The theme of this website proclaims “It begins with words….” I believe in the power of words, but not just the obvious power of words that hurt or console, I believe words are woven into every fiber of our existence. Words, properly understood can reveal intent and affect outcomes. Even a small change in a phrase or word choice can have a powerful affect on our lives.
Take the word “but” for example. We use it often, “I understand that, but I think it’s deeper than that.” “I want to, but I’m too tired.” “Yes you did, but that’s not what I meant.” The power of the word ‘but’ is that it negates anything said before it. Someone said once, “’But’ is the great eraser. It erases the value of anything before it.”
It is my observation that there is no better fuel for an argument than a hefty and well placed “BUT!”
I find it very interesting to practice using another word than “but.” Try “and” for example. “And” is a good alternative it makes an acknowledging, respectful way to add another piece of information or perspective to a statement.
“I understand you feel that way, and I still want you to get it done.”
“Yes you did, and that isn’t what I meant.”
“I want to, and I’m too tired.”
Using “and” gives value to both statements and allow us to add information and often depth to a conversation in a nonthreatening fashion. We can acknowledge what someone has said and then add our perspective.
I’ve tried to eliminate the word “but” from my daily speech. It takes some practice and it seems worth the effort. Give it a try. Let me know what happens.