How often we use that phrase, whether talking to others or experiencing our own internal self-talk. While we occasionally use it somewhat positively, as in: “Yes, I want to eat the whole chocolate cake, but I won’t”, we more regularly use it to emphasize the negative, or simply as a form of self-sabotage, as in “Yes, I could smile and be friendly to the person in line in front of me, but they would probably think I’m weird or I would look stupid.”
So, while the famous “yes, but…” phrase can be useful in some important or life-threatening circumstances, I want to suggest we replace it as often as possible in our general self-talk with “Yes, and…”. Even in the negative sense, “Yes, and…” works better.
“Yes, I could smile and be friendly to the person in line in front of me, and it might make me feel silly, that’s true, and it might not, and it might go well. And if it doesn’t I’ll be okay.”
Why? Because the word but is often a showstopper in the English language. Some of its definitions include:
- used to indicate the impossibility of anything other than what is being stated
- used after an expression of apology for what one is about to say.
- no more than; only.
- an argument against something; an objection.
Source: Oxford Dictionary
The word and is a continual process word. Some of its definitions include:
- used to introduce an additional comment or interjection.
- as well as; in addition to; besides; also; moreover:
- also, at the same time:
- an added detail
A strict grammarian would point out that there are other definitions for each word. True, there are, though in our most basic use of English, we as the general public most often use these two words as mentioned above. Whatever the case, here’s an experiment:
The next time, instead of using the usual phrase, “Yes, I believe God loves me, but…”, try something different.
“Yes, I believe God loves me, and….”
You complete the sentence. Do it. Just give it one try. Just see what might happen.