story about being overwhelmed, the other tells a story about overcoming an obstacle to achieve success. It gives a vivid, visceral image that makes the abstract immediate.

HOWEVER, your tags indicate that you're doing academic writing. Academics often prefer direct language, because it is more precise. Highly metaphorical language actually tends to be avoided in this kind of context (depending on your discipline). Given that, maybe what you really need to do with this sentence is make it less abstract, by giving some concrete examples of what you are talking about. In academic writing, citing evidence with a reputable source always helps as well.

  • I interpreted the academic writing tag to mean this is a student. :-) And an assignment. Hence, my edits, which were a shot in the dark but based in part on the tag. – DPT Apr 17 '18 at 16:23
  • @DPT Edits are always tricky. I agree that the original needed to be edited in order to stay on topic, I just dialed down the guesswork a little. – Chris Sunami supports Monica Apr 17 '18 at 16:28

You've already done it.

Figurative writing is so common that it often slips under the radar - for example the phrase you've given. Most problems won't require or benefit from anyone literally taking to their heels, or standing and glowering at them - they're figurative descriptions.

It's possible to pull back to a simpler version :

We shouldn't avoid problems but try to resolve them

Becoming more figurative from there will depend on the approach taken by the character (or, in your case, the narrator of the essay) when they "avoid" and "try". They might hide, consciously ignore it, or redefine the problem so it looks less of a problem. Or they might adapt, tackle the problem obliquely, or confront someone who appears to represent the problem or to have a solution.

From there it should be easier to find an appropriate metaphor for how the character is reacting.

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