But No More

It’s amazing how once we get cued in to certain repetitive language that we use, we can begin to change it and huge changes can ensue. Some time ago, my partner and I started to notice how we were saying “Yes, but…” frequently in conversations with each other. When we stopped to think about it, we realized the “yes” part of that phrase was actually giving barely a nod of recognition to whatever it was the other was saying, proceeding directly to a reason why the “yes” was in fact wrong (in our opinion).

We decided to do an experiment: we put a $1 bill into a jar in the kitchen every time we were caught by the other using that phrase. Nothing like an experiment of total abstinence to bring consciousness! After about two days, we realized the jar would soon contain a disproportionate share of our income, and we were better off paying the light bill! So we adjusted it to pennies.

After a very uncomfortable period of a few more days, we began to catch ourselves before we said it. We lingered more with what the other was saying – entering the “yes” more fully. Yes, we did use substitutes like ”however.” The one I like best is “and.” To me this shows a total reverse energy from a “but.” It’s “yes, what an interesting thought you just expressed…AND….here’s a way that I see it that’s different.” Or “AND here’s another thing to consider.” We are still battling the “yes, buts,” AND we’ve made wonderful forward strides.

Send me your language victories. Have you vanquished “try,” “hope,” “probably” “should,” “have to”? Share your story with our on-line community here. But no more!

© 2014 Anne Alexander, all rights reserved in all media

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