And…and…and…

I cannot remember the first time I heard this tidbit – I realize that often I hear things multiple times, and then all of a sudden, this one time, it really resonates and it sticks. In this case, I believe this happened at my AcroYoga teacher training. Since then, when I experienced many powerful exercises in giving and receiving feedback, I have become hyper aware of my use of the word “BUT”.

Why? Well, look at it from this perspective, in many instances where we use the word “but”, it can be heard as invalidating what came before it…and often, the people or person you are speaking to will miss out on whatever came first and will hold onto whatever came after the “but”… particularly when you are offering feedback…

  • I was thinking about doing this the other day, but…
  • The team did a great job on the project, but…
  • I like those pants, but…
  • You look happy today, but…
  • I don’t want to alarm you, but…
  • Don’t get mad at me, but…
  • I got vanilla ice cream, but I really wanted chocolate…(ok – so not in all cases…:) )

So, I’ve started implementing the following little thought process for myself before actually speaking a “but” statement (I have, in fact stopped mid-sentence before because of this!)…

> Can I replace “but” with “and” in the sentence and does it make sense and ring true for me?

> If not, how can I rephrase to say what I actually do want to say, and do so with compassion and       respect?

Example:

“I want to go to your event, but I have another commitment.”

“Thanks for the invitation, I would really like to go to your event, and I also have a previous commitment. Please keep me on your list and keep me informed of upcoming opportunities to support your events.”

This practice has made me much more mindful and aware of the effect of my words and has been very interesting and educational to watch.

Give it a try, and see what you notice…let me know how it goes!

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