“And” is a very small word that can wield a lot of power. Let’s embrace those three letters as a word of connection, inclusivity, and gathering. Uniting and including are its main function in a statement or a sentiment. Good things come from the word “and”.
Mac and cheese
Peanut butter and jelly
Sonny and Cher
Watch Your “But”.
Another three-lettered word can lead us down a dead-end road. A beloved teacher once stated that any sentiment before the word “but” is a lie. Think about it. When have you ever heard that conjunction in a sentence and that wasn’t true?
I love you, but…
I would love to go, but….
You are really wonderful, but…
The words we say and hear are very, very important.
The Power to Clarify Your Truth.
Any parent (or human, for that matter) can tell you that you can love someone fully and not like them. You would really like to go somewhere and you have a prior commitment or are too tired. “And” brings honesty to the situation. Clarifying your values with your words can open ourselves up to truly knowing our values and letting others know us. In addition, we can also identify more truth in what others are saying to us. If their speech is peppered with a lot of “buts”, ask questions to get to what they are really trying to say. That’s one word full of power.
“And” Opens Your Horizons.
“If you want to change your life, begin by changing your words.” Robert T. Kiyosaki, author of Rich Dad, Poor Dad
“But” creates boxes that we can rarely pull ourselves out of. Fences in relationships and communication are often difficult to overcome. On the contrary, “and” brings people together. In a time when we are trying to classify and box others, wouldn’t “and” be refreshing? As human beings, we can like someone and not exactly agree with them in all aspects. Surrounding yourself with friends and acquaintances of different backgrounds and beliefs only sharpens you. When you can understand yourself and still think “outside your box” from another’s point of view…that’s power and empathy. Opening your mind to new ideas creates new ways of thinking and new pathways in our brain. When you encapsulate yourself with people who think just like you, the others are unnecessary. They are simply a mirror to reflect your image back to you without question. This is the reason we often marry someone who has opposite traits of us and why we choose friends who challenge us…adversity with safety makes us stronger.
“And” Powers Through the Box.
When you are boxed into a corner, “and” can release you. You can be a good mom/wife/friend and do this. You can believe this way and still not be opposed to that. Humans are complicated living beings who grow and work and live and love in unique situations…no one is the same. No one can have the exact black and white experience. We are mostly shades of grey in our lives. When you take yourself out of the box, hopefully, you can release others too. That’s freedom. Freedom to try new things and to fail at new things…trying new things is the nectar of life, read my article here.
In Most Situations, You Don’t Have to Choose.
The six most dangerous words in any situation is “we’ve always done it this way.” And you don’t have to do it that way again…or you can. Being more mindful of where we place our “ands” and our “buts” can bring more clarity and truth to ourselves and others, open new ways of thinking, and more power to explore life in the way you want to.
This week, take some time to journal or reflect on the “buts” you are adding to your life and look for ways you can add “ands” in.