Our use of the word ‘but’ is habitual and largely unconscious. She is really talented, but ….. He is reliable, but ….

‘But’ deemphasises everything we’ve said or written before it in a sentence. In this following example, the emphasis is placed on what is said after the ‘but’: ‘She is really talented, but she is lazy.

A useful way to become more conscious about our use of the word ‘but’ is to replace it with ‘and' - as often as possible. ‘She is really talented, and I have an opportunity to support her in becoming punctual’. 'And' has a positive resonance that influences how we approach and engage with others. In this example, my judgment of the person is deemphasised with my responsibility for helpfulness being amplified.

As ever, the way we treat ourselves is as important as the way we treat others. ‘I am disciplined, but I eat too much chocolate’. ‘I am disciplined, and I will be more mindful of my chocolate intake’.

This is not about a fluffy rearrangement of words. It is about mindful use of two words that we use every day, for greater consciousness and quality of interactions.

Try it!


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